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Poem of the week: An Autumn Sunset by Edith Wharton

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Best known for her fiction, the novelist was also an occasionally glorious poet, as this reflection on a fiery sky shows

There's a faint Keatsian flavour to this week's poem, An Autumn Sunset, by the multi-talented American novelist Edith Wharton. "Some ancient land forlorn" echoes the Ode to a Nightingale's "faery lands forlorn", and the rich colouration and sturdy construction might seem Keatsian, too. But Wharton's vision, technique and range of vocabulary are clearly her own. Overall, the structure is more classically Ode-like than Keats's studies in the form, and the effect suggests a "back to basics" invigoration. It was first published in 1894, in Scribner's Magazine, and perhaps some spirit of the fin de siècle looms over it, too.

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