It is now seventeen years since the death of Sir William Empson, university teacher, literary critic, and poet, whose first book, Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930), is still his best-known. When he died, Empson had published five critical works, two volumes of poetry, and numerous periodical essays. Posthumously, an astonishing eight further books have appeared, collecting revised versions of the essays but also including substantial quantities of new material, particularly on Renaissance literature. The most recent addition, The Complete Poems of William Empson[1]—edited, like many of its predecessors, by John Haffenden, whose authorized biography of Empson we await as patiently as we can—contains fifty-five pages of introduction, one-hundred-and-seven of text (just over sixty items) and almost three-hundred of notes. There are relatively few additions to the previous Collected Poems...


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