Bloom, Harold, ed. Thomas Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard.” New York: Chelsea House, 1987. Gray’s elegy is probably the eighteenth century’s single most celebrated poem, and it remains the subject of much critical debate. This study brings together a number of important essays on the elegy, spanning several decades.
Curr, Matthew. The Consolation of Otherness: The Male Love Elegy in Milton, Gray, and Tennyson. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, 2002. Examines male friendship in Gray’s “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” John Milton’s “Epitaphium Damonis,” and Alfred, Lord Tennyson’s “In Memoriam.”
Downey, James, and Ben Jones, eds. Fearful Joy: Papers from the Thomas Gray Bicentenary Conference at Carleton University. Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1974. These essays, presented at Carleton University in 1971 (the two hundredth anniversary of Gray’s death), provide an excellent sourcebook for students of Gray. All aspects of Gray’s life, times, and poetry are addressed. Included is a handsome series of early illustrations of his work, many by the great artist-poet William Blake.
Garrison, James D. A Dangerous Liberty: Translating Gray’s “Elegy.” Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2009. Gray’s most famous poem has been translated into many languages, including Greek, Latin, German, Italian, and French. Garrison looks at the poem in its various translations, thereby shedding light on the original.
Ketton-Cremer, R. W. Thomas Gray: A Biography. 1955. Reprint. London: Longmans, Green, 1966. A solid, well-written biography, very much in the “life and works” tradition. Clearly written and well researched, this remains one of the best accounts of Gray’s life. Contains an impressive set of illustrations.
McCarthy, B. Eugene. Thomas Gray: The Progress of a Poet. Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1997. Critical interpretation of selected works by Gray. Includes bibliographical references and index.
Mack, Robert L. Thomas Gray: A Life. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 2000. Incorporates recent revisionary scholarship on Gray as well as original archival research on the poet’s family and formative years. Casts new light on Gray’s personality and on the psychological and sexual tensions that defined his compelling poetry.