Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 157
The Divine Comedy (1321), by Dante Alighieri, describes the poet's descent into hell and eventual rise through purgatory to heaven. Although it is full of complex symbols and allusions, it is an extremely readable and exciting poem, not to mention its unequalled formal beauty.
Eliot's Collected Poems, 1909-1962 (1963) contains the definitive collection of the author's best poetry. It provides a superb overview of his long and varied poetic efforts, with some of the most important poems of the century.
W. H. Auden's The Dyer's Hand and Other Essays (1962) contains a helpful alternative view to Eliot's literary philosophy. A collection of critical essays by a poet with a sophisticated critical eye, Auden's work combines a personal touch with a great breadth of observation.
The Riverside Shakespeare (1974) is one of the best editions of Shakespeare's collected works. Alternatively, when beginning to explore Shakespeare' s plays, it may be more economical to use the respected individual editions from Oxford University Press.