A good sampling of English poetry starting with Tennyson, Browning, Wordsworth, and Keats in the 19th Century and going back to Chaucer in the 14th century. There are some very well-known poems here, but there is also a fair amount of lesser-known work to round it out. As a result, this is not a "Best of" kind of book, but rather a book that attempts to show and give the reader a good sampling of the work being done in each of the time periods. Tennyson's poems "The Lady of Shalott" and "The Brook", for example, are included, while his greatest(in my opinion)poem "Ulysses", is not. A commendable feature of the book is the biographical notes that accompany the poets. These are often quite interesting and help the reader gain valuable insights into some of the poems. Baldwin's language, as well as that of the critics whom he quotes, can sometimes seem a bit stuffy or overly academic, and there were times when I was not sure what was being said and wished it were "in plain English". Overall, however, it is quite accessible.
I read this on my Kindle and, similar to other reviews I have read, it was frustrating at times. There are many notes that appear at the end of each section, so I was constantly going back and forth. The book, moreover, begins with the 19th century and ends with the 14th century, but I chose to begin with the 14th century and end with the 19th century, further complicating the navigation. Finally, the biographical notes appear at the end of each section, but it is really beneficial to read them before each section, so I was forever trying to find the biographical notes for each poet and then going back to the poems.