Anna Seward and the End of the Eighteenth Century by Claudia T. Kairoff

By Claudia T. Kairoff

Anna Seward and her profession defy effortless placement into the conventional classes of British literature. Raised to emulate the nice poets John Milton and Alexander Pope, maturing within the Age of Sensibility, and publishing in the course of the early Romantic period, Seward exemplifies the eighteenth-century transition from classical to Romantic. Claudia Thomas Kairoff’s very good serious research bargains clean readings of Anna Seward’s most vital writings and firmly establishes the poet as a pivotal determine between late-century British writers.

Reading Seward’s writing along fresh scholarship on gendered conceptions of the poetic profession, patriotism, provincial tradition, sensibility, and the sonnet revival, Kairoff rigorously reconsiders Seward’s poetry and significant prose. Written because it used to be within the final a long time of the eighteenth century, Seward’s paintings doesn't conveniently healthy into the dominant types of Enlightenment-era verse or the tropes that symbolize Romantic poetry. instead of seeing this as a disadvantage for knowing Seward’s writing inside of a selected literary variety, Kairoff argues that this enables readers to determine in Seward’s works the eighteenth-century roots of Romantic-era poetry.

Arguably the main well known girl poet of her lifetime, Seward’s writings disappeared from renowned and scholarly view presently after her demise. After approximately 2 hundred years of serious overlook, Seward is attracting renewed cognizance, and with this ebook Kairoff makes a robust and convincing case for together with Anna Seward's awesome literary achievements one of the most crucial of the past due eighteenth century.

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Because she had so publicly defended the practice of a style appropriated to poetry, Seward was especially vulnerable in the new literary climate even though, in poems like “Lichfield, an Elegy,” her old-fashioned diction and style could yield beautiful, moving verse. Other factors besides her diction worked toward exclusion, however. Wordsworth himself emulated Miltonic diction. Shelley’s style, rarely simple, strives to convey his philosophy. John Keats was ridiculed for his elaborate diction.

As Backscheider notes, Seward’s is a prime example of a career that integrated serious writing with social and domestic responsibilities while “demonstrating more sustained dedication than we find in the 34 a n n a s e wa r d a n d t h e e n d o f t h e e i g h t e e n t h c e n t u r y lives of many of the canonical men” (25). Backscheider states what my chapter confirms and Poovey’s argument supports: Seward wrote in an environment hospitable to women poets, but later critics failed to acknowledge the shape and terms of her career (Backscheider 24–26).

Since current scholarship has produced the foundation for more accurate evaluation, and even for appreciation, we will commence with Seward’s perplexed relationship to contemporary professionalism, including her debut with that maligned institution, Lady Miller’s Batheaston assemblies. chapter two “Fancy’s Shrine” Lady Miller’s Batheaston Poetical Assemblies A nna Seward participated in a local poetic coterie and circulated poems in manuscript, but she did not publish in print until 1780, a transitional time for poetry, publishing, and the professionalization of writing (Barnard, Anna Seward 110, 122).

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