By Claudia T. Kairoff
Anna Seward and her occupation defy effortless placement into the normal sessions of British literature. Raised to emulate the good poets John Milton and Alexander Pope, maturing within the Age of Sensibility, and publishing through the early Romantic period, Seward exemplifies the eighteenth-century transition from classical to Romantic. Claudia Thomas Kairoff’s very good serious learn deals 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 contemporary scholarship on gendered conceptions of the poetic profession, patriotism, provincial tradition, sensibility, and the sonnet revival, Kairoff conscientiously reconsiders Seward’s poetry and demanding prose. Written because it used to be within the final a long time of the eighteenth century, Seward’s paintings doesn't with ease healthy into the dominant types of Enlightenment-era verse or the tropes that signify Romantic poetry. instead of seeing this as a drawback for knowing Seward’s writing inside a selected literary variety, Kairoff argues that this permits readers to work out in Seward’s works the eighteenth-century roots of Romantic-era poetry.
Arguably the main well-known lady poet of her lifetime, Seward’s writings disappeared from well known and scholarly view almost immediately after her dying. After approximately 200 years of severe overlook, Seward is attracting renewed awareness, and with this ebook Kairoff makes a robust and convincing case for together with Anna Seward's notable literary achievements one of the most crucial of the overdue eighteenth century.
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Additional resources for Anna Seward and the End of the Eighteenth Century
He dismisses Darwin, Day, Edgeworth, Hayley, and Seward herself: “As writers they are all either a little mad or more than a little ridiculous” (ix). But while he confesses that he would not have found Seward worthy of a biography before reading Ashmun’s manuscript, Pottle admits he now believes her personality, if not her writing, merits such distinction. After this unpromising foreword, Ashmun main- 24 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 tains the ironic tone inaugurated by Lucas.
Wrote” (58). Although Seward’s acid tongue and pen had offended some—when, for example, she refused to acquiesce in the national reverence for Samuel Johnson’s character following his death in 1784—Greer pronounced Seward desperately shy and “deadly afraid of . . the brutality and hardness of men” (58–59). How did Anna Seward decline from a poet of national stature, a critical force to be reckoned with, to a timorous poetaster sheltering herself in Lichﬁeld from the rigors of literary competition?
After everyone had arrived and enjoyed conversation and refreshments, a young lady drew the poems from the urn and each was read twice, ﬁrst by a random gentleman guest and then by the poem’s author if present. Afterward, all the gentlemen withdrew to deliberate before awarding three myrtle wreaths and declaring one of the three poems so honored the best of that week’s submissions. Mrs. Miller herself—by 1778, Lady Miller, her husband having been granted a baronetcy in Ireland—presented the wreaths and fastened them into the hair of either the poet or if the poet was male that of his spouse or choice of female guest (Hesselgrave 22–26).
Anna Seward and the End of the Eighteenth Century by Claudia T. Kairoff