By Claudia T. Kairoff

Anna Seward and her occupation defy effortless placement into the conventional sessions 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 examine deals clean readings of Anna Seward’s most crucial 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 important 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 versions of Enlightenment-era verse or the tropes that represent Romantic poetry. instead of seeing this as a drawback for realizing Seward’s writing inside of a selected literary type, Kairoff argues that this permits readers to work out in Seward’s works the eighteenth-century roots of Romantic-era poetry.

Arguably the main famous lady poet of her lifetime, Seward’s writings disappeared from renowned and scholarly view presently after her dying. After approximately 2 hundred years of serious overlook, Seward is attracting renewed recognition, and with this booklet Kairoff makes a powerful and convincing case for together with Anna Seward's notable literary achievements one of the most vital of the overdue eighteenth century.

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Pohl’s and Schellenberg’s volume features Janice Blathwayt’s extensive bibliography, which cites manuscript collections of Seward’s letters that clarify her personality, relationships, and writings, and the degree to which she manipulated these in her edited, posthumous correspondence. The volume also includes an article by Susan Staves that examines the relationship between Church of England clergy and the bluestockings, and one by Gary Kelly that addresses Clara Reeve’s status as a provincial bluestocking.

John Guillory’s insights in Cultural Capital offer some clues about why a poet who so exquisitely encapsulates the poetry of the long eighteenth century is no longer included in most discussions of the subject. According to Guillory, it was during Wordsworth’s career that a standardized English language appropriate for prose was adopted as the proper language of poetry (131). He points out how Wordsworth repudiated Gray’s “elaborate” poetic diction 124) in order to distinguish his own verse from that of earlier writers.

I propose that what we have learned about such topics can elucidate Seward and in turn be enriched by consideration of Seward and her poetry. The following chapters take up the issues of Seward’s professionalism, her status as national poet, her contribution to the literature of sensibility, her participation in the sonnet revival, her obsession with Honora Sneyd, and her critical practices. All these topics have been studied before, some by distinguished scholars, but by applying recent scholarship about Seward’s contexts and paying careful attention to her poetic principles, we can come to a more accurate understanding of her.

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