By Claudia T. Kairoff
Anna Seward and her profession 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 throughout the early Romantic period, Seward exemplifies the eighteenth-century transition from classical to Romantic. Claudia Thomas Kairoff’s first-class severe research bargains 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 fresh scholarship on gendered conceptions of the poetic profession, patriotism, provincial tradition, sensibility, and the sonnet revival, Kairoff conscientiously 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 signify Romantic poetry. instead of seeing this as a drawback for knowing Seward’s writing inside a selected literary type, Kairoff argues that this permits readers to determine in Seward’s works the eighteenth-century roots of Romantic-era poetry.
Arguably the main favorite lady poet of her lifetime, Seward’s writings disappeared from well known and scholarly view presently after her loss of life. After approximately 200 years of serious forget, Seward is attracting renewed recognition, and with this booklet Kairoff makes a powerful and convincing case for together with Anna Seward's amazing literary achievements one of the most vital of the overdue eighteenth century.
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Additional info for Anna Seward and the End of the Eighteenth Century
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? 16 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 To a large extent, the very qualities that made Seward enchanting to contemporaries rendered her invisible to later readers. Growing up during the heyday of sensibility, she nevertheless formed her poetics by carrying out stringent analyses of earlier models.
She advocated regularized versions of old ballads, purged of most archaisms and dialect. Although he published one of her ballads in a collection of ballad imitations, it’s no wonder the fashionable Scott found most of her poetry second rate. Seward represented a literary era now as seemingly “ancient” as that of the incomprehensible Elizabethan she deplored. Scott’s comments on Seward’s poetry follow from the premise that it is now simply outmoded. ” He admits nevertheless that “when the advantage which they derived from their being suited to ‘the form and pressure of the time’ has passed away, they convey a high impression of the original powers of their author” (1:xii).
He scorns Seward’s preference for content over form and thought over imagination—although Seward would have noted her careful choices of form and her devotion to poems that excited her fancy. Monk, however, had no interest in eighteenth-century ideas about genre. Her critical acumen disparaged, her writing style deemed ridiculous, Seward was thus banished from serious consideration by the very scholars who had troubled to examine her life and writings in the ﬁrst place. 7 Seward’s sparse reappearances were usually as background to studies of other ﬁgures.