By Claudia T. Kairoff
Anna Seward and her occupation defy effortless placement into the normal classes 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 very good serious examine 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 occupation, patriotism, provincial tradition, sensibility, and the sonnet revival, Kairoff rigorously reconsiders Seward’s poetry and important prose. Written because it used to be within the final many years of the eighteenth century, Seward’s paintings doesn't conveniently healthy into the dominant versions of Enlightenment-era verse or the tropes that signify Romantic poetry. instead of seeing this as a disadvantage for knowing Seward’s writing inside of a selected literary kind, Kairoff argues that this permits readers to work out in Seward’s works the eighteenth-century roots of Romantic-era poetry.
Arguably the main widespread girl 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 severe forget, Seward is attracting renewed consciousness, and with this ebook Kairoff makes a powerful and convincing case for together with Anna Seward's extraordinary 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
Guillory remarks elsewhere in Cultural Capital that when academics seek to expand the canon, they almost always mean by including more writers of a different race, class, or gender than are currently represented in it (9). Seward ﬁts very uneasily amid the women who have recently been included on account of her privileged status and conservative Anglicanism. Her mastery of a style deemed obsolete by poets emerging at the end of her life ensured her posthumous oblivion. But, as Guillory also observes, the creation and dissemination of a literary canon has always been the province of academic institutions.
By retrieving the context in which Seward made professional decisions, I am responding to Paula Backscheider’s call, in Eighteenth-Century Women Poets and Their Poetry, for scholars to pay serious attention to women’s careers. 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).
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. Seward’s ﬁrst published poem, for example, a commendation of Lady Miller’s Batheaston salon, is described as “somewhat incoherent” (72). “Severe as may be our critical judgment of the result” of Batheaston’s inspiration, “we may,” Ashmun adds, “at least congratulate [Seward] on having found an outlet for her emotions” (73).