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Eighteenth Century Women Poets: An Oxford Anthologyby Roger Lonsdale
Synopses & Reviews
In the first decade of the eighteenth century, only two women published collections of verse. By the 1790s, more than thirty had done so. Yet, in the two intervening centuries, most of that verse has disappeared from view--now either ignored or forgotten.
This delightful anthology takes us back to Augustan England, introducing over one hundred of these lost poets from Lady Mary Chudleigh and Octavia Walsh to Mary Locke and Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. Their poetry speaks with vigor and immediacy, in a range of moods from the resentful and melancholic to the humorous and exuberant, as they unveil their individual worlds to us. They came from all levels of society--including washerwomen and duchesses--and from both the town and country. The volume reveals that as eighteenth-century women poets gained confidence, their writing eventually spanned a variety of poetic forms and encompassed both public and private topics. Eighteenth-Century Women Poets offers a compelling reassessment of a neglected aspect of eighteenth-century literature.
Who were the women poets of the eighteenth century? This anthology presents writings by more than a hundred women, few of which have been published in conventional surveys and anthologies of eighteenth-century verse. Unlike the women who wrote fiction, the vast majority who wrote verse have been ignored and forgotten since their own day. Lonsdale's collection represents a diverse group of female poets from washerwomen to duchesses whose writings began mostly at home as informal and unpretentious verse. As they grew in number and confidence, the women began writing in a great variety of poetic forms and on public as well as private topics, eventually finding their way into print. The collection brings to light the vigor and immediacy with which women poets spoke--from the resentful and melancholic to the humorous and exuberant--about town and country, and love and marriage, opening a new perspective on their age and providing the grounds for a reassessment of a neglected aspect of literature.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 515-539) and index.
About the Author
Roger Lonsdale, a Fellow and Tutor of Balliol College, Oxford, is the editor of The New Oxford Book of Eighteenth-Century Verse.
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