William Collins

William Collins, 1721–59, English poet. He was one of the great lyricists of the 18th cent. While he was still at Oxford he published Persian Ecologues (1742), which was written when he was 17. Unstable and weak-willed, he never chose a profession and was constantly in debt until he inherited money from an uncle. He won no popularity during his lifetime, and his career was curtailed by insanity. A precursor of the 19th-century romantics, Collins wrote exquisite verse that emphasized mood and imagination. Among his best odes are "To Evening," "To Simplicity," and the one beginning "How sleep the brave."

See biographies by P. L. Carver (1967) and H. W. Garrod (1928, repr. 1973); study by O. Doughty (1964).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2013, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

The Poems of Gray and Collins
Austin Lane Poole; Thomas Gray; William Collins.
Oxford University Press, 1937 (3rd Rev. edition)
Drafts & Fragments of Verse
J. S. Cunningham.
Clarendon Press, 1956
Personification in Eighteenth-Century English Poetry
Chester F. Chapin.
King's Crown Press, 1955
Librarian’s tip: Chap. IV "The Values of Allegorical Personification: Collins and Gray"
Collins, Thomson, and the Whig Progress of Liberty
Levine, William.
Studies in English Literature, 1500-1900, Vol. 34, No. 3, Summer 1994
English Literature from Dryden to Burns
Alan Dugald McKillop.
Appleton-Century-Crofts, 1948
Librarian’s tip: "William Collins (1721-1759)" begins on p. 218
The Rise of Romanticism: Essential Texts
Brian Hepworth.
Carcanet New Press, 1978
Librarian’s tip: "William Collins (1721-1759)" begins on p. 186
A Survey-History of English Literature
William Bradley Otis; Morriss H. Needleman.
Barnes & Noble, 1938
Librarian’s tip: "William Collins, 1721-1759" begins on p. 412
A Collection of English Poems, 1660-1800
Ronald S. Crane.
Harper & Brothers, 1932
Librarian’s tip: "William Collins (1721-1739-1759)" begins on p. 727
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