William Cowper of the Inner Temple, Esq: A Study of His Life and Works to the Year 1768

Go to book overview
Save to active project

PREFACE

To write another biography of William Cowper may seem superfluous. In the century following his death ( 1800) there were at least thirty biographies, many of course little more than the customary nineteenth-century 'memoirs'. There can be no doubt concerning the enormous interest in the poet and the man, especially during the first half of those hundred years. In 1849 Lord Carlisle recorded in his diary some 'good talk' over dinner at The Club, in which Cowper was 'talked of as having been called the most popular of English poets'. There were, however, some 'doubts whether he still holds that position'. Present were the Lord President of the Council ( Lansdowne), the Earl of Ellesmere, Philip Henry Stanhope, Sir David Dundas, Henry Holland, Milman, Macaulay, Henry Hallam, and others. In the twentieth century Cowper's reputation and the common knowledge of his poetry have not been so great, though they seem to be increasing. He continues to influence our thought and patterns of speech, even if he is unrecognized. The compilers of the latest edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations indicate that Cowper is one of the twelve most quoted writers in the English language. And in the past thirty years four men have written full biographies of him, and there have been a number of shorter investigations into his life besides critical considerations of his work. Lord David Cecil's The Stricken Deer reached the status of a 'best-seller'.

But if we put aside the writers who knew him-- William Hayley, John Johnson, and Samuel Greatheed--and two later biographers, Southey and Thomas Wright, few of these men have added much to our factual knowledge of

-xiii-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
William Cowper of the Inner Temple, Esq: A Study of His Life and Works to the Year 1768
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 278

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?