A Century of Sonnets: The Romantic-Era Revival 1750-1850

By Paula R. Feldman; Daniel Robinson | Go to book overview



The sonnet was one of the leading poetic forms of the Romantic period, and many of the best-known poems of the period are sonnets, including Percy Bysshe Shelley's “Ozymandias, ” John Keats's “On First Looking into Chapman's Homer, ” and William Wordsworth's “Composed upon Westminster Bridge.” Most of the sonnets in this book appeared between 1789 and 1837, the traditional dates associated with British Romanticism. But, in order to place the Romantic-era sonnet within its broad and rich literary context, this selection spans the one hundred years from 1750 to 1850 and documents the sonnet revival from its beginning in the hands of Thomas Edwards and Charlotte Smith to its culmination in the work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.This is a century of impressive and sustained achievement in one of the most challenging and enduring lyric forms in the English language.

The sonnet was a maturing form, growing into its majority as a staple of English poetry between 1750 and 1850, and the poets who practiced it then seem to have felt an obligation to make it something more than it had been. They drew on the strength of its tradition in full confidence that it would endure.The sonnet became, during this period, something uniquely suited for a new age of poetry, full of innovation, while not wholly divorcing itself from its origins in the Renaissance poetry of Italy and England. Indeed, this golden age of the sonnet is largely responsible for the qualities and eccentricities now commonly associated with the form.The sonnet was pervasive, appearing not only in individual books of poetry but also in periodicals, anthologies, annuals, gift books, and even novels. At the height of the sonnet's popularity it seemed that nearly everyone wrote them—women and men, the rich and the poor, rural and urban poets, established professional writers and those struggling to make a name for themselves.Their subject matter is


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A Century of Sonnets: The Romantic-Era Revival 1750-1850
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgments xxi
  • Introduction 3
  • Notes 18
  • Suggested Further Reading 21
  • Editorial Principles 23
  • Thomas Edwards(1699–1757) 25
  • Thomas Warton(1728–90) 26
  • John Codrington Bampfylde (1754–96) 27
  • Charlotte Smith (1749–1806) 29
  • Samuel Egerton Brydges(1762–1837) 39
  • William Hayley (1745–1820) 40
  • Helen Maria Williams(1761–1827) 42
  • William Lisle Bowles(1762–1850) 44
  • Thomas Russell(1762–88) 48
  • Mary Locke(Fl. 1791–1816) 50
  • Ann Radcliffe(1764–1823) 51
  • Anna Maria Jones(1748–1829) 54
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge(1772–1834) 55
  • Amelia Opie(1769–1853) 65
  • John Thelwall(1764–1834) 66
  • Mary Julia Young(Fl. 1789–1808) 68
  • Charles Lamb(1775–1834) 70
  • Mary Robinson(1758–1800) 73
  • William Beckford(1760–1844) 91
  • Charles Lloyd(1775–1839) 91
  • Robert Southey(1774–1843) 94
  • Edward Gardner(Fl. 1770–98) 97
  • Joseph Hucks(D. 1800) 98
  • Anna Seward(1742–1809) 99
  • Ann Home Hunter(1742–821) 106
  • Eliza Kirkham Mathews(1772–1802) 106
  • William Cowper(1731–1800) 107
  • Henry Kirke White(1785–1806) 108
  • Mrs. B. Finch(Fl. 1805) 109
  • Anna Maria Smallpiece(Fl. 1805) 110
  • William Wordsworth(1770–1850) 111
  • Mathilda Betham(1776–1852) 133
  • Susan Evance(Fl. 1808–18) 134
  • Martha Hanson(Fl. 1809) 136
  • Mary F. Johnson(Fl. 1810; D. 1863) 138
  • Mary Tighe(1772–1810) 141
  • Leigh Hunt(1784–1859) 145
  • Mary Bryan(Fl. 1815) 148
  • George Gordon, Lord Byron(1788–1824) 150
  • John Keats(1795–1821) 151
  • Percy Bysshe Shelley(1792–1822) 163
  • Jane Alice Sargant(Fl. 1817–21) 167
  • Thomas Doubleday(1790–1870) 168
  • Horace Smith(1779–1849) 170
  • John Clare(1793–1864) 170
  • Thomas Lovell Beddoes(1803–49) 176
  • Charles Johnston(D. 1823) 177
  • Elizabeth Cobbold(1767–1824) 178
  • John F. M. Dovaston(1782–1852) 180
  • Sarah Hamilton(C. 1769–1843) 181
  • Thomas Moore(1779–1852) 182
  • Mary Russell Mitford(1787–1855) 183
  • Barry Cornwall (Bryan Waller Procter)(1787–1874) 184
  • Joseph Blanco White(1775–1841) 185
  • Thomas Hood(1799–1845) 186
  • Edward Moxon(1801–58) 187
  • William Roscoe(1753–1831) 188
  • Charles Tennyson Turner(1808–79) 189
  • Alfred Tennyson(1809–92) 192
  • Agnes Strickland(1796–1874) 193
  • Frederick Tennyson(1807–98) 195
  • Hartley Coleridge(1796–1849) 196
  • Letitia Elizabeth Landon(1802–38) 199
  • Jane Cross Simpson(1811–86) 200
  • Felicia Hemans(1793–1835) 201
  • Caroline Norton(1808–77) 204
  • Ebenezer Elliott(1781–1849) 206
  • Frederick William Faber(1814–63) 206
  • Frances Anne Kemble(1809–93) 208
  • Eliza Cook(1818–89) 209
  • Arthur Hugh Clough(1819–61) 210
  • William Bell Scott(1811–90) 211
  • Dante Gabriel Rossetti(1828–82) 213
  • Elizabeth Barrett Browning(1806–61) 215
  • Appendix - Mary Robinson's Preface to Sappho and Phaon 233
  • Notes 239
  • Notes to the Poems and Sources 241
  • Index of Titles, Authors and First Lines 265


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