By Teresa Barnard
In her severe biography of Anna Seward (1742-1809), Teresa Barnard examines the poet's unpublished letters and manuscripts, offering a clean standpoint on Seward's existence and old milieu that restores and problematizes Seward's rigorously developed narrative of her lifestyles. Of the poet Anna Seward, it can be stated with a few veracity that hers used to be an epistolary lifestyles. ''What is understood of Seward'' comes from six volumes of her letters and from juvenile letters that prefaced her books of poetry, all released posthumously. That Seward meant her correspondence to function her autobiography is obvious, yet she couldn't have expected that the letters she meant for e-book will be vastly edited and censored through her literary editor, Walter Scott, and through her writer, Archibald Constable. Stripped in their power and masses in their importance, the broadcast letters disregard telling stories of the intricacies of the wedding industry and Seward's personal battles opposed to gender inequality within the academic and place of work spheres. Seward's correspondents integrated Erasmus Darwin, William Hayley, Helen Maria Williams, and Robert Southey, and her letters are jam-packed with tales and anecdotes approximately her pals' lives and characters, what they appeared like, and the way they lived. rather compelling is Barnard's dialogue of Seward's extraordinary final will and testomony, a twenty-page rfile that summarizes her lifestyles, achievements, and self-definition as a writing lady. Barnard's biography not just demanding situations what's recognized approximately Seward, yet presents new information regarding the lives and occasions of eighteenth-century writers.
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Additional resources for Anna Seward: A Constructed Life
However, as the letters to Emma confirm, she did not identify with the E yam community but remained on the boundary as a knowledgeable outsider. 47 Her poem of childhood remembrance, ‘E yam’, which Seward, ‘Letter to Emma’ (January 1763), Poetical Works, vol. I, p. lxvi. W alter Scott, Sir Tristrem: a metrical romance of the thirteenth century; by Thomas of Ercildoune, called the Rhymer, edited from the Auchinleck MS. By Walter Scott (Edinburgh: Archibald Constable, 1804). 46 Seward, N LS, MSS, 3874, fol.
F or her male acquaintances, marriage options were controlled by the authority of inheritance. Among the wealthy middle classes, a man tended to select a wife who would enhance his future prospects, and his choice could be controlled by his financial benefactor, be that his father or a childless relative. T he threat of disinheritance and a life of poverty was a powerful persuasion to adhere to family strategy in these matters. T ime and again, the anecdotes emphasise the notion of love taking an equal or lower precedence with financial matters.
14, Seward, ‘Posthumous Letter to W alter Scott’ (17 July 1807). Seward specifically mentions her preference for the poetry edition to be in the same format as Warburton’s edition of Pope’s works: ‘To those Metrical Volumes [her complete collection of published and unpublished poems] I wish the juvenile Letters may be added; succeeding the poetic volumes as in Warburton’s Edition of Pope’s Works’. His Life of Dryden, which he was compiling when he first met Seward in Lichfield, draws repeated attention to writing out of financial necessity.
Anna Seward: A Constructed Life by Teresa Barnard