By Teresa Barnard
In her severe biography of Anna Seward (1742-1809), Teresa Barnard examines the poet's unpublished letters and manuscripts, delivering a clean viewpoint on Seward's lifestyles and historic milieu that restores and problematizes Seward's conscientiously 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 apparent, yet she couldn't have expected that the letters she meant for ebook will be greatly edited and censored by way of her literary editor, Walter Scott, and by means of her writer, Archibald Constable. Stripped in their power and masses in their value, the printed letters fail to remember telling stories of the intricacies of the wedding marketplace and Seward's personal battles opposed to gender inequality within the academic and office spheres. Seward's correspondents integrated Erasmus Darwin, William Hayley, Helen Maria Williams, and Robert Southey, and her letters are choked with tales and anecdotes approximately her neighbors' lives and characters, what they gave the impression of, and the way they lived. relatively compelling is Barnard's dialogue of Seward's impressive final will and testomony, a twenty-page record that summarizes her existence, achievements, and self-definition as a writing girl. Barnard's biography not just demanding situations what's recognized approximately Seward, yet offers new information regarding the lives and instances of eighteenth-century writers.
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Additional info for Anna Seward: A Constructed Life
Anna Seward: A Constructed Life 28 thought him a persona non grata. T he E yam parish had a history of intermittent problems with D issenters, which caused T homas much anguish. In 1776, his young curate, the short-sighted and profoundly deaf Peter Cunningham,73 wrote to him with the good news that St. Lawrence’s was more crowded than usual because there were no more Methodist preachers in E yam Chapel. 75 Taking into consideration Seward’s love of sharing a good story, it is completely out of character for her to ignore this fascinating one, unless she did indeed write about W illiam Seward and was censored posthumously by her family or her editor.
It is quite remarkable, however, particularly when taking her predilection for anecdotes into consideration, that she writes nothing of her celebrated U ncle W illiam, who had the extraordinary distinction of becoming known as the first Methodist martyr. Originally a successful City broker in Exchange Alley, William was a kindly philanthropist who worked solidly for the London Charity Schools. He converted to Methodism when he met Charles W esley in 1738 and became closely involved with the early E vangelistic campaigns when the religion was still very much part of the Church of England.
47 When the plague struck in 1666 and the natural reaction was to shut up one’s house and flee the area, the villagers, led by their rector William Mompesson, remained to face the outbreak so as to confine the disease to the immediate area. Seward wrote that the nature of the mountainous countryside made it impossible for the villagers to be forcibly interned, ‘a regiment of soldiers ... could not have detained them against their will’. T hey chose to remain and their strategy worked, but at a cost of many lives.