This wide-ranging Companion
reflects the dramatic transformation that has taken place in the study of eighteenth-century poetry over the past two decades. New essays by leading scholars in the field address an expanded poetic canon that now incorporates verse by many women poets and other formerly marginalized poetic voices. The volume engages with topical critical debates such as the production and consumption of literary texts, the constructions of femininity, sentiment and sensibility, enthusiasm, politics and aesthetics, and the growth of imperialism.
opens with a section on contexts, considering eighteenth-century poetry’s relationships with such topics as party politics, religion, science, the visual arts, and the literary marketplace. A series of close readings of specific poems follows, ranging from familiar texts such as Pope’s The Rape of the Lock
to slightly less well-known works such as Swift’s “Stella” poems and Lady Mary Wortley Montagu’s Town Eclogues
. Essays on forms and genres, and a series of more provocative contributions on significant themes and debates, complete the volume.
gives readers a thorough grounding in both the background and the substance of eighteenth-century poetry, and is designed to be used alongside David Fairer and Christine Gerrard’s Eighteenth-century Poetry: An Annotated Anthology
(Blackwell, second edition, 2004).