February 2010 Volume 5, Issue 2
Women Poets of Georgian/Regency Britain
We all are familiar with the names of Wordsworth, Keats,
Shelley, Byron, and Coleridge, the great poets of the Regency. For a long while
it did not occur to me to wonder why all these poets were male! Then I came
across a book Women Romantic Poets 1785-1832: An Anthology
and my eyes were opened. Why had I not previously heard of any of
these authors? The paternalistic, dismissive attitudes in the 19th century to
women in the arts came immediately to mind. But also I must blame my own lack
of intellectual curiosity. How happy I am to now be enlightened!
The excellent introduction in this book holds a great deal of information about
the female poets working at the turn of the 18th/19th century. The author holds
that the women fall into one of two categories. Either the poet was a 'woman of
letters'--well-educated, well-financed, and devoted to her art--or
she was a working-class woman hoping to earn a living with her work.
I was familiar with some of the women of letters: Dorothy Wordsworth, Hannah
More, Mary Lamb. Most, however, I had never heard of and I certainly was
unprepared for the beauty of their work.
Helen Maria Williams was born in England but spent much of her life in France,
an unconventional, intellectual novelist, poet and translator. I tweeted one
stanza of her poem 'A Song' a few weeks ago:
"No riches from his scanty store
My lover could impart;
He gave a boon I valued more--
He gave me all his heart!...
While he the dangerous ocean braves,
My tears but vainly flow:
Is pity in the faithless waves
To which I pour my woe?
The night is dark, the waters deep,
Yet soft the billows roll;
Alas! at every breeze I weep--
The storm is in my soul."
Laetitia Elizabeth Landon was a brilliant child and, fascinated by poetry, published first at age eighteen. She published her first book soon after and
was one of the most popular contributors to the 'Literary Gazette' where she
was also a reviewer. Here are some verses from her poem "New Year's
"There is no change upon the air,
No record in the sky;
No pall-like storm comes forth to shroud
The year about to die.
Ah, not in heaven, but upon earth,
Are signs of change expressed;
The closing year has left its mark
On human brow and breast.
But Hope's sweet words can never be
What they have been of yore:
I am grown wiser, and believe
In fairy tales no more."
Carolina Oliphant, later Baroness Nairne, was a Scot named in memory of Prince
Charles Edward Stuart--nicknamed the 'Flower of Strathearn'. Rather more
conventional than the preceding poets, she undertook the collection of Scottish
songs, and was herself a songwriter, using dialect for much of her work. She
wrote, in fact, the famous song about the Bonnie Prince--'Charlie is my
'TWAS on a Monday morning,
Right early in the year,
When Charlie came to our town,
The young Chevalier.
(refrain) O Charlie is my darling,
My darling, my darling-
O Charlie is my darling,
The young Chevalier!
Note from Linore: Carolina Oliphant is not to be confused with the Victorian "Mrs. Oliphant," novelist, of whose books scholar Ellen Moody says, "a number of her early novels show close imitation [of Jane Austen] and later ones general
Breen, editor of "Women Romantic Poets" says: "...all these
women (of letters) moved in literary, artististic or educational circles, had access to
publishers and literary contacts, and devoted a substantial part of their time
to their writing." But there was another, entirely different, group of
female poets as well.
These were the working-class women who came to poetry as a means of extending
their income. They generally published their work by subscription--that is they
developed a network of patrons who paid for the book in advance. Their themes
tended to be domestic and their work was considered to be more accessible to
the general reader.
Ann Yearsley was a Bristol woman, active in the campaign against the Bristol
slave trade. She was of humble birth, but managed to learn to read and from
then on was unstoppable. Eventually she published three books of poetry, a
drama and a novel before dying early in the 1800s. Here are the first and last
stanzas of her poem "The Indifferent Shepherdess to Colin":
"Colin, why this mistake?
Why plead the foolish love?
My heart shall sooner break
Than I a minion prove;
Nor care I half a rush,
No snare I spread for thee:
Go home, my friend, and blush
For love and liberty.
I stray o'er rocks and fields
Where native beauties shine:
All fettered fancy yields
Be, Colin, ever thine.
Complain nore more! but rove--
My cheek from crimson free,
Within my native grove
I'll guard my liberty." 1796
Christian Milne was a Scottish writer with very little schooling. Nevertheless
she published a book of poetry by subscription, and though it was her only book
she wrote poetry throughout her life. Her work has a humourous bent, with a
strong ironic edge, as in this poem "To a Lady Who Said It Was Sinful to
"To love these books, and harmless tea,
Has always been my foible,
Yet will I ne'er forgetful be
To read my Psalms and Bible.
Travel I like, and history too,
Or entertaining fiction;
Novels and plays I'd have a few,
If sense and proper diction.
I love a natural harmless song,
But cannot sing like Handel;
Deprived of such resource, the tongue
Is sure employed--in scandal." 1805
Elizabeth Bentley, (1st picture, above) though of humble birth, was educated by her father and
undertook to write poetry at age eighteen, without expectation of publication.
But subscribers were found to publish her collection "Genuine Poetical
Compositions", some of them well-known such as William Cowper. Her
subjects ranged from the pastoral to issues of abolition and education. Her
poem 'On Education' illustrates the importance of learning for all children:
"When infant Reason first exerts her sway,
And new-formed thoughts their earliest charms display;
Then let the growing race employ your care
Then guard their opening minds from Folly's snare;
Correct the rising passions of their youth,
Teach them each serious, each important truth;
Plant heavenly virtue in the tender breast,
Destroy each vice that might its growth molest;
Point out betimes the course they should pursue;
Then with redoubled pleasure shall you view
Their reason strengthen as their years increase,
Their virtue ripen and their follies cease;
Like corn sown early in the fertile soil,
The richest harvest shall repay your toil."
These poems are impressive works by women familiar with the harshest trials of
life; Elizabeth Bentley died in an almshouse in the 1830s.
The world deserves to have the richness of womens' artistic efforts known. These
female poets merit as much attention as their male counterparts. As we
modern women reach our full potential, we must celebrate the work of past women
so that they can be remembered as our fore-mothers.
Lesley-Anne McLeod is the author of eight traditional
Regency romances and numerous short Regency stories. Visit her online at http://www.lesleyannemcleod.com; http://lesleyannemcleod.blogspot.com;
Resource: N. B. Women Romantic Poets 1785-1832: An
Anthology ed. by Jennifer Breen; published by J. M. Dent Ltd. in 1992. ISBN
PS from Linore: I have this book and love it. In fact, some time ago I wrote a light review for it. Read it on Amazon.
|THE JANE CONTEST |
IN THE RIGHT-HAND COLUMN. Look to the right, and get your answers in ASAP!
|AUSTEN'S EMMA, NORTHANGER ABBEY ON THE BBC|
Did you catch the new BBC adaptation of EMMA? I enjoyed it, of course. Romola Garai is one of my favorite actresses.
This "full, 4 hour, lushly-costumed treatment" included more material from the book than the previous "Emmas," which was great. I could question some of the casting decisions, but I really try to enjoy each adaptation for its strengths, rather than niggling about what may be lacking. (Other people do that quite enough, I think.)
So far, Kate Beckinsale still gets my vote as the "best" Emma, and Samantha Morton as Miss Smith is a hard act to follow. I can't help to enjoy most any Austen adaptation, however. And the costumes were exceptional--unlike last night's Northanger Abbey. (A re-play. )
Northanger Abbey is nevertheless a delight, with an especially endearing Henry Tilney, (JJ Feild) and Catherine Morland (Felicity Jones). Miss Morland is perhaps JA's least smart heroine, but her moral intuitiveness more than compensates. Miss Thorpe, (Carey Mulligan) to my mind, was underplayed, and I would love to get a bit of a real fright from the imposing Abbey, but instead we are given chuckles.
Next up, here in the US, is Persuasion.
Check listings for the Masterpiece Theatre showtimes in your area.
UPCOMING: GREATER HARVEST WORKSHOPS!
Are you a writer or do you aspire to be one? If you live in or near southwestern Ohio, treat yourself to the upcoming Greater Harvest Workshop, where I, along with four multi-published authors, will be presenting insider tips and instruction on:
Promoting your work;
How to write the novel inside you;
how to write children's books;
How to illustrate for children's books;
And Self-Publishing: Is It For You?
If you have ever felt the call to write, we want to encourage you! Altogether, we offer enough know-how and shortcuts to move you forward with your God given gift of using words. Don't settle for wishful thinking and just hoping that someday your ship will come in. Together, we want to help you make it happen.
For details, list of presenters, bios, and more, check out the Greater Harvest website.
Our Price: $29.00
Price others charge: $59.00!
Refreshments will be provided.
1. An exhibit about Georgian and Regency tableware manufacturer Josiah Wedgewood . His goods were favorites among the aristocracy and upper class.
2. Drawing room of a town house (London. Georgian) This is from the same site, but a different page, as the Wedgewood exhibit--the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
3. Librivox has a free version of Cranford you can download to your iPod or MP3
4. Don't forget to have a girl's night out once in awhile. Share that quintessential English beverage--tea--before a fireplace with your friends, perhaps, during this wintery weather. For some easy ideas, download my free ebook, "How To Host an English Tea."
5. Upcoming release by author Vickie McDonough, The Anonymous Bride, can be pre-ordered from Amazon now! I'll have more info about this book in a future issue.
6. This has been around awhile, but it's still fun, especially if you've not taken the quiz, yet. WHICH AUSTEN HEROINE ARE YOU? Find out, in two minutes.
|DOWNLOAD OF THE MONTH
(TIME LIMITED OFFER!)
By special permission of the author, Robin Shope, I have permission to offer you--for 48 hours ONLY!--a free download of THE VALENTINE EDITION--a perfect little romance for this, the Valentine month!
I so appreciate Robin's generosity for you, my readers. This is an exclusive special for my newsletter ONLY. Please be sure and drop by Robin's blog to let her know how much you enjoyed her book. And do not share your ebook with anyone else, please. Again, the link will be good for 48 hours only, so don't delay!
Pick up THE VALENTINE EDITION, HERE.
PS: Robin's other book, THE CHRISTMAS EDITION is being made into a film! I'll keep you updated. But click her name, above, to see her blog for more information.
EXTRA Download links--No time constraints
by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell
This is a link to the Project Gutenberg free ebook of Cranford.
In tribute to the recent BBC adaptations of CRANFORD, and RETURN TO CRANFORD, I thought this would be appropriate. When you reach the page, scroll down for downloading choices.
Since the BBC has also graced us with JA adaptations recently, here are additional links to free ebook versions of both EMMA
and NORTHANGER ABBEY
. If you have a Kindle, these are also available for free from the Kindle bookstore.
Until next time, I wish you cheerful reading, and real-life happy endings!
Did someone forward this to you? Sign up now and get Regency Reflections right in your in-box.
When you do, you'll immediately be entered into TWO book drawings, plus you'll get the valuable FREE ebook, "Regency Fashion in Winter."
CLICK THE LINK, ABOVE!
verdict is in and I loved it! "
"Enchanting. Jane Austen Lite!"
Dina L. Sleiman
"Absolutely loved it!"
Cindy K. Green
View the Trailer--
A young Miss Beatrice Forsythe runs into conflict when her heart's desire for a husband runs counter to what she knows in her head is best.
Buy from ChristianBook.com "A Regency Delight!"Therese Stenzel"Oh, 'tis bittersweet! I just finished The Country House Courtship and I do
believe it is my favorite!"Tammi Ector Fisse
What one reader wrote:
Why I Ordered the Three Book Set from Linore:
I'm looking forward to curling up with a warm cup of coffee and the latest book
in (the) series as soon as they arrive! (I've read the others on my Kindle twice
already and decided I just had to get the actual books!)
Where is Linore?
See Linore's Calendar, follow the book tour for the Country House Courtship, and enter to win free books.
THE JANE CONTEST
Note: There was no January Contest, but here are the belated results from December:
The winner--she who sent in her correct answer first--was Ashley Wolynes, who I hope is enjoying her free book by now!
Last Contest: Jane had
some detractors like anybody else. Which of the following statements
was made by Mark Twain about our beloved Jane?
a) I haven't any right to criticise books, and I don't do it except when I hate
them. I often want to criticise Jane Austen.. Everytime I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and
beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.
b) Jane Austen? Why I go so far as to say that any library is a good library that
does not contain a volume by Jane Austen. Even if it contains no other book.
I could read his prose on salary, but not Jane's. Jane is entirely impossible.
It seems a great pity that they allowed her to die a natural death.
The answer choices were:
1. Made the first statement (a).
2. Made the second statement (b).
3. Made the third statement. (c)
4. Made none of the above statements.
5. Made all of the above statements.
THE CORRECT ANSWER: MARK TWAIN MADE ALL OF THE ABOVE STATEMENTS!
NEW (February) Jane Contest
month I give a "Jane Quote," which you must decide the origin of. Is it
from one of her novels or was it from her personal correspondence, her letters?
winner will be she (or he) who sends me the correct answer FIRST, and
the prize is a copy of the ORIGINAL, self-published version of Before the Season Ends.
This month's contest is a little different: You must decide which book the following dialogue appears in. (If you can also tell me who the speakers are, I will gladly acknowledge that you rock!)
"Women fancy admiration means more than it does. "
"And men take care that they should."
it is designedly done, they cannot be justified; but I have no idea of
there being so much design in the world as some persons imagine."
Does this bit of dialogue occur in:
a) Mansfield Park
b) Northanger Abbey
c) Pride and Prejudice
d) Sense and Sensibility
e) None of the above
Send your answers to me at:
Admin @ LinoreRoseBurkard (dot) com. (No spaces)
Good luck! Answers will be printed next month.
Before the Season Ends
"Hey, my mom just got done reading Before the
Season Ends, and she RAVED about it! She's not a gusher, either. This is
a woman who has read Tolstoy, and literally thousands of other books in her
life. I wanted to be sure you knew how much she enjoyed it. She said she
couldn't put it down."
Author, Kathleen Maher