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Anna Seward and Classic Lichfield   By: (1846-1922)

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Anna Seward and Classic Lichfield by Stapleton Martin is a remarkable biography that delves into the life and times of the renowned 18th-century poet, Anna Seward. With meticulous research and engaging prose, Martin presents a comprehensive account of Seward's experiences, while also exploring the historical context of Lichfield, the town that greatly influenced her work.

The book not only delves into the literary achievements of Anna Seward but also provides fascinating insights into her personal life. Martin beautifully captures the essence of Seward's relationships, showcasing her close bonds with family and friends, particularly her strong connection with her father, who greatly encouraged her poetic pursuits. Through Martin's words, we witness Seward's growth as a poet and a woman, navigating the complexities of societal expectations and her own ambitions.

What sets this biography apart is the attention to detail and the deep understanding Martin demonstrates of the time period. Lichfield, an important literary center during the 18th century, comes to life through the author's vivid descriptions. Martin brings readers into the world of Lichfield, painting a vivid picture of the town's social dynamics, intellectual gatherings, and artistic influences. It is through this detailed exploration that we can fully grasp the significance of Lichfield in shaping Seward's poetry and worldview.

Martin's research is truly commendable. Drawing from a vast range of primary sources, including letters, journals, and contemporary writings, the book is filled with rich anecdotes and historical facts that shed light on Seward's life and the society she inhabited. The author's ability to seamlessly weave together these various sources creates a coherent narrative that keeps readers engaged throughout.

In addition to unraveling the life of Anna Seward, Martin also explores her literary legacy. The book offers detailed analyses of Seward's published works, celebrating her as a significant figure in 18th-century British poetry. The author skillfully examines her poetic style, themes, and influences, allowing readers to appreciate the depth and complexity of her verses.

One minor criticism of this otherwise exceptional biography is the occasional lack of clarity in chronology, with Martin occasionally jumping back and forth between different periods of Seward's life. While this does not significantly detract from the overall reading experience, a more linear timeline would have enhanced the book's flow.

Overall, Anna Seward and Classic Lichfield is a compelling biography that does justice to the life and work of Anna Seward, while also providing a captivating glimpse into the literary landscape of 18th-century Lichfield. Stapleton Martin's meticulous research, engaging prose, and deep understanding of the period make this book a must-read for anyone interested in the life of this remarkable poet and the socio-cultural milieu in which she thrived.

First Page:

[Picture: Picture of Anna Seward]


AUTHOR OF “ Izaak Walton and his Friends ,” etc.

“As long as the names of Garrick, of Johnson, and of Seward shall endure, Lichfield will live renowned.”— Clarke .

“Biography, the most interesting perhaps of every species of composition, loses all its interest with me when the shades and lights of the principal characters are not accurately and faithfully detailed.”

Extract from a letter of Sir Walter Scott to Anna Seward .



Literature and music and science have been found this year amazingly prolific in centenary commemorations of their great exemplars, as a leading article in the “Times,” for April, 1909, has lately reminded us. Yet the death in 1809 of Anna Seward, who “for many years held a high rank in the annals of British literature,” to quote the words of Sir Walter Scott, has generally passed unnoticed... Continue reading book >>

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