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The Juvenile TraditionYoung Writers and Prolepsis, 1750–1835$
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Laurie Langbauer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739203.001.0001

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“The Darlynge of Futuritie”

“The Darlynge of Futuritie”

Thomas Chatterton and the Technologies of Juvenile Prolepsis

(p.81) 2 “The Darlynge of Futuritie”
The Juvenile Tradition

Laurie Langbauer

Oxford University Press

Thomas Chatterton provided a model for juvenile writers who self-consciously followed him in creating and sustaining juvenile literary culture. The publication of his literary remains by Southey and Cottle turn attention to precocious genius into an understanding of literary tradition. Innovations in publishing in the latter part of the eighteenth century made print technology the medium of the emergence of the modern. Understanding Chatterton as exemplary premature writer, a kind of boy wonder, the assumed origin of the juvenile tradition itself, recasts his faux archaic writing into the proleptic emblem of an ultramodern future. Chatterton’s forgery of a literary past, by cannily manipulating new technologies of literary production, mocks conventional models of history as slow development. His celebrity a rallying point for later young writers, Chatterton’s imposture models the proleptic stance adopted by later juveniles, a rhetorical position allowing the writing of history in advance of the event.

Keywords:   Chatterton, print technology, Rowley, infant authors, boy wonder, prolepsis, juvenile, juvenilia

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