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Album Verses and Romantic Literary CulturePoetry, Manuscript, Print, 1780-1850$
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Samantha Matthews

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198857945

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198857945.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 27 January 2022

‘Here you may trace a pigmy hand, / And there a Giant strength’

‘Here you may trace a pigmy hand, / And there a Giant strength’

Daughters, Poet-fathers, and the Wordsworth Circle Albums

(p.205) 6 ‘Here you may trace a pigmy hand, / And there a Giant strength’
Album Verses and Romantic Literary Culture

Samantha Matthews

Oxford University Press

Albums kept by Sara Coleridge, Edith May Southey, and Dora Wordsworth between the early 1820s and late 1840s show that that although the Wordsworth circle daughters’ access to their famous fathers’ literary networks resulted in books exceptionally rich in album verse by well-known contemporary poets, their poet-fathers’ practical assistance and symbolic influence exacerbated the anxiety of reception for amateur contributors, and complicated each woman’s role as agent and subject of her own book. In the Wordsworth circle albums, scribal publication is perilously close to conventional publication, and contributors negotiate between fulfilling the woman owner’s wishes and articulating awareness of the revered older poets’ scepticism or downright hostility to feminized album culture. The poet-father’s presence turns albums into contested textual spaces where generational, gender, and power dynamics are played out in poetry.

Keywords:   album, William Wordsworth, Dora Wordsworth, Robert Southey, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Sara Coleridge, father, daughter, Felicia Hemans, celebrity

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