This essay considers Ann Yearsley’s engagement with the elegy, a form which made up a significant proportion of her total oeuvre, and with which she engaged throughout her career. The essay argues, following the lead of Donna Landry and William J. Christmas, the importance of considering laboring-class poetry in formal terms, and does this by locating Yearsley’s elegies within a larger tradition of elegiac poetry and exploring the ways in which Yearsley engages with, or not, the traditional requirements of such writing. In doing so it also considers the ways in which Yearsley’s elegiac poetry might contribute to, or form part of, an alternative female tradition of elegy: its conclusion explores the ways in which the intersection of Yearsley’s class and gender might have inflected her engagement with elegiac poetry. This essay also explores a number of recently-recovered and newly-discovered poems by Yearsley, and offers the first critical discussion of several of them.
|Title of host publication||A History of British Working-Class Literature|
|Editors||John Goodridge, Bridget Keegan|
|Place of Publication||New York|
|Publisher||Cambridge University Press|
|Number of pages||16|
|Publication status||Published - 27 Apr 2017|
- Ann Yearsley
- women’s writing
- eighteenth-century elegiac poetry
- female elegy
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- English & Creative Arts - Reader in Women's Lit. & Textual Editing