The Making of Letitia Landon: Reception, Media, Art

Storti, Sarah, English - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
McGann, Jerome, AS-English-Eng Lit Ops, University of Virginia
Stauffer, Andrew, AS-English-Eng Lit Ops, University of Virginia
Seitz, James, AS-English-Eng Lit Ops, University of Virginia

Reports of the recovery of Letitia Landon’s poetry have been greatly exaggerated—not because of a lack of scholarly work on the subject, but because that work has with few exceptions relied on an inadequate comprehension of the ways her poetry was composed and published. Her poetry is most innovative in its bibliographic and grammatical aspects, but when Landon came back into critical favor under the auspices of feminist scholarship in the early 1980s, the work was selected, anthologized, and reprinted in ways that obscure these special characteristics. There followed a long history of criticism that assessed Landon’s work by the half-light of incomplete or misleading stories of textual transmission. These problems continue, and have obscured the collective view of a fascinating and innovative poet. This dissertation argues that far from being merely another sentimental poetess, Landon was in fact a brilliant media theorist and practitioner: she leveraged an experimental role in early nineteenth-century print media to explore the limits of representational art in an era of mass production.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Letitia Elizabeth Landon, literature, literary annuals, poetry, textual studies, print culture, scholarly editing
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