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Letitia Elizabeth Landon and Metrical Romance

The Adventures of a ‘Literary Genius’

Serena Baiesi

Letitia Elizabeth Landon (1802-1838) was one of the leading women poets of the second generation of English Romantic writers. Following her predecessor Walter Scott and her contemporary Lord Byron, she was a fluent practitioner and essential innovator of the metrical romance and exerted a strong influence on the work of Victorian poets (especially Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning and Christina Rossetti). This book analyses Landon’s poetics, with particular reference to the close relationship between the narrative poem as literary genre and its gender implications.
Landon was both an eclectic writer and a literary businesswoman: she was an extremely effective promoter of her literary work in order to support her independent life in London. Furthermore she was the editor of several annuals and gift-books, wrote for magazines, and published numerous poems, novels, and editorials. Her active life and mysterious and premature death in Africa attracted the curiosity of many biographers during the twentieth century, but only in recent times has critical attention been paid to her rich literary output. This volume aims to discuss and analyse the work of a talented artist whose metrical romance strongly influenced the poetics of late Romanticism, and prefigured a highly successful genre widely adopted during the Victorian age: the dramatic monologue.


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APPENDIX TWO: Chronology of Letitia Elizabeth Landon 173


APPENDIX TWO Chronology of Letitia Elizabeth Landon 1802 (14 August) born at No 25 Hans Place Chelsea; eldest daughter of three children – Whittington Henry (1804–1883) and Elizabeth Jane Landon (born around 1811 or 1812, and deceased around 1825) – of John Landon (baptised in 1756– 1824) and Catherine Jane Bishop (1770 or 1771–1856); baptized October 18, (1805) at the Church of St. Luke, Chelsea. 1807 L. attends Frances Rowden’s school for young women, No 22 Hans Place. 1809 The family take up residence in a large, antique house known as Trevor Park, at East Barnet, Hertfordshire. L.’s education is supervised by her first cousin Elizabeth Landon (1790–1860), who lives with the family. 1815 End of the Napoleonic War (Battle of Waterloo); nationwide economic depression; financial decline of John Landon’s army agency Adair & Co.; the family move to Old Brompton. 1818 William Jerdan (1782–1869), editor of The Literary Gazette, publishes L.’s first poem ‘Rome’ (11 March) signed ‘L.’ 1821 The Fate of Adelaide; A Swiss Romantic Tale, and Other Poems published (August); L.’s poems appear in the Gazette signed ‘L.E.L.’; dissolution of Adair & Co. 1822 First English annual, the Forget-Me-Not published by Acker- mann (November). 1824 Death of Lord Byron (19 April); The Improvisatrice; and Other Poems published in July by Hurst, Robinson and Co.; favourable reviews and excellent sales, with publication of six 174 editions (1824–1825); L. begins contributing poems to annuals and gift-books; death of John Landon (18 November). 1825 The Troubadour; Catalogue of Pictures;...

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