“I mourn their nature, but admire their art”: Anna Seward’s Assertion of Critical Authority in Maturity and Old Age

Francesca Blanch Serrat*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

In 1786 an anonymous correspondent appealed to Samuel Johnson’s biographer James Boswell in the pages of the Gentleman’s Magazine. Behind the pseudonym Benvolio was Anna Seward (1742-1809), one of the prominent poetical voices of Britain at the time. From 1786-87 and 1793-94, Seward and Boswell engaged in a public and gradually acrimonious dispute over Johnson’s reputation. This article argues that at the core of the debates was Seward’s assertion of her literary and critical authority, and I contend that age and gender played key roles in Boswell’s dismissal of Seward’s claim.

Translated title of the contribution“Lamento su naturaleza, pero admiro su arte”: Anna Seward y su afirmación de la autoridad crítica en la madurez y la vejez
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-31
Number of pages21
JournalES Review
Volume40
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 3 Dec 2019

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