Often overlooked by critics and never before collected into a scholarly anthology, the Graveyard Poets were forerunners of the great Romantic poets and a key influence on the development of Gothic horror fiction. This handsome volume, edited by Prof. Jack G. Voller, contains nearly 300 pages of writings by the major Graveyard Poets (Robert Blair, Edward Young, Thomas Parnell, etc.) as well as many lesser-known figures and a number of women writers. Featuring an introduction and annotations throughout by Prof. Voller, it is highly recommended to anyone with an interest in the long 18th century or the evolution of the Gothic.
The poetry of the Graveyard School—gloomy meditations on mortality, often composed in churchyards—was immensely popular in 18th-century England and was an important forerunner of the Romantic period and a major influence on the development of the Gothic novel. Yet, despite the unquestioned significance of the Graveyard Poets, critical attention has been scant, and until now there has been no anthology of their writings.
The Graveyard School: An Anthology features works by thirty-three authors and provides a broad and comprehensive examination of the phenomenon of Graveyard poetry. Included are seminal works, such as Robert Blair’s “The Grave”, Thomas Parnell’s “A Night Piece on Death”, and excerpts from Edward Young’s Night Thoughts, as well as once-popular but now little-remembered poems by authors like Mark Akenside, James Beattie and William Collins. Of particular interest in this collection is its inclusion and discussion of authors not normally associated with the Graveyard School, such as Alexander Pope, William Wordsworth and Washington Irving, as well as a number of female poets, among them Susanna Blamire and Charlotte Smith.
Edited by Prof. Jack G. Voller, who provides an introduction and extensive annotations throughout, this volume of melancholy and macabre verse is certain to be welcomed by scholars and students of 18th-century and Gothic literature, as well as those readers interested in the darker side of literature.