Advertisement

Genius and Scholarship

Chapter
  • 64 Downloads

Abstract

During a brief aside to his lecture series on the major British poets, Hazlitt dashed Chatterton’s claim to literary fame. ‘It is his name, his youth, and what he might have lived to have done’, he suggests, ‘that excite our wonder and admiration’.2 For more than forty years, by this point, Chatterton had in fact been conducive to a number of highly divisive critical debates. And over a number of decades many noteworthy literary figures collected piles of Chattertoniana with relish, including Thomas Percy, William Mason, Michael Lort, Robert Glynn, William and Jane Cole, as well as the leading Shakespeare experts of the age, such as Edmond Malone, George Steevens and Richard Farmer, along with dozens of notable gentlemen, aristocrats, physicians and amateur historians. In the public realm the principal vernacular scholars of the late eighteenth century gave detailed axiological attention to Chatterton’s texts, particularly so by Thomas Warton, Malone, Steevens, and the nation’s pre-eminent Chaucerian, Thomas Tyrwhitt, as well as Southey and Cottle, Walter Scott, and Percival Stockdale in the early nineteenth century. In particular, the boy-poet proved flexible enough to conform to, and embolden, familiar if conflicting theorizations of genius, from Joseph Addison’s well-known essay in The Spectator (no. 160) on natural and learned genius through to Edward Young’s forceful rejection of the Augustan ‘rules of art’ in the second half of the eighteenth century, as well as the models of intertwined genius, taste and judgement established by the Scottish Enlightenment thinkers William Duff and Alexander Gerard.

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Literary History Public Realm Modern Work English Poetry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 1.
    William Hazlitt, ‘On Swift, Young, Gray Collins, &c.’, Lectures on the English Poets (London: Taylor and Hessey 1818), pp. 206–44Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Joseph Addison, The Spectator 419 (1 July 1712), in Donald R Bond (ed.), The Spectator, 5 vols (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1965), vol. 3, pp. 570–3.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    Addison, The Spectator 160 (3 September 1711), vol. 2, pp. 126–30.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Samuel Johnson, The Adventurer 115 (11 December 1753), in W.J. Bate, John M. Bullitt and L. R Powell (eds), The Idler and The Adventurer (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1963), pp. 456–61.Google Scholar
  5. Isaac D’Israeli, Calamities of Authors, 2 vols (London: John Murray, 1812), vol. 1, p. viiiGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Thomas Busby, The Age of Genius! A Satire on the Times (London: Harrison and Co, 1786), p. 8.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    Martha Woodmansee, The Author, Art, and the Market (New York: Columbia University Press, 1994)Google Scholar
  8. Mark Rose, Authors and Owners: The Invention of Copyright (Cambridge, MA, and London: Harvard University Press, 1993)Google Scholar
  9. Paul Saint-Armour, The Copywrights: Intellectual Property and the Literary Imagination (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 2003).Google Scholar
  10. 9.
    Edward Young, Conjectures on Original Composition (London: A. Millar and R. and J. Dodsley 1759), p. 54.Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    Addison, The Spectator 160. See also William Temple, ‘Of Poetry’, Miscellanea. The Second Part (London: Ri. and Ra. Simpson, 1690), p. 293Google Scholar
  12. Hesiod, Hesiod: Theogony; Works and Days; Testimonia, trans. Glenn W. Most, Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 5Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Dryden quoted in The Spectator 419. Important recent studies of Spenser and vernacular scholarship in the eighteenth century include Jack Lynch, The Age of Elizabeth in the Age of Johnson (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), pp. 120–42Google Scholar
  14. David Fairer, ‘Historical Criticism and the English Canon: A Spenserian Dispute in the 1750s’, ECL 24 (2000), pp. 43–64Google Scholar
  15. Jonathan Brody Kramnick, Making the English Canon: Print-Capitalism and the Cultural Past, 1700–1770 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), pp. 137–89.Google Scholar
  16. 12.
    John Dryden, Of Dramatic Poesy and Other Critical Essays, ed. George Watson, 2 vols (London: Dent, 1962), vol. 2, pp. 280Google Scholar
  17. 13.
    Thomas Warton, Observations on the Fairy Queen of Spenser, 2nd edn, 2 vols (London: R. and J. Dodsley; Oxford: J. Fletcher, 1762), vol. 1, p. 197.Google Scholar
  18. 14.
    Richard Hurd, Letters on Chivalry and Romance (London: A. Millar; Cambridge: W Thurlboum and J. Woodyer, 1762), p. 4.Google Scholar
  19. 15.
    For contextual letters, reviews and contemporary and later adaptations see Dafydd Moore (ed.), Ossian and Ossianism (London: Routledge, 2004).Google Scholar
  20. Ian Haywood, The Making of History: A Study of the Literary Forgeries of James Macpherson and Thomas Chatterton in Relation to Eighteenth-Century Ideas of History and Fiction (Rutherford: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1986).Google Scholar
  21. 16.
    See Jonathan Bate, The Genius of Shakespeare (London: Picador, 1997), pp. 157–86Google Scholar
  22. Kirsti Simonsuuri, Homer’s Original Genius: Eighteenth-Century Notions of the Early Greek Epic (1688–1798) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979)Google Scholar
  23. Kirstie Blair and Mina Gorji (eds), Class and Canon: Constructing Labouring-Class Poetry and Poetics, 1750–1900 (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013).Google Scholar
  24. 17.
    Robert Burns, Poems, Chiefly in the Scottish Dialect (Kilmarnock: John Wilson, 1786)Google Scholar
  25. 18.
    Adam Ferguson, An Essay on the History of Civil Society (London: A. Millar and T. Cadell; Edinburgh: A. Kincaid and J. Bell, 1768), p. 265.Google Scholar
  26. William Duff, An Essay on Original Genius (London: Edward and Charles Dilly 1767), p. xxiii.Google Scholar
  27. 19.
    Hugh Blair, A Critical Dissertation on the Poems of Ossian (London: T. Becket and P. A. De Hondt, 1763), p. 11.Google Scholar
  28. 20.
    On the flaws of Young’s arguments see Matthew Wickman, ‘Imitating Eve Imitating Echo Imitating Originality: The Critical Reverberations of Sentimental Genius in the “Conjectures on Original Composition”’, ELH 65.4 (1998), pp. 899–928CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Robert L. Chibka, ‘The Stranger within Young’s Conjectures’, ELH 53 (1986), pp. 541–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. D. W Odell, ‘The Argument of Young’s Conjectures on Original Composition’, Studies in Philology 78 (1981), pp. 87–106.Google Scholar
  31. 22.
    See Patricia Phillips, The Adventurous Muse: Theories of Originality in English Poetics, 1650–1760 (Uppsala: [Uppsala University], 1984)Google Scholar
  32. M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic Theory and the Critical Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971 [1953]).Google Scholar
  33. 28.
    See Nick Groom, The Making of Percy’s Reliques (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1999), p. 6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Margaret Russett, Fictions and Fakes: Forging Romantic Authenticity, 1760–1845 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), p. 24.Google Scholar
  35. 29.
    See Johnson’s fable of ‘wit and learning’ in The Rambler 22 (2 June 1750), in W. J. Bate and Albrecht B. Strauss (eds), The Rambler, 3 vols (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1969), vol. 3, pp. 121–5.Google Scholar
  36. 30.
    Horace Walpole, A Letter to the Editor of the Miscellanies of Thomas Chatterton (Strawberry Hill: T. Kirgate, 1779), p. 13.Google Scholar
  37. 31.
    William Hazlitt, Table Talk; or, Original Essays (London: John Warren, 1821), p. 94.Google Scholar
  38. 34.
    T. Hall Caine, Recollections of Dante Gabriel Rossetti (London: Elliot Stock, 1882), pp. 184–5.Google Scholar
  39. 35.
    Johnson, The Rambler 154 (7 September 1751), vol. 3, pp. 54–9.Google Scholar
  40. Vicesimus Knox, ‘On the Necessity of Industry, even to Genius’, Liberal Education (London: Charles Dilly 1781), pp. 204–9.Google Scholar
  41. 36.
    Joshua Reynolds, A Discourse Delivered to the Students of the Royal Academy (London: Thomas Davies, 1775), p. 36.Google Scholar
  42. 37.
    Abraham Purshouse, An Essay on Genius (London: J. Dodsley 1782), p. 35Google Scholar
  43. James Beattie, ‘Remarks on Genius’, Dissertations Moral and Critical (London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell; Edinburgh: W. Creech, 1783), pp. 146–64Google Scholar
  44. 38.
    James Cawthom, ‘The Birth and Education of Genius’, Poems, by the Rev. Mr. Cawthorn (London: S. Bladon, 1771), pp. 36–55Google Scholar
  45. Andrew Elfenbein, Romantic Genius: The Prehistory of a Homosexual Role (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), p. 37.Google Scholar
  46. 40.
    Alexander Gerard, An Essay on Genius (London: W. Strahan and T. Cadell; Edinburgh: W. Creech, 1774), p. 71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. 42.
    Isaac D’Israeli, An Essay on the Manners and Genius of the Literary Character (London: T Cadell, 1795), p. 210.Google Scholar
  48. 45.
    Desiderius Erasmus, Praise of Folly (1511), The Collected Works of Erasmus (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1986), vol. 27, p. 92.Google Scholar
  49. 46.
    Quoted in Ben Jonson, ‘Notes on Literature’ (c. 1615–35), in Brian Vickers (ed.), English Renaissance Literary Criticism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 558–89Google Scholar
  50. 48.
    Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Complete Poems, ed. William Keach (London: Penguin Books, 1997), p. 15.Google Scholar
  51. 49.
    Alexander Pope, The Dunciad. An Heroic Poem (London: A. Dodd, 1728), p. 6.Google Scholar
  52. 51.
    William Henry Ireland, Neglected Genius. A Poem (London: W. Wilson, 1812), p. xvii.Google Scholar
  53. 52.
    William Duff, Critical Observation on the Writings of the Most Celebrated Original Geniuses in Poetry (London: T Becket and P. A. de Hond, 1770), p. 365.Google Scholar
  54. 55.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Werter and Charlotte, a German Story. A New Translation (London: J. Parsons, 1786), p. iii.Google Scholar
  55. 56.
    See Kramnick, Making the English Canon, pp. 88–91. For accounts of satires on antiquaries see Joseph M. Levine, Dr. Woodward’s Shield: History, Science, and Satire in Augustan England (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1977).Google Scholar
  56. 57.
    See David Fairer, ‘The Formation of Warton’s History’, in Thomas Warton, Thomas Warton’s History of English Poetry, ed. David Fairer, 4 vols (London: Routledge/Thoemmes Press, 1998), vol. 1, pp. 1–70.Google Scholar
  57. 58.
    Quoted in James Boswell, The Life of Samuel Johnson, 2 vols (London: Charles Dilly 1791), vol. 1, p. 146.Google Scholar
  58. 63.
    See Peter N. Miller (ed.), Momigliano and Antiquarianism: Foundations of the Modern Cultural Sciences (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007).Google Scholar
  59. 64.
    Lawrence Lipking, ‘Literary Criticism and the Rise of National Literary History’, in John Richetti (ed.), The Cambridge History of English Literature, 1660–1780 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), pp. 471–97Google Scholar
  60. 66.
    Ferdinando Warner, Remarks on the History of Fingal and Other Poems of Ossian (London: H. Payne and W. Cropley and J. Walter, 1762), p. 12.Google Scholar
  61. 68.
    Theodor Harmsen, Antiquarianism in the Augustan Age: Thomas Hearne 1678–1735 (Bern: Peter Lang, 2000), pp. 23–4.Google Scholar
  62. Joseph M. Levine, The Battle of the Books: History and Literature in the Augustan Age (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1991)Google Scholar
  63. 69.
    Rosemary Sweet, Antiquaries: The Discovery of the Past in Eighteenth-Century Britain (London and New York: Hambledon, 2004), p. xiv.Google Scholar
  64. 71.
    Mark Salber Phillips, ‘Reconsiderations on History and Antiquarianism: Arnaldo Momigliano and the Historiography of Eighteenth-Century Britain’, Journal of the History of Ideas 57.2 (1996), pp. 297–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. 72.
    Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries: English Literature and Its Background, 1760–1830 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1981), p. 10.Google Scholar
  66. 73.
    Jerome McGann, The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations on Historical Method & Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985), p. 71.Google Scholar
  67. Simon Jarvis, Scholars and Gentlemen: Shakespearian Textual Criticism and Representation of Scholarly Labour, 1725–1765 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1995)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. 75.
    See Robert D. Hume, Reconstructing Contexts: The Aims and Principles of Archaeo-Historicism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999), pp. 18–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. 76.
    D. F. McKenzie, Bibliography and the Sociology of Texts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Michael F. Suarez SJ, ‘Historiographical Problems and Possibilities in Book History and National Histories of the Book’, Studies in Bibliography 56 (2003–4), pp. 141–70.Google Scholar
  71. 78.
    For pragmatic text theory see Martyn P. Thompson, ‘Reception Theory and the Interpretation of Historical Meaning’, History and Theory 32 (1993), pp. 248–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. 79.
    William St Clair, The Reading Nation in the Romantic Period (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), p. 6.Google Scholar
  73. 80.
    Jerome McGann, ‘The Infatuated Worlds of Thomas Chatterton’, in Thomas Woodman (ed.), Early Romantics: Perspectives in British Poetry from Pope to Wordsworth (London: Macmillan, now Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 1999), pp. 233–41Google Scholar
  74. 81.
    Marjorie Levinson, The Romantic Fragment Poem: A Critique of a Form (Chapel Hill and London: University of North Carolina Press, 1987), pp. 36–51Google Scholar
  75. K. K. Ruthven, ‘Preposterous Chatterton’, ELH 71 (2004), pp. 345–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Daniel Cook 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of DundeeUK

Personalised recommendations