Anna Seward entry: Overview screen.
Writing and Life
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Anna Seward, living at a distance from London, was nevertheless a woman of letters, of the later eighteenth century and just beyond. She staked her claim to fame firstly on her poetry (though she was always willing to try genres unusual to her, like sermons and a biography of Erasmus Darwin), secondly on her letters. In these and in her newspaper contributions she was also a literary critic, familiar with the criteria of both the Augustan and Romantic eras and gifted besides with an unfailing independence of judgement.
1 December 1742 AS was born at Eyam in Derbyshire, where her father was then rector. Bibliographic Citation link.  scholarly note link.
October 1762-June 1768 AS preserved her letters from these years, as 'juvenilia'. Bibliographic Citation link.
May 1773 The thirty-year-old AS wrote one of her most forceful letters, polished like a polemical essay, about the prospect confronting a middle-class woman who does not marry. Bibliographic Citation link.
1784 AS began transcribing copies selected from among her voluminous letters into large bound volumes, with eventual publication in mind. Bibliographic Citation link.
29 April 1802 AS wrote her first surviving letter to the young Walter Scott, with a detailed critique of his Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, of which he had sent her the first volume (not the first work he had submitted to her). Bibliographic Citation link.
25 March 1809 AS died in the Bishop's Palace at Lichfield, and "died as few poets do, rich." Bibliographic Citation link.  Bibliographic Citation link.
May 1811 AS's six-volume Letters . . . written between the years 1784 and 1807 were posthumously published: not edited by Scott (as she had requested). Bibliographic Citation link.
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