Anna Seward

Standard Name: Seward, Anna
Birth Name: Anna Seward
Nickname: The Swan of Lichfield
Nickname: Nancy
AS , 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.


Connections Sort descending Author name Excerpt
Cultural formation Mary Delany
In Sister Arts: The Erotics of Lesbian Landscapes, 2011, Lisa L. Moore classified MD , along with the Duchess of Portland , Anna Seward , and the American Sarah Pierce (1767-1852), as lesbian-like women...
Cultural formation Mary Scott
MS grew up in a prosperous, middle-class household, in which religion was the centre of everyday life and activity. Most sources agree that her family were Protestant Dissenters.
Though Anna Seward said they were Anglicans
death Mary Scott
Anna Seward addressed her an anxious letter dated 10 September, obviously having not yet learned about her death.
Seward, Anna. Letters of Anna Seward. Editor Constable, Archibald, Vol.
6 vols.
, A. Constable.
3: 310
death Anna Miller
She was buried in Bath Abbey, with a poetic epitaph by Anna Seward .
Matthew, Henry Colin Gray et al., editors. Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.
Dedications Margaret Holford
The elder Margaret Holford published with her name, through the Minerva Press , First Impressions; or, The Portrait. A Novel, in four volumes, dedicated to Anna Seward .
Garside, Peter et al., editors. The English Novel 1770-1829. Oxford University Press.
2: 135-6
Dedications Margaret Holford
Published by Hookham and Carpenter , this was a slim volume of 44 pages, with a title-page quotation from Pope 's Windsor Forest, and a handsome illustration of Gresford Lodge near Wrexham in Denbighshire...
Education Mary Scott
Little is known of MS 's education, but her correspondence with Anna Seward suggests familiarity with both classic and recent literature. Further, the knowledge she displays in The Female Advocate of women's writing in particular...
Family and Intimate relationships Mary Scott
MS 's father was a linen manufacturer, a Dissenter according to most accounts, and a zealous supporter of the civil and religious liberties of Protestant dissenters. Among his brothers was the Rev. Russell Scott ...
Family and Intimate relationships Fanny Holcroft
Thomas Holcroft held progressive ideas about women and their education, as he showed in 1794 in a brief review of Miss or Mrs. C. Short 's Dramas for the Use of Young Ladies (to which...
Fictionalization Frances Burney
Bibliographer James Raven notes a crescendo in novelistic echoes of FB 's works during the 1780s. Burney's brother Charles , for instance, noted borrowings from both Evelina and Cecilia in his review for the Monthly...
Friends, Associates Margaret Holford
MH 's friends were said to include Anna Seward .
She is not mentioned in Teresa Barnard 's biography of Seward.
After her eldest daughter became famous and developed a correspondence with Joanna Baillie ...
Friends, Associates Frances Brooke
As a result of her friendship with the musicologist Charles Burney (1726-1814), FB became a friend of his daughter Frances as well.
McMullen, Lorraine. An Odd Attempt in a Woman: The Literary Life of Frances Brooke. University of British Columbia Press.
Frances Burney liked Brooke, but was worried at her close friendship with...
Friends, Associates Mary Scott
MS was probably a friend from an early age of the dissenting hymn-writer Anne Steele , who lived not very far away and who was a generation older. They spent much time together in 1773...
Friends, Associates Frances Brooke
Hannah More and Anna Seward were among the invited guests. The anecdotalist Baptist Noel Turner later related from FB 's own mouth a story of Johnson asking her to withdraw from the others so that...
Friends, Associates Frances Jacson
The Jacson sisters became acquainted with the literary circle in Lichfield which also included Erasmus Darwin , Anna Seward , and Thomas Day , as well as their cousin Sir Brooke Boothby , who probably introduced them there.
Shteir, Ann B. “Botanical Dialogues: Maria Jacson and Women’s Popular Science Writing in England”. Eighteenth-Century Studies, Vol.
, No. 3, pp. 301-17.


1770: The Lichfield Circle began to develop at...

Building item


The Lichfield Circle began to develop at Lichfield in Staffordshire; the group advocated reform of women's education away from time-filling accomplishments such as japanning and toward intellectual learning.

16 December 1773: Citizens dumped 340 chests of tea into the...

National or international item

16 December 1773

Citizens dumped 340 chests of tea into the harbour at Boston, Massachusetts, to protest duty imposed by the Tea Act of 10 May; this became known as the Boston Tea Party.

1782: George Romney painted a picture to illustrate...

Women writers item


George Romney painted a picture to illustrate (after the fact) William Hayley 'a Triumphs of Temper, 1781: Serena, reading Burney 's Evelina. The model was Honora Sneyd .

1785: William Hayley published his Philosophical,...

Writing climate item


William Hayley published his Philosophical, Historical and Moral Essay on Old Maids; most women readers agreed with Anna Seward that the book displayed witty, but ungenerous sport of fancy.
Seward, Anna. Letters of Anna Seward. Editor Constable, Archibald, Vol.
6 vols.
, A. Constable.
I: 147

April 1789: The Gentleman's Magazine published Anna Seward's...

Women writers item

April 1789

The Gentleman's Magazine published Anna Seward 's selection of living celebrated Female Poets.

By June 1796: Samuel Taylor Coleridge compiled a booklet...

Writing climate item

By June 1796

Samuel Taylor Coleridge compiled a booklet titled Sonnets from Various Authors: four each by himself, Southey , Charles Lamb , and Charles Lloyd , two by Charlotte Smith , and one each by seven more writers including Anna Seward .

1801: Philip James de Loutherbourg painted Coalbrookdale...

Building item


Philip James de Loutherbourg painted Coalbrookdale by Night, a theatrically romantic picture of a famous industrial village: houses perched on the valley cliffs, with a clouded sky glaring red from furnaces.

December 1802: The Critical Review extolled the quality...

Women writers item

December 1802

The Critical Review extolled the quality of contemporary women's poetry: Miss Seward , Mrs Barbauld , Charlotte Smith , will take their place among the English poets for centuries to come.

1804: The publisher George, George, and John Robinson,...

Writing climate item


The publisher George, George, and John Robinson , whose list of women writers had been distinguished, went bankrupt.

9 June 1819: The library of the late Queen Charlotte was...

Building item

9 June 1819

The library of the late Queen Charlotte was auctioned by Christie's ; it included Jane Austen 's works, plus titles by Catherine Cuthbertson , Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire , Christian Isobel Johnstone , Alethea Lewis


Seward, Anna. Anna Seward’s Journal and Sermons. Editor Barnard, Teresa, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2017.
Seward, Anna. Blindness. J. Montgomery, 1806.
Seward, Anna. Elegy on Captain Cook. J. Dodsley, 1780.
Seward, Anna. Letters of Anna Seward. Editor Constable, Archibald, Vol.
6 vols.
, A. Constable, 1811.
Seward, Anna. Llangollen Vale, with Other Poems. G. Sael, 1796.
Seward, Anna. Louisa. J. Jackson and G. Robinson, 1784.
Seward, Anna et al. “Memoirs of Abelard and Eloisa”. Letters of Abelard and Eloisa, translated by. John Hughes and John Hughes, J. Mitchell, 1805.
Seward, Anna. Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Darwin. J. Johnson, 1804.
Seward, Anna. Monody on Major André. Printed and sold by J. Jackson, for the author, 1781.
Seward, Anna. Original Sonnets on various Subjects and Odes paraphrased from Horace. G. Sael, 1799.
Seward, Anna, and Wally Chamberlain Oulton. The Beauties of Anna Seward. C. Chapple, 1813.
Seward, Anna. The Poetical Works of Anna Seward. Editor Scott, Sir Walter, J. Ballantyne, 1810.