Barry Cornwall: Lost Nightingale

  • Richard Marggraf TurleyEmail author


In 1820, the reputation of Barry Cornwall, pseudonym of solicitor Bryan Waller Procter (1787–1874), was at its height. One of the most popular male poets of the age, Cornwall was the prolific author of Cockneyish poems that shared themes and sources with those of Keats. Unlike his less market-savvy rival, however, Cornwall was feted by public and critics alike. Today, Barry Cornwall is little read. His work has fallen out of all the major Romantic anthologies, and the poet himself is valued only for his literary reminiscences of more highly regarded writers. In the discourse of Romantic marginality, Cornwall is one of those ‘other’ Romantics. This essay’s concern is with retrieval, reclamation, and rehabilitation, with ways of seeing. I suggest that Cornwall’s relationship with his now more famous peers, particularly Keats, helps us to understand how marginalised writers are produced, and poetic canons constructed and materialised.

Works Cited

  1. [Anon.]. 1820. Keats’s Lamia, and Other Poems. Monthly Review 92: 305–10.Google Scholar
  2. ———. 1819. Review of Barry Cornwall’s Dramatic Scenes. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 5: 310–16.Google Scholar
  3. ———. 1822. The Augustan Age in England. The Album 1: 220–21.Google Scholar
  4. Armour, Richard Willard. 1935. Barry Cornwall: A Biography of Bryan Waller Procter. Boston: Meador.Google Scholar
  5. Baudry, Louis. 1827. The Living Poets of England: Specimens of the Living British Poets. 2 vols. Paris: L. Baudry.Google Scholar
  6. Byron, George Gordon. 1973–82. Letter to Murray, 9 November 1820. In: Byron’s Letters and Journals. Ed. Leslie A. Marchand, 7: 225. London: Murray.Google Scholar
  7. Cornwall, Barry [Bryan Waller Procter]. 1819. To Michael Agnolo. Annals of the Fine Arts 4: 160.Google Scholar
  8. ———. 1820. A Sicilian Story, with Diego de Montilla and Other Poems. London: C. & J. Ollier.Google Scholar
  9. ———. 1820. Marcian Colonna: An Italian Tale, with Three Dramatic Scenes and Other Poems. London: C. & J. Ollier.Google Scholar
  10. ———. 1832. English Songs, and Other Small Poems. London: Moxon.Google Scholar
  11. Cornwall, Barry [?]. 1828. Recollections of Books and Their Authors—No. 6. John Keats, The Poet. In: The Olio 1: 391–94, at 392.Google Scholar
  12. Estrange, A. G. 1870. Life of Mary Russell Mitford. London: Bentley.Google Scholar
  13. Galignani, A. and W. 1829. The Poetical Works of Milman, Bowles, Wilson, and Barry Cornwall. Paris: A. and W. Galignani.Google Scholar
  14. Howitt, William. 1847. Homes and Haunts of the Most Eminent English Poets, 2 vols. London: Bentley.Google Scholar
  15. Jackson, Heather. 2015. Those Who Write for Immortality: Romantic Reputations and the Dream of Lasting Fame. New Haven: Yale University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jackson, Rossiter. 1872. Little Classics: Minor Poems. Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company.Google Scholar
  17. Jones, Jonathan. 2018. Jack Vettriano: Just the Tom Jones of 21st Century Art? The Guardian, 19 September 2013. Accessed 19 December 2018.
  18. ———. 2018. Why Are So Many People Moved by This Wedding Photograph? The Guardian, 1 October 2015. Accessed 19 December 2018.
  19. Keats, John. 1958. The Letters of John Keats, 1814–1821. Ed. Hyder Edward Rollins, 2 vols. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  20. ———. 1977. The Complete Poems. Ed. John Barnard. Harmondsworth: Penguin.Google Scholar
  21. Kendrick, Asahel. 1871. My Poetical Favourites: A Selection from the Best Minor Poems of the English Language. New York: Sheldon.Google Scholar
  22. Kimberly, Caroline. 2004–05. Effeminacy, Masculinity, and Homosocial Bonds: The (Un)Intentional Queering of John Keats. In: Romanticism on the Net, 36–37.
  23. Kramer Linkin, Harriet, and Stephen C. Behrendt (eds.). 1999. Romanticism and Women Poets: Opening the Doors of Reception. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky.Google Scholar
  24. Lake, J. W. 1828. The British Poets of the Nineteenth Century. Frankfurt A/M: H. L. Broenner.Google Scholar
  25. Latané, David E. 2013. William Maginn and the British Press: A Critical Biography. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Leary, Patrick. 1994. Fraser’s Magazine and the Literary Life, 1830–1847. Victorian Periodicals Review 27: 105–26.Google Scholar
  27. L.E.L. [Laetitia Elizabeth Landon]. 1831. Romance and Reality, 3 vols. London: Colburn and Bentley.Google Scholar
  28. Maginn, William. 1823. Odoherty, Proem. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine, pp. 689–93.Google Scholar
  29. Marggraf Turley, Richard. 2009. Bright Stars: John Keats, Barry Cornwall and London Literary Culture. Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.Google Scholar
  30. Mole, Tom. 2007. Byron’s Romantic Celebrity: Industrial Culture and the Hermeneutics of Intimacy. London: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Monckton Milnes, Richard. 1848. Life, Letters and Literary Remains of John Keats, 2 vols. London: Moxon.Google Scholar
  32. Pierpont, John. 1828. Thoughts Selected from the Ancient and Modern Poets. Boston: Hillard, Gray, Little and Wilkins.Google Scholar
  33. Stephenson, John, and James Churchill. 1831. Medical Botany; or, Illustrations and Descriptions of the Medicinal Plants, 4 vols. London: John Churchill.Google Scholar
  34. Vettriano, Jack. 2017. Official Website. Accessed 6 March 2019.
  35. Wilson, John. 1819. Literary Pocket-Book. Blackwood’s Edinburgh Magazine 6: 237–40.Google Scholar
  36. Wolfson, Susan (ed.). 2001. The Cambridge Companion to Keats. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Yorke, Oliver [William Maginn.]. 1835. The Fraserians. Fraser’s Magazine 11: 1–27.Google Scholar
  38. Zhang, Sarah. 2015. The Pitfalls of Using Google Ngram to Study Language. Wired Accessed 19 December 2018.

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Aberystwyth UniversityAberystwythWales, UK

Personalised recommendations