John Thelwall pp 249-274 | Cite as


Part of the Nineteenth-Century Major Lives and Letters book series (19CMLL)


It is ironic that, almost 200 years after his death, we still lack a full biography of Thelwall. For he wrote himself in all his work, in all its forms, in a manner alternately self-aggrandizing and self-mocking, but always intent on leaving a mark on posterity. He composed at least eight substantial autobiographies, of which half are in verse, and almost all his poems have autobiographical elements. At the source, end, heart, and turning point of his career, the Derby MS begins with the “Proem to Poems Chiefly Suggested by the Scenery of Nature,” which gathers together and revises life-writings from his youth; and it ends with a comical “Auto-Biography” and a poignant personal envoi to Musalogia. All three are included in this chapter, and many more autobiographical poems are scattered through this volume, which this chapter brings full circle, showing the defining reciprocity of nature and identity, from beginning to end of Thelwall’s career.


Liquid Glass Young Wife Remembrance Comp Meditative Thought Lowering Brow 
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© Judith Thompson 2015

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