Reading Christopher Smart in the Twenty-first Century: "By Succession of Delight"
Poet, essayist, actor, hymn-writer, wit, magazine editor, transvestite stage performer: Christopher Smart, Georgian don-turned-writer, was all of these. He was, and remains, a mercurial individual, an idiosyncratic yet strangely familiar writer of spiritual heights and material depths. His paradoxical exuberance fascinates scholars of eighteenth-century culture, and this collection of essays, a snapshot of current scholarship from both new and established Smart scholars, offers, among others, literary, theological, dramatic and philosophical perspectives on his writing. Here are new ways of reading familiar Smart works — including the astonishing, devout poem of his incarceration, Jubilate Agno — and unfamiliar ones, such as his translations and writing for children. Unexpected readers of Smart, from Coleridge to a testy anonymous annotator, are examined, and Smart's sacred translations and profane stage presence each find a place. Tom Keymer's re-evaluating afterword finds the quality of “betweenness” in Smart's work: between eras, between genres, between forms, Smart's vitality demands reassessment for each new generation of readers.
Contributors: Karina Williamson, Min Wild, Rosalind Powell, Fraser Easton, Clement Hawes, William E. Levine, Noel Chevalier, Lori A. Branch, Daniel J. Ennis, Chris Mounsey, Debbie Welham, Tom Keymer.
Min Wild's monograph Christopher Smartand Satire on Smart's Midwife, was published in 2008, and various articles and reviews of a Smartian bent have followed. Her interest in that eighteenth-century favorite, the literary mode of prosopopoeia, has led her to investigate the personification of words, texts and literary modes themselves. She
lectures in eighteenth-century literature and theory at Plymouth University, UK, and reviews in the Times Literary Supplement and elsewhere.
Noel Chevalier is Associate Professor of English at Luther College, University of Regina, Canada. He has published articles on Jubilate Agno and on Smart’s challenge to “legitimate” playhouses in Mrs. Midnight’sOratory. Although his specialty lies in the eighteenth century, his teaching and research cover a diverse range of topics, from literary responses to the Bible, to the roots of globalization, to literary representations of science and scientists. He has helped create two interdisciplinary programs at Luther: one which addresses literature for students in the sciences, and one which explores the philosophical, political, economic, and cultural contexts of globalization.
Jacket illustration: "Amaryllis sarniensis or Guernsey Amaryllis," from William Curtis, The Botanical Magazine; or, Flower-GardenDisplayed, Vol. IX. No. 294. London, 1795.
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Chapter 02 Christopher Smart Samuel Taylor Coleridge and the Tradition of Learned Wit
Christopher Smarts Idea of Writing Well
Chapter 04 Christopher Smarts Elocution
Smart in the Madhouse Revisiting The Fool for the Sake of Christ
Ecstasy in Jubilate Agno
The Case for a Postsecular Christopher Smart
Smart on the Stage Reviewing Mrs Midnights Oratory and Other Pieces
Chapter 09 Christopher Smart Mary Midnight and the Haymarket 1755
Christopher Smart and Leicester House
Mrs Midnight the Orator and Her Political Provenance
Smarts Hybridization of Satiric and Devotional Modes in His Translations of the Psalms
Smart in Sunday School Reading the Work for Children
Newton Newbery and Christopher Smarts New Learning
About the Contributors
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advertisement animal Aubin Betty Rizzo Biographia Cambridge cat-organ century child Chris Mounsey Christopher Smart Cibber Clarendon Coleridge Coleridge’s critical David Dearnley deﬁned deﬁnition Delaval divine Donald Davie ecstasy edition eighteenth eighteenth-century elocution English example ﬁgure ﬁnal ﬁnally ﬁnd ﬁrst Francis Francis Blake Delaval God’s Henley Henley’s Horace Horace’s human Hymn Ibid idea identiﬁed impression inﬂuence issue John John Henley John Hussey Delaval John Newbery jubihzte Agno jubilate Agno Karina Williamson Lady’s Oratory language learned wit Leicester House letter Lilliputian lines literary literature London magazine Mary Midnight Midwife Newbery Newbery’s Noel Chevalier notes ofthe oration Othello Oxford Penelope Aubin performance piece play poem poet poet’s poetic poetry political Pope’s postsecular Printed prose Psalms reader reading religious rhetorical role Samuel Foote satire secular sense Sheridan signiﬁcant sound speciﬁcally sublime suggests supersessional theater tion Tory translation University Press verbal verse voice volume words writing