John Keats, Barry Cornwall and Romantic Literary Culture
Distributed for Liverpool University Press
The most celebrated poet of his day after Byron, Barry Cornwall, pseudonymous identity of Bryan Waller Procter (1787–1874), was a solicitor, dandy, and pugilist, as well as the author of three books of heralded verse. Marcian Colonna alone sold seven hundred copies in a single morning, a figure exceeding Keats’s lifetime sales.
In Bright Stars, Richard Marggraf Turley attempts to square Cornwall’s early nineteenth-century popularity with his subsequent neglect, emphatically returning an important and unjustly overlooked romantic author to critical focus. He explores the fascinating mirror between Cornwall’s trajectory into celebrity with that of his now better-known contemporary—and rival—John Keats. Turley argues that Cornwall helped to structure Keats’s experience as a poet, and he explores the central question of how Cornwall’s racy and politically subversive poetry managed to establish a broad readership while Keats’s similarly indecorous publications were initially met with critical hostility and readerly indifference.
Note on Sources
Introduction: Bubbles or Gold on the Bounteous Tree? Cornwall’s Celebrity
1 ‘Breathing Human Passion’: Cornwall and Popular Romanticism
2 ‘Slippery Steps of the Temple of Fame’: Cornwall and Keats’s Reputation
3 Bright Stars and Close Bosom-Friends: Keats, Cornwall and ‘Cockney’ Politics
4 The Scent of Strong-Smelling Phrases: Cornwall’s Popular Eroticism
5 Metropolitan Commissioners of Lunacy