Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive
The Eighteenth-Century Poetry Archive — ECPA — is a collaborative digital archive and research project devoted to the poetry of the long eighteenth century. ECPA builds on the electronic texts created by the Text Creation Partnership from Gale’s Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO).
- browse authors by names, dates of birth, or gender;
- browse works ( text versions) by titles, first lines, themes, or genres;
- view high-quality digital facsimiles of select source editions of the texts used by ECPA;
- use the built-in digital tools to augment the close reading process of individual poems;
- contribute and share textual notes and glosses, readings and interpretations, observations and suggestions, via easy-to-use forms (just click on any line or word);
- use the collaborative potential in the classroom to increase student engagement with the texts;
- use the resources (chronology, gallery, and bibliography) to enhance your studies.
ECPA is currently released in beta and is being constantly updated. Follow ECPA on Twitter to be kept informed of developments. Upcoming enhancements include:
- increasing the number of authors and works represented (currently in preparation: Stephen Duck, Oliver Goldsmith, Hannah More, Sarah Fyge Egerton);
- closer integration of the analytical layers (analysis view) supporting the close reading process (coming Summer 2017).
Works in ECPA
- ANOTHER. ()
- A CHARACTER. ()
- A CHARACTER. ()
- A CHARACTER. ()
- The COMPLAINT. ()
- An EPISTLE to a FRIEND. ()
- HYMN to VIRTUE. ()
- LETTER to a FRIEND on leaving TOWN. ()
- The LINNET'S PETITION. ()
- An ODE to CHARITY. ()
- An ODE to CONTENTMENT. ()
- ODE to SPRING. ()
- Poems by Mrs. Robinson. London: Printed for C. Parker, the Upper Part of New Bond-Street, 1775. ,134p.,plate; 8°. (ESTC T100118)
Born Mary Darby, third child of Nicholas Darby (c. 1720–1785), a sea captain and merchant in Bristol, and his wife, Hester Vanacott (c. 1725–1793), of North Petherton in Somerset, Mary Robinson was educated at a school run by the sisters of Hannah More and by a succession of private tutors. She enjoyed a comprehensive education. Mary's parents lost their fortune and separated when she was ten and Mary completed her education at boarding schools in London. She developed an early interest in the stage and David Garrick later became her tutor at Drury Lane. In 1773, aged 15, she married Thomas Robinson (fl. 1750–1802), the illegitimate son of a wealthy Welshman, who was however unable to support the couple's fashionable lifestyle. In 1775, after the birth of her daughter Maria Elizabeth, Mary followed her husband into a debters' prison. Here she supported the family with miscellaneous work, her Poems by Mrs. Robinson (1775) brought her to the attention of Georgiana Cavendish, duchess of Devonshire, who became her life-long patron. After her husband's release from prison, Mary embarked on a theatrical career. She was engaged by Sheridan and played a number of roles at Drury Lane where she became a celebrated actress in light comedy roles. She became widely known under the name of Perdita. Late in 1779, she caught the attention of the juvenile prince of Wales (the future George IV) who confessed his love and urged her to give up her theatrical career to become his mistress. However, the affair was short-lived and Mary was rewarded with an annuity for giving up any claims. Early in 1782, Mary became involved with Colonel Banastre Tarleton (1754–1833), an army officer and politician from an influential Liverpool family, who remained her partner for the next 15 years. The couple lived extravagantly, Tarleton was a war hero and friend of the prince of Wales, Perdita a tabloid celebrity and the subject of much gossip. After a stroke of bad health in 1783 which eventually left her partially paralysed, Mary took up writing again and became a prolific poet, playwright, translator, and novelist. She published two volumes of her collected poetry in 1791 and 1794 respectively. Her last book of poems, Lyrical Tales (1800), was influenced by Wordsworth and Coleridge's Lyrical Ballads (1798). Among her friends and correspondents during her last years were Eliza Fenwick, Mary Wollstonecraft, William Godwin, and S. T. Coleridge. She died in the care of her daughter at Englefield Green on 26 December 1800 and was buried in the parish churchyard at Old Windsor.
ODNB 23857; NCBEL 680-681
Brewer, William D., gen. ed. and Daniel Robinson, ed. The works of Mary Robinson, Vols. 1-2 (Poems). The Pickering Masters. London; Brookfield, VT: Pickering & Chatto, 2009. Print. 8 volumes.
Pascoe, Judith, ed. Mary Robinson: Selected Poems. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2000. Print.
Byrne, Paula. Perdita: the literary, theatrical, scandalous life of Mary Robinson. New York: Random House, 2004. Print.
Davenport, Hester. The prince's mistress: a life of Mary Robinson. Stroud: Sutton, 2004. Print.
Radcliffe, David H., ed.
Mary Robinson (1758-1800). Spenser and the Tradition: ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830. Center for Applied Technologies in the Humanities, Virginia Tech, 2006. Web. 14 Oct. 2011. http://spenserians.cath.vt.edu/AuthorRecord.php?recordid=33284.
Cross, Ashley. Mary Robinson and the genesis of Romanticism: literary dialogues and debts, 1784-1821. Abingdon; New York: Routledge, 2017. Print.
From Lyrical Ballads to Lyrical Tales: Mary Robinson's reputation and the problem of literary debt. Studies in Romanticism 40:4 (2001): 571-605. Print.
Mary Robinson and the new lyric. Women's Writing 9:1 (2002): 9-22. Print.
Mary Robinson's Lyrical Tales in context. Wilson, Carol Shiner and Joel Haefner, eds. Re-visioning Romanticism: British women writers, 1776-1837. Philadelphia: Pennsylvania UP, 1994. 17-35. Print.
Legitimizing voice: Petrarchan form in Mary Darby Robinson's sonnet sequence Sappho and Phaon. Essays in Romanticism 19 (2012): 65-82. Print.
Janowitz, Anne. Women Romantic poets: Anna Barbauld and Mary Robinson. Tavistock: Northcote House in assn with the British Council, 2004. Print.
Some notes on the Hellenism of Mary Robinson's odes. Eighteenth-Century Women 3 (2003): 185-97. Print.
Labbe, Jacqueline M.
Selling one's sorrows: Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, and the marketing of poetry. Wordsworth Circle 25:2 (1994): 68-71. Print.
The Wild Wreath: cultivating a poetic circle for Mary Robinson. Studies in the Literary Imagination 30:1 (1997): 23-34. Print.
Miskolcze, Robin L.
Snapshots of contradiction in Mary Robinson's Poetical Works. Papers on Language & Literature 31:2 (1995): 206-19. Print.
Pascoe, Judith. Romantic theatricality: gender, poetry, and spectatorship. Ithaca, NY; London: Cornell UP, 1997. Print.
Robinson, Daniel. The poetry of Mary Robinson: form and fame. Basingstoke; New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011. Print.
Reviving the sonnet: women Romantic poets and the sonnet claim. European Romantic Review 6:1 (1995): 98-127. Print.
From 'mingled measure' to 'ecstatic measures': Mary Robinson's poetic reading of Kubla Khan. Wordsworth Circle 26:1 (1995): 4-7. Print.
Mary Robinson and the idiot's guide to sensibility and oblivion. Literature Compass 12:12 (2015): 667-74. Print.
'Spirit divine! With thee I'll wander': Mary Robinson and Coleridge in poetic dialogue. Wordsworth Circle 35:3 (2004): 118-22. Print.
Tabitha Bramble and the Lyrical Tales. Women's Writing 9:1 (2002): 37-52. Print.