‘Anguish no Cessation Knows’

Anne K. Mellor

in The Oxford Handbook of the Elegy

Published in print April 2010 | ISBN: 9780199228133
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

‘Anguish no Cessation Knows’

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Literature
  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)
  • Literary Studies (19th Century)



This article addresses the female-authored elegy. By far the greatest number of elegies penned by women between 1660 and 1834 confront the loss of a dearly beloved family member or friend. Additionally, it describes Mary Chudleigh's three elegies at length because they provide a brilliant representation of the emotional continuum upon which other female elegists map the work of grieving. At the end of the eighteenth century, the female-authored elegy underwent a significant literary development. In the hands of its most skilled practitioners — Charlotte Smith, Helen Maria Williams, Mary Robinson, Letitia Landon, and Felicia Hemans — the poetic elegy became an exploration. The female-authored elegies functioned on occasion as a vehicle of culturally repressed sexual desire. Many of them are more specific in their political critique, taking the occasion to support particular parties, policies or public figures.

Keywords: female-authored elegy; Mary Chudleigh; female elegists; grieving; Charlotte Smith; Helen Maria Williams; Mary Robinson; Letitia Landon; Felicia Hemans; sexual desire

Article.  10895 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800) ; Literary Studies (19th Century)

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »