Eric Parisot

Danijela Kambaskovic-Sawers Reviews Graveyard Poetry: Religion, Aesthetics and the Mid-eighteenth-Century Poetic Condition

This book examines ‘Graveyard poetry’, a critical appellation described by its author, Eric Parisot (Australian Research Council Discovery Early Career Research Award Fellow, University of Queensland) as an imperfect, but serviceable and (grudgingly) accepted construct, commonly used to discuss the work of a group of eighteenth-century British poets meditating on death and Christian salvation, and doing so in close proximity of the dead, usually in a crypt or at a graveyard. If this cruelly crude summary sounds like it describes a simple enough phenomenon, think again: Parisot’s book shows clearly that everything about this category – the names of the artists who should be included in it, including Robert Blair, Edward Young, Thomas Grey, John Ogilvie, John Cunningham, Thomas Wharton (to name but a few), different characteristics of their work, the different sentiments addressed or evoked, and the effects the works had on contemporary readers and readers in our own time – can be questioned, contested or excluded. And it often is.

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