Essays in Romanticism

Thinking about Feeling: Letitia Elizabeth Landon and the Problem of Professionalism

Essays in Romanticism (2019), 26, (1), 89–104.

Abstract

Letitia Elizabeth Landon’s critical reception, from her early success “The Improvisatrice” through her critical recovery in the late twentieth century, repeatedly returns to the question: are her poems records of authentic, personal feeling or the products of a professional writer, adept at crafting feeling as a marketable product? This article aims to uncover the critical history of this question and to show that Landon herself, in her experiments with sympathy in response to the changing conditions of her reception and the marketplace during the 1820s and 30s, shaped the terms in which it has been (and continues to be) framed. Taking Landon seriously as a thinker about feeling reveals both her own sophisticated models of affect and their influence on her audience’s reading practices.

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Author details

Adams, Theresa