‘A Task enough to make one frantic’: William Hayley’s Memorialising
This paper explores Hayley’s approach to, and writing about, memorialising, focusing on his manuscript collection of epitaphs, his letters to Anna Seward about her epitaph on Lady Miller, and his memoirs and biographies. How typical was he of late-eighteenth and early-nineteenth century memorialists? What does his writing about death—and his writing about writing about death—tell us about how his contemporaries were supposed to feel and express their feelings about the dead? How do his works illustrate what he and his contemporaries were expected to reveal or conceal about the dead, and about the living? How different, in that respect, were the works designed to be read by the public from those intended only for the deceased’s nearest and dearest? How did the author’s death change the expected readership?
Copyright (c) 2020 Lisa Gee
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