Bright Stars: John Keats, Barry Cornwall and Romantic Literary Culture

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This title restores the work of Barry Cornwall to its rightful place in the Romantic literary canon. This is the first book to address the work of Cornwall in any serious details since 1935. Jane Campion filming "Bright Star" centring on the relationship between Keats and Fanny Brawne. Film is due for release in 2009. If we could ask a Romantic reader of new poetry in 1820 to identify the most celebrated poet of the day after Byron, the chances are that he or she would reply with the name of 'Barry Cornwall'. Solicitor, dandy and pugilist, Cornwall - pseudonym of Bryan Waller Procter (1787-1874) - published his first poems in the "Literary Gazette" in late 1817. By February 1820, under the tutelage of Keats' mentor, Leigh Hunt, Cornwall had produced three volumes of verse. "Marcian Colonna" sold 700 copies in a single morning, a figure exceeding Keats' lifetime sales. Hazlitt's suppressed anthology, "Select British Poets" (1824), allocated Cornwall nine pages - the same number as Keats, and more than Southey, Lamb or Shelley; Blackwood's "Edinburgh Magazine" pronounced Cornwall a poet of 'originality and genius'; and in 1821, Gold's "London Magazine" announced that in terms of 'tenderness and delicacy' even Percy Shelley was 'surpassed very far indeed by Barry Cornwall'. It is difficult to square Cornwall's early nineteenth-century popularity with his subsequent neglect. In "Bright Stars", Richard Marggraf Turley concentrates on Cornwall's phenomenonal success between 1817 and 1823, emphatically returning an important and unjustly neglected Romantic author to critical focus. Marggraf Turley explores Cornwall's rivalry - and at various junctures, political camaraderie - with fellow Hunt protege Keats, whose career exists in a fascinatingly mirrored relationship with his own trajectory into celebrity. The book argues that Cornwall helped to structure Keats' experience as a poet but also explores the central question my work seeks to answer is, how did Cornwall's racy and politically subversive poetry manage to establish a broad readership where Keats' similarly indecorous publications met with review hostility and readerly indifference?
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLiverpool
PublisherLiverpool University Press
Number of pages256
ISBN (Print)9781846312113
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2009


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