Letitia Elizabeth Landon – Selected Writings
  • Publication Date: October 7, 1997
  • ISBN: 9781551111353 / 1551111357
  • 509 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Letitia Elizabeth Landon – Selected Writings

  • Publication Date: October 7, 1997
  • ISBN: 9781551111353 / 1551111357
  • 509 pages; 5½" x 8½"

The work of ‘L.E.L.’ began to be published when she was only seventeen, and in her early twenties Landon had already achieved considerable renown. As a widely envied independent woman in London society, however, she was increasingly the subject of scandalous gossip. Eventually she married the governor of a colony in West Africa, and died under mysterious circumstances soon after arriving in Africa, aged thirty-six. Landon’s life contributed very largely to the nineteenth-century archetype of the poet as a breed apart, heroic but doomed. Her poetry, however, was until very recently largely forgotten; this is the first twentieth-century edition of her poems, which the editors describe as “cold and sentimental at the same time, flat and intense.”

In addition to a broad selection of Landon’s poetry and prose, this volume also includes a wide variety of contextual materials and a comprehensive bibliography.


“In the 1820s and 30s Letitia Elizabeth Landon was the pre-eminent poetess of romantic love and, after the death of Byron, the most popular poet of her generation. Jerome McGann and Daniel Riess have assembled a useful and imaginative collection of Landon’s major works. The result is an edition—complete with excellent historical and biographical introduction, reliable notes, and extensive bibliography—that will introduce students and scholars to this important, if neglected, nineteenth-century woman poet and help them understand why Elizabeth Barrett found Landon, with her ‘raw bare powers,’ such a formidable predecessor. The Publication of Letitia Elizabeth Landon: Selected Writings is a cause for celebration.” — Linda Peterson, Yale University

“Like many Broadview Editions, this one is a model of its kind.” — Nineteenth-Century Literature

Editorial Preface
Letitia Elizabeth Landon: A Brief Chronology


from The Literary Gazette

  • Six Songs of Love, Constancy, Romance, Inconstancy, Truth, and Marriage (1821)
    from Medallion Wafers (1823)
    • Introduction
  • The Hall of Statues (1831)

from The Improvisatrice and Other Poems (1824)

  • The Improvisatrice [selections]
    Lines Written Under a Picture of a Girl Burning
    a Love-Letter
    When Should Lovers Breathe Their Vows?

from The Troubadour (1825)

  • A Child Screening a Dove from a Hawk
    The Enchanted Island

from The Golden Violet (1826)

  • Erinna
    Song (“My heart is like the failing hearth”)
    Song (“Where oh where s the chain to fling”)

from The Venetian Bracelet (1828)

  • Preface to The Venetian Bracelet
    A Summer Evening’s Tale
    Lines of Life
    A History of the Lyre
    Fantasies, inscribed to T. Crofton Croker, Esq.
    Stanzas to the Author of “Mont Blanc,” “Ada,” etc.

from The Keepsake for 1829

  • Verses (“Lady, thy face is very beautiful”)
    The Altered River

from Romance and Reality (1831)

  • Chapter I

from The Amulet for 1832

  • Corinne at the Cape of Misena

from Traits and Trials of Early Life (1836)

  • The History of a Child

from The New Monthly Magazine

  • On the Ancient and Modern Influence of Poetry (1832)
    Stanzas on the Death of Mrs. Hemans (1835)
    On the Character of Mrs. Hemans s Writings (1835)
    First Love; or, Constancy in the Nineteenth
    Century (1836)
    Three Extracts from the Diary of a Week (1837)
    The Polar Star (1839)
    Night at Sea (1839)

from Fisher’s Drawing Room Scrap Book

  • Skeleton Group in the Rameswur, Caves of Ellora. Supposed to
    Represent the Nuptials of Siva and Parvati (1832)
    A Legend of Tintagel Castle (1833)
    Linmouth (1833)
    Hebe (1834)
    Sassoor, in the Deccan (1835)
    Hindoo and Mahommedan Buildings (1835)
    Scene in Kattiawar (1835)
    The Fairy of the Fountains (1835)
    Immolation of a Hindoo Widow (1836)
    from Scenes in London — I. Piccadilly
    Pulo Penang (1836)
    The Young Destructive (1836)
    Expectation (1837)
    Felicia Hemans (1838)
    The Tombs of the Kings of Golconda (1838)
    Captain Cook
    The Church of St. John, and the Ruins of Lahneck Castle, formerly belonging to the Templars
    Disenchantment (1838)
    The Village Bells (1839)

from Flowers of Loveliness (1838)

  • The Hyacinth

Appendix A: Contemporary Reviews
Appendix B: Poems Written for and about “L.E.L.”
Appendix C: “Lezione per L’Amore” [first published version of “Song. (Where, oh, where’s the chain to fling)”]
Appendix D. Index to the Poetry of Letitia Elizabeth Landon, ed. Glenn Dibert-Himes and Cynthia Lawford


Jerome McGann of the University of Virginia, the author of The Romantic Ideology, The Poetics of Sensibility and many other works, is one of the world’s leading authorities on Romantic and nineteenth-century literature.

Daniel Riess is a doctoral candidate at the University of Texas, Austin.