Letitia Elizabeth Landon, Chronicler of the 1830s

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Abstract

Letitia Elizabeth Landon was one of the most prominent figures in the 1830s literary scene. She became known, and was often condemned, for a ‘fatal facility’: a tendency to write too easily and too readily for a market that was itself so over-productive that its grasp on posterity’s regard has proved unstable. Landon’s work in the 1830s mirrors the decade in its variety, its speed of production, its dubiety about cultural status, and its self-conscious reflection on its own potential place in literary history. This chapter explores a wide range of Landon’s 1830s work, work that has typically been passed over by her critics. It explores her interactions with the market via such forms as Silver Fork fiction, short fiction, essays, literary criticism, and ‘hack’ journalism. Her work is shaped by her unstable place as both literary celebrity and a worker for the press, a combination of identities that was especially difficult for a woman writer. She became the decade’s chronicler: her experiments in 1830s literary forms produce a mode of understanding the uncertain temporality of this unusually self-conscious decade.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNineteenth-Century Literature in Transition
Subtitle of host publicationThe 1830s
EditorsDavid Stewart, John Gardner
PublisherCambridge University Press
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 26 Jan 2024

Publication series

NameNineteenth-Century Literature in Transition
PublisherCambridge University Press

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