Ann Yearsley and the London Newspapers in 1787

Kerri Andrews, University of Strathclyde
Vol. 34, No. 1 (Spring 2015), 107-124

In 1787, after the bitter, public break with her patron Hannah More, Ann Yearsley not only published her second volume of verse, Poems, on Various Subjects, but also published four poems in newspapers. This article argues that Yearsley’s choice to simultaneously publish in two mediums, as well as her decisions regarding the subjects of the newspaper poems, was calculated to answer claims that her literary success was due to More’s editing rather than Yearsley’s own talents. To recover her poetic reputation, Yearsley turned to the periodical press, whose rapid publication and ephemeral existence precluded editorial interference. The article also argues that newspapers provided Yearsley with the opportunity to display her talents to a larger audience than she would normally reach with her published volume. The subjects of her newspaper poems were designed to prove that she was a poet of national relevance, that she had made new literary connections, and that her argument with More was partly precipitated by Yearsley’s maternal concern for her children’s financial future. The poems demonstrate her versatility, as well as maintain continuity with her previous work, as part of a well-managed effort to restore her reputation as a poet of genuine and substantial talent.

Mary Wollstonecraft Sojourner Truth Margaret Atwood Abigail Adams Amy Tan H.D. Simone de Beauvoir Zora Neale Hurston Frances Burney Virginia Woolf

"The white saxifrage with the indented leafe is moste commended for the breakinge of the Stone."

— Turner, Herbal, III, 68 [1568]