Landon’s clichés

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Abstract / Description of output

Letitia Landon faced two seemingly contradictory complaints from contemporary critics: that her writing was mechanical and repetitive, and that it was overly personal, suggesting vanity and egotism. Each is a familiar criticism of lyric poetry, yet Landon's willingness to court them both in her work suggests a paradoxical dependency of intimacy on cliché. This essay explores the implications of Landon's intimate clichés for broader understandings of lyric, sociability, and the highly gendered publishing environment of the period. Drawing on Niklas Luhmann's systems theory, it reframes a typically representational debate about lyric in communicative terms. Finally, it suggests that Landon's repetition can be understood as an ethical project to defend common experience from the advocates of rural solitude.
Original languageEnglish
JournalELH: English Literary History
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2023


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