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The Grave Yard of the Mind

The Graveyard poets represented a group of English poets in the 18th century who allocated as the main subject of their works such notions as death, mortality, and bereavement. Their poems describe death’s physical appearances, evoke subjective responses such as horror and fear, and think about various phenomena associated with death, like darkness, tombs, death’s odors, and ghosts. While wallowing in the images of death and the grave, Graveyard poets sought to describe the adornments of death in such a way so that readers would get an appreciation of death as a transitional stage.

Much of the poetry of Graveyard poets is regarded as a response to and development from melancholy, which was considered to be an illness of the 17th century. Melancholy was expressed and described in many literary works, involved a concern with death and the frustration of life that sometimes went with a philosophic disengaging or religious optimism towards the next life, and an emphasis on elimination, solitude, and contemplation. The poems of the Graveyard poets include many of these elements, but they also extend the range of emotional responses to death, like tenderness, grief, nostalgia, tearfulness, and other states of mind. They also introduce in the poems detailed images evoking the grave and the tomb, and emphasize the subjective experience, often including personal material from the poet’s own life. In their emphasis on the individual and personal, the Graveyard poets are often thought as predecessors of Romanticism. Plus, the Graveyard poets, with their depictions of churchyards, graves, nights, death, and ghosts, have been thought to lay the basis for Gothic literature.

Robert Blair’s “The Grave” (1743) is was inspired by many of the works of the Graveyard poets, and this composition, along with “Night Thoughts” (1745) by Edward Young’s became the standard for the school. “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard” (1751) by Thomas Gray is a speculation on the graves of ordinary and unknown villagers. It is considered a great example of Graveyard poetry and is perhaps the most famous work of the movement. The influence of the Graveyard school eventually reached America, where its themes can be found in the works of such notable poems as “The House of Night” (1779) by Philip Freneau and “Thanatopsis” (1817) by William Cullen Bryant.

The Graveyard poets represented a group of English poets in the 18th century who allocated as the main subject of their works such notions as death, mortality, and bereavement. Their poems describe death’s physical appearances, evoke subjective responses such as horror and fear, and think about various phenomena associated with death, like darkness, tombs, death’s odors, and ghosts.

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100000284
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CREATED ON
June 27, 2016
COMPLETED ON
June 28, 2016
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$20
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