Corvey 'Adopt an Author'
Maria Jane Jewsbury
|The Corvey Project at
Sheffield Hallam University
Plot Synopsis of Phantasmagoria, or, Sketches of Life
Phantasmagoria, is a collection of poetry and prose published
in 1825 in two volumes. It satirises fashionable tastes and contemporary
writers and critics. I have decided to concentrate on a selected few from
the two volumes.
This is an essay about women's love and duty. The love a women has for
a man and what she would do for him because of it, which is basically
everything, is discussed and is told to be women's key strength. Women
should let men claim their supremacy as a women has her heart and the
ability to calm men's tempers and wills, this is their triumph.
This directly follows 'Women's Love' and is an example of this strength
women have for men. It is the Second poem in the Historical Sketches.
Arria is a women so completely devoted to her husband that when he is
dying she stabs herself in order to show him that death is not painful
'Women of Suli'
This is a poem based on the joint suicide of the women of Suli. The women
all join hands in a circle an sing loudly whirling around up to the end
of the cliff and then
they all throw themselves off at once. The women would rather kill themselves
than wait for their fate from the attacking Albanians
'The Poet's Fate'
This is a poem about the life and fate of a poet. The first stanza tells
enthusiasm and passion the poet has for his writing and everything around
him. The second
stanza reveal that over time the poet's passion withers and dies, comparing
to flowers. Ambition takes over his writing and consequently will be his
down fall. The final stanza informs the reader of the final out come for
the poet, his fame will cause his an early death.
'Song of the Hindoo Women'
This poem is based on the funeral of a Hindoo women's husband. The widow
accompanies her husband to the world of the spirits. A Funeral Pile which
seems to be similar to a bonfire is made and the dead body is placed on
it. The women wearing her bridal jewels follows behind, takes off her
jewels and mounts the funeral pile. She then lies next to her husband
and sets a light to the mound on which she lies.
'The Lonely Grave'
The 'lonely grave' is the grave of a woman named Ellen who we found out
has taken her own life. Her father wanders the churchyard alone remembering
her. Ellen's heart has been broken and her feelings and passions progress
until we finally are told of the scene when her father finds her dying
due to the poison she has taken.
'Miseries of Mediocrity or Confessions of a Disappointed author'
This is the longest piece in Phantasmagoria. This is self told the story
of a Michael, a man who had to face the truth that he was not good enough
to be part of the literary circle. People told him often but he was a
romantic and felt that if he went to London he would become successful.
He married, was extremely poor and could only just afford to survive.
An old friend he met on the street who offered him a job of running his
shop but only if he gave up the 'vile scribblings'. Michael immediately
did and led a comfortable life.
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