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The Juvenile TraditionYoung Writers and Prolepsis, 1750–1835$
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Laurie Langbauer

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739203

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739203.001.0001

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Prolepsis and the Tradition of Juvenile Writing

Prolepsis and the Tradition of Juvenile Writing

Henry Kirke White and Robert Southey

Chapter:
(p.110) 3 Prolepsis and the Tradition of Juvenile Writing
Source:
The Juvenile Tradition
Author(s):

Laurie Langbauer

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739203.003.0004

Robert Southey’s edition of the childhood poetry and undergraduate writing of Kirke White (a young writer popular throughout the nineteenth century) consolidated the juvenile tradition. White’s meditation on juvenile writing in his poetry expressly rethinks the possibilities of child authorship as more than mere effusion. It provides instead a sophisticated proleptic theory to aid later readers in understanding the juvenile tradition. The early nineteenth century was interested in so-called precocious writing as providing new models of literary reflection, that kept open understandings of the past and of futurity. As broker of juvenile writers who wrote about Thomas Dermody, Michael Bruce, and Lucretia Davidson, among others, Southey (himself a prodigious boy-poet) helped to reimagine literary history and tradition by conserving the juvenile tradition. He explores literary juvenilia to reflect, along with White, on the relation of prolepsis and the archive: on how acting on the future in advance can produce its records.

Keywords:   Kirke White, Southey, prolepsis, Thomas Dermody, juvenile, juvenilia, boy-poet

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