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Vanity Fair and the Celestial CityDissenting, Methodist, and Evangelical Literary Culture in England 1720-1800$
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Isabel Rivers

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198269960

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198269960.001.0001

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Poems and Hymns

Poems and Hymns

(p.338) 11 Poems and Hymns
Vanity Fair and the Celestial City

Isabel Rivers

Oxford University Press

This chapter challenges the common modern differentiation between religious poems and hymns, emphasizing the category of poetry that promoted piety in a range of forms. Isaac Watts was a pervasive influence. Multi-authored Congregationalist, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, and Unitarian hymn collections are examined, together with the methods and choices of the main editors, including the Wesleys, Whitefield, Ash and Evans, George Burder, and Andrew Kippis. The publishing and editing of poetry by a range of writers, famous and obscure, is compared. Milton, Young, and Cowper were the favourite religious poets, but many little-known writers published volumes of religious poetry or contributed to the religious magazines, with some of their poems being published posthumously. Readers and writers made extensive use of hymns and poems in private and in company, reading them in silence and aloud, quoting them in their manuscript journals and letters, and interweaving them in their prose publications.

Keywords:   religious poems, hymn collections, editing poetry, reading poetry, religious magazines, Isaac Watts, Milton, Edward Young, William Cowper

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