Anna Seward

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Anna Seward (December 12, 1747March 25, 1809) was an English writer, often called the "Swan of Lichfield."

Seward was the elder daughter of Thomas Seward (1708-1790), prebendary of Lichfield and Salisbury, and author. Born at Eyam in Derbyshire, she passed nearly all her life in Lichfield, beginning at an early age to write poetry partly at the instigation of Dr. Erasmus Darwin. Her verses include elegies and sonnets, and she also wrote a poetical novel, Louisa, of which five editions were published. Miss Seward's writings, which include a large number of letters, are decidedly commonplace, and Horace Walpole said she had " no imagination, no novelty."

Sir Walter Scott edited Seward's Poetical Works in three volumes (Edinburgh, 1810); to these he prefixed a memoir of the authoress, adding extracts from her literary correspondence. He refused, however, to edit the bulk of her letters, and these were published in six volumes by A. Constable as Letters of Anna Seward 1784-1807 (Edinburgh, 1811). Miss Seward also wrote Memoirs of the Life of Dr Darwin (1804).

There is a monument to Anna Seward in Lichfield Cathedral.

See E. V. Lucas, A Swan and her Friends (1907); and S. Martin, Anna Seward and Classic Lichfield (1909).

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