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The author of the book: Deborah L. Halliday
ISBN: 1500821071
ISBN 13: 9781500821074
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 28.50 MB
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Reader ratings: 3.5
Edition: CreateSpace
Date of issue: September 20th 2014

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Nineteenth century poetry is notorious for its emphasis on death and mourning. This is understandable in a society plagued by a high rate of infant mortality, death in childbirth, and epidemics such as cholera and yellow fever and that seemed to come from nowhere and kill indiscriminately. Illnesses like tuberculosis (called consumption), pneumonia, and other infectious diseases now largely eradicated claimed many lives in a time when scientific medicine was in its infancy and the germ theory of disease was controversial. As people clustered more closely together in cities rates of infectious disease increased, but the causes for this were not always understood. Many deaths seemed random and inexplicable; to make sense of what seemed senseless, people often attributed deaths, especially of children, to God’s will. He chose the fairest, it was said, for himself. There are many poems on death in the pages of Godey’s. People wrote to and about loved ones who had died, they wrote in anticipation of, or imagining, their own deaths, and they frequently wrote about where they wanted to be buried. For many, death was seen as a constant and unpredictable companion, ready to strike at any time.

Godey's Lady's Book, begun in 1830 and edited after 1836 by Sarah Josepha Hale, was one of the most popular magazines in nineteenth century America reaching every state and territory. Reading its poetry, authored by both amateurs and professionals, allows us to share in the emotional and intellectual experiences of these Americans in a unique way.


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