Beddoes, Thomas Lovell

30 June 1803 - 26 January 1849

British poet and dramatist, remembered these days as much for his death obsession and his manic depressive tendencies (probably abetted by frustrated homosexuality and culminating in his suicide by poison) as his literary achievement; as far as the latter is concerned, he produced some wonderfully atmospheric "Gothic" poems that are quite a bit better than the usual run of such works one encounters among the creations of lesser-known C19 authors. Beddoes, whose life was almost as Gothic as his darkest literary creations, is a writer who deserves to be better known, especially (but not only) among fans of the Gothic.

Born into a literary family — his mother was the sister of the novelist Maria Edgeworth and his father (a physician, scientist, and radical educator) a friend of Samuel Taylor Coleridge — Beddoes was educated at Oxford and, like his literary hero Percy Bysshe Shelley, published his first book, a Gothic romp entitled The Improvisatore, while still an undergraduate. His next work, The Bride's Tragedy (1822), follows in the tradition of the revenge drama, and was heavily influenced by Shakespeare and other Renaissance writers; it had the further distinction of being the only financial success Beddoes ever had. He spent most of his adult life in various cities in Continental Europe (once being banished from Göttingen because of drunkenness, later being banished from Bavaria and Sweden for radical political activity), studying medicine and anatomy as well as writing. Most of his literary energy was devoted to Death's Jest-Book, begun in 1828 and never published in Beddoes' lifetime; a complicated, sprawling, and not overly coherent work, it features most of Beddoes' favorite themes: necromancy, occultism, the supernatural, anatomy, and revenge, among other delights....

Sites:
Biographical note
[Shelley Rees, Oklahoma School of Science and Mathematics; Literary Encyclopedia]
Thomas Lovell Beddoes Text Archive
An impressive collection of Beddoes-related material, including letters, a large number of etexts, and more. Highly recommended. [Richard Geyer, Adrian College]
Brief biographical note
from The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907-21) [Bartleby.com]
Brief biographical note
Includes a few etexts. [W. W. Norton]
Brief biographical note
[Wikipedia]
Brief biographical note
[Gothic Labyrinth]
Brief biographical note  
[Columbia Encyclopedia: Sixth Edition, 2000; Bartleby.com]
Thomas Lovell Beddoes site
A few links to etexts. [San Antonio College LitWeb]
Brief biographical note a LitGothic etext
[John W. Cousins, A Short Biographical Dictionary of English Literature, 1910]


Etexts:
"Old Adam, the Carrion Crow" [1825-28]
A brief extract from Death's Jest-Book.
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
- at U Toronto (4K)

The Bride's Tragedy [1822]
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
- at Romantic Circles (excerpts)

"A Clock Striking Midnight" [PoemHunter]

"Song: A Cypress-Bough, and A Rose-Wreath Sweet"
This poem, like "Dirge and Hymeneal" below, features a very Beddoes-esque linking of funereal and wedding imagery. As Goth as it gets, from a man who was Goth more than 150 years before Goth was cool...
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
- at PoemHunter

Death's Jest-Book
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
- at Phantasmagoric Poetry (partial text)
-- discussion of this work. [Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907-21); Bartleby.com]

"Dirge" ("Let Dew...")
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
- at Jeff's Beddoes page

"Dirge and Hymeneal"
- at LitGothic(2K)  a LitGothic etext
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
 
"Doomsday"
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
- at Jeff's Beddoes page

"Dream of Dying"
- at LitGothic (2K)  a LitGothic etext
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive

"The Ghost's Moonshine"  
- at LitGothic (3K)  a LitGothic etext
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive

"A Lament"
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
- at Jeff's Beddoes page

"Lines ('Mummies and Skeletons')"
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive

"To Night"
- at PoemHunter

"The Old Ghost"
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive

"The Phantom Wooer"
- at Jeff's Beddoes page
- at LitGothica LitGothic etext(2K)

"Poor Old Pilgrim Misery"
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive
- at PoemHunter

"Song of a Maid whose Love is Dead"
- at Jeff's Beddoes page

"Song on the Water"
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive

"Voices in the Air"
- at TL Beddoes Text Archive

"Wolfram's Dirge"
This brief poem is an extract from Death's Jest-Book
- at PoetryX
- at Bartleby.com


More Beddoes poems
a number of shorter works, including "The Last Man" and "Dream of Dying" (linked above). All in one file. [Romantic Circles]


Essays and Reviews:
Doomsday
The journal of the TLB Society, scholarly/academic in nature.

"Representing some Late Romantic-Era, Non-Canonical Male Poets: Thomas Hood, Winthrop Mackworth Praed, Thomas Lovell Beddoes"
by Susan Wolfson. A discussion of the "value" and canonicity of these poets by a major scholar of the Romantic period. [Romanticism on the Net]


"Thomas Lovell Beddoes."