About this Edition
Published here for the first time, Verses Transcribed for H.T. is a manuscript collection of 121 original lyric poems with 72 original illustrations that Mary Tighe prepared in 1805 as she was contemplating publishing a volume of poetry that would feature her epic romance "Psyche; or, the Legend of Love" accompanied by a selection of her lyrics. Instead she opted to print 50 copies of Psyche; or, The Legend of Love (London, 1805) without any additions from Verses in a small private edition that she dedicated and distributed to family and friends (her only publication). After she died her family published Psyche, with Other Poems (London, 1811), which offered a carefully culled and re-ordered selection of 29 lyrics from Verses (with 10 additional lyrics).
Mary Tighe's Verses Transcribed for H.T. provides a truly unique opportunity to see Tighe as the determining editor of her own collected poems. Organized in deliberate clusters, Verses is a self-consciously constructed aesthetic artifact that radically revises prior knowledge of Tighe's literary, visual, and material production:
- 65 of the 121 poems had not appeared in any known print sources as of yet;
- 17 of the 121 poems contain significant variants from the published versions;
- 72 of the 121 poems are illustrated with elegant tailpieces that cast light on the poems they illuminate and provide a visual travelogue of the spas, sites, and ruins the Tighes visited in the 1790s and early 1800s;
- 39 of the 121 are translations or imitations of Latin, Italian, French, or German writers which Tighe scholars thought were lost;
- 35 of the 121 are sonnets, including a distinct set of 30 that are showcased in a numbered "Sonnets" section suggesting a sonnet cycle;
- at least 15 of the 121 are written in the voice of characters from Tighe's 1803 manuscript novel Selena, versus the 11 of the 15 that are printed in the novel;
- dozens attest to Tighe's full-scale engagement with contemporary poetics and politics: the discourse of sensibility, Della Cruscan poetry, coterie culture, the sonnet revival, Romantic antiquarianism, the 1794 Treason Trials, the 1798 Irish Rebellion, the 1801 Act of Union, and more.
This edition contains a comprehensive introduction by the editor, a fully annotated and searchable transcription of the manuscript, and digital images of the manuscript pages, made available through the kind courtesy of the National Library of Ireland. The transcription follows the manuscript faithfully in all instances but one: correcting the manuscript's spelling of "ere" from "e're."
About the editor
Harriet Kramer Linkin is a Distinguished Professor of English at New Mexico State University, where she teaches courses in British Romanticism and women's literature. She has published widely on Romantic-era writers (particularly William Blake and Mary Tighe) and is the editor of the first edition of Mary Tighe's Selena: A Scholarly Edition (Ashgate, 2012), the first scholarly edition of The Collected Poems and Journals of Mary Tighe (University Press of Kentucky, 2005) and the co-editor (with Stephen C. Behrendt) of two collections on Romantic women poets: Romanticism and Women Poets: Opening the Doors of Reception (University Press of Kentucky, 1999) and Approaches to Teaching Women Poets of the British Romantic Period (Modern Language Association Press, 1997).
About the Design
This edition was TEI-encoded by David Rettenmaier, site manager at Romantic Circles Romantic Circles. David Rettenmaier also designed the accompaning graphic banners. Laura Mandell and Dave Rettenmaier developed the modified versions of the transforms provided by the TEI that were used to convert the TEI files into HTML. TEI renders text archival quality for better preservation and future access.
I would like to thank the Trustees of the National Library of Ireland for permission to reproduce MS 49,155/2, my excellent colleagues at New Mexico State University for providing helping readings and advice on the manuscript, namely Tracey Miller-Tomlinson, Elizabeth Schirmer, Tyson Stolte, Ryan Cull, and Kristian Jenson, the anonymous reader for many valuable suggestions, and the editors and design team at Romantic Circles for their support and hard work.