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The Life and Poems of Anne Hunter

The Life and Poems of Anne Hunter: Haydn’s Tuneful Voice

With an introduction by Isobel Armstrong
Volume: 56
Copyright Date: 2009
Edition: 1
Pages: 256
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  • Book Info
    The Life and Poems of Anne Hunter
    Book Description:

    Anne Home Hunter (1741-1821) was one of the most successful song writers of the second half of the eighteenth century, most famously as the poet who wrote the lyrics of many of Haydn’s songs. However her work, which included many more serious, lyrical and romantic poems has been largely forgotten. This book contains over 200 poems, some published in her life-time under her married name ‘Mrs John Hunter’, some attributed only to ‘a Lady’, and most importantly many transcribed from her manuscripts, housed in various archives and in a private collection, which are now collected for the first time. Hitherto Anne Hunter has been known almost entirely through her ‘Poems’ published in 1802, in her Introduction Isobel Armstrong argues that she saw this book as a definitive representation of her poetry. Besides her consummately skilful lyrics and songs it contains serious political odes and reflective poems. The unpublished material amplifies and extends the work of 1802. The introduction is followed by a long biographical essay by Caroline Grigson. The daughter of Robert Home, an impoverished Scottish Army surgeon, Anne Hunter spent her adult life in London where she married the famous anatomist John Hunter, with whom she lived in great style, latterly as a bluestocking hostess, until his death in 1793. The book includes many new details of her long life, her friendship with Angelica Kaufman (who painted her portrait - see cover) and the bluestocking, Elizabeth Carter. The account of Anne’s life as a widow describes her relationships with her family, her niece the playwright Joanna Baillie, and her friends, especially those of the famous Minto family, as well as the Scottish impresario George Thomson. Of especial interest is the discovery of a previously unrecorded visit that Haydn made to her during his second London visit when she was living in Blackheath. Expertly researched which Grigson’s book sets Anne Hunter’s oeuvre in the political and social context of the time and will be required reading to scholars of literature and music alike.

    eISBN: 978-1-84631-588-6
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgements
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Chronology
    (pp. xi-xvii)
  5. Abbreviations
    (pp. xviii-xviii)
  6. Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)
    Isobel Armstrong

    Anne Hunter’sPoems(1802), was published when she was 60, but, as Caroline Grigson’s biographical study makes plain, her songs, airs and canzonets had been circulating anonymously for at least 20 years before this. The 1802 collection was an important retrospect. It was an attempt to consolidate her work and establish herself as an authoritative poet. In it she laid claim by name to the many songs she had written. Through these she had achieved what every poet of the day—from Joanna Baillie to Wordsworth— longed for: the rooting of her lyrics in the popular culture of the song,...

  7. Anne Hunter’s life
    (pp. 12-83)
    Caroline Grigson

    Anne Home Hunter (1741–1821) was one of the most successful song writers of the second half of the eighteenth century. She usually wrote words for existing tunes, but she also set verses written by others to her own music, and sometimes composed both words and music. Although her lyrics were widely published and republished in dozens of contemporary and early nineteenth-century anthologies, her musical settings fared less well and many were replaced by those of other composers. Almost all her published songs were anonymous, including those used by Haydn in his two sets ofOriginal Canzonettas,¹ even though he...

  8. Anne Hunter’s poetry

    • The sources of Anne Hunter’s poetry
      (pp. 84-89)

      Most of Anne Hunter’s known poems are included in the present volume, and are taken from many different sources, both published and manuscript. Some poems have been excluded on grounds of quality and, where multiple copies exist, it is the earliest published (or in some cases more significant) version that has been included here.

      All of Anne’s early published poems appeared anonymously in anthologies, books of music, or as broadsheets; they can be identified as hers because the texts are among her manuscripts. This is also true of herNine canzonetts … and six airs¹ for which she wrote both...

    • The earliest poems, published and manuscript
      (pp. 90-101)
    • Broadsheets
      (pp. 102-107)
    • Nine canzonetts … and six airs
      (pp. 108-116)
    • Haydn and Salomon
      (pp. 117-126)
    • Poems known only in manuscript
      (pp. 127-170)
    • Poems
      (pp. 171-220)
      Mrs John Hunter
    • The Sports of the Genii
      (pp. 221-228)
      Mrs John Hunter
    • Welsh Airs
      (pp. 229-244)
    • Late published poems
      (pp. 245-255)
  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 256-266)
  10. Index of titles
    (pp. 267-271)
  11. Index of first lines
    (pp. 272-276)
  12. General index
    (pp. 277-286)