Journal Volume 1 Editorial

Welcome to the first annual issue of The Cowper and Newton Journal, which provides a new forum for scholarly articles, notes and reviews on Cowper, Newton and their contemporaries, along with some items aimed more specifically at the general reader. A thrice-yearly Newsletter will keep Friends of the Museum up to date with museum news and other local topics. Together, the two publications replace The Cowper and Newton Bulletin, which ceased publication in 2010.

It is hoped that the Journal will make a significant contribution to the understanding not only of Cowper and Newton – their lives, writings and milieu – but of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a whole. Its aims and scope are set out fully in the editorial statement opposite, on the inside front cover.

The present number is devoted to Cowper and focuses on his contribution to the arts of letterwriting and conversation. Already hailed as one of the leading poets of his generation, his pre-eminence in the epistolary mode was recognized as soon as his letters began to be published shortly after his death. As Bill Hutchings demonstrates, his approach to conversation was equally sophisticated, proceeding from an Augustan tradition which itself drew on Classical models.

The issue is completed by two shorter Notes and a review of Mary Favret’s recent study, War at a Distance, which (perhaps surprisingly to some) places Cowper at the forefront of the creation of a Romantic and modern consciousness of war as experienced by populations at home, far from the actual scene of conflict.

An essay on Newton awaits publication in the next issue, and ideally of course the editors would like to maintain a balance between Cowper, Newton, and the wider concerns indicated by the journal’s stated editorial policy. We wish above all to emphasize our commitment to printing a variety of articles and shorter pieces across a wide spectrum of approaches and concerns. Submissions are encouraged from any author with new work and insights to contribute. All will be given serious and detailed consideration.

Vincent Newey and Tony Seward
June 2011