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To Melancholy

To Melancholy

by Charlotte Smith

Analysis: Allusions

When poets refer to other great works, people, and events, it’s usually not accidental. Put on your super-sleuth hat and figure out why.

Literary and Philosophical References

Thomas Otway was a poet and playwright from the late 1600s that Charlotte Smith particularly admired (he gets referenced in some of her other poems, too). Otway was famous for writing about human emotions in a believable way. This was uncommon at the time when he was writing, when most playwrights wrote tragedies in a wooden, artificial-sounding way. Smith, like most other Romantic-era poets, valued authentic, legitimate-sounding emotion very highly, and tried to emulate poets like Otway who were able to get natural-sounding emotions across in literature. (10)

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