Popular Poets

26. After publishing his last epic, Roderick, The Last of The Gothics, in 1814, Southey dedicated himself to the composition of prose. His prose works included a number of translations, such as History of Brazil (1810) and biographical treatments of public figures, including Horatio Nelson, William Cowper, and Oliver Cromwell. As well, The Story of the Three Bears, first published in his prose collection The Doctor (1836), is renowned as the original telling of the Goldilocks story. In 1813, he was appointed England’s poet laureate, a distinction which solidified his literary reputation and marked his complete transformation from an outlying radical poet to a respected writer and official proponent of the state and monarch. He remained poet laureate for thirty years until his death in 1843. This volume of The Pocket Magazine of Classic and Polite Literature (v.10: 1822) features engravings based on Southey’s Joan of Arc (1796), Thalaba the Destroyer (1801), The Curse of Kehman (1810), and Roderick, The Last of the Goths (1814).

Brittany Reid, University of Alberta, 2014