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date: 19 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In situating poetry amidst the period’s associational and sociable cultures, this chapter refers to a range of different kinds of composition: poetry written or published by literary clubs or club members, and poems celebrating the convivial pleasures of the tavern, the dining-table, the salon, the printer’s shop, and the tea-table. It also considers the group identity forged through such material practices as subscription publishing, collaboratively written poetry, and the popularity of poetic miscellanies. Poetry and song are crucial to club identity in the period, but, equally, club culture imbues the spirit of much informally exchanged poetry, with its characteristic playful intimacy, spontaneity, and experimentation. Much of this “verse” has been critically derided as mediocre, but the context of this poetic culture informs all work in the period, including that of major writers such as Swift, whose “jeux d’esprits” demonstrate how clubs and coteries permitted poetic innovation and risk.

Keywords: poetry, coteries, clubs, sociability, miscellanies

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