George Dyer Criticism - Essay

British Critic (review date August 1802)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Review of George Dyer's Poems. British Critic 20 (August 1802): 121-25.

[In the following anonymous review, the critic finds Dyer's poetry more noteworthy than his political sentiments.]

In p. 590, of our seventeenth volume, the reader will find an account of a first book of Poems by this author, of which these were to have been a continuation, and consecrated Divæ Libertati! Mr. Dyer has been induced, partly by the advice of friends, and partly by the hints of booksellers, who, as he truly says, are the best judges in these matters, to alter the arrangement of his plan. We are now presented with two volumes of Lyric Poetry,...

(The entire section is 1420 words.)

E. V. Lucas (essay date 1920)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Lucas, E. V. “George Dyer.” In The Life of Charles Lamb, Vol. 1, pp. 174-203. London: Methuen, 1920.

[In the following excerpt, Lucas discusses the circumstances surrounding Dyer's second volume of poetry, and the reworked preface for it, as well as other observations on Dyer's oeuvre.]

Dyer's principal work was scholarly or serious; but he had his lighter moments too, when he wrote verses, some of them quite sprightly, and moved socially from house to house. In the letter to Southey on page 172 we have seen something of George Dyer's attitude to poetry. The subject is continued in a letter to Wordsworth, some years later. “To G. D. a poem is a poem. His...

(The entire section is 2851 words.)

M. Ray Adams (essay date 1947)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Adams, M. Ray. “George Dyer and English Radicalism.” In Studies in the Literary Backgrounds of English Radicalism, pp. 227-66. Lancaster, Pa.: Franklin and Marshall College Studies, no. 5, 1947.

[In the following excerpt, Adams corrects the image of Dyer as a lovable fool by investigating his religious and political ideals in relation to his contemporaries.]

To see the gentle George Dyer placed among even the milder radicals will surprise those acquainted with him only as the friend of Charles Lamb (and there are few who know him otherwise); for Lamb has immortalized him by dwelling almost exclusively upon the unconscious comedy of his outer life. The...

(The entire section is 9929 words.)

Kenneth Kendall (essay date 1971)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kendall, Kenneth E. “Other Contributors to the Reflector.” In Leigh Hunt's Reflector, pp. 123-58. The Hague: Mouton, 1971.

[In the following excerpt, Kendall asserts that Dyer was not the naïve man of Lamb's essays, and that his writing in the Reflector is pedantic but reveals social criticism on par with Leigh Hunt's. Dyer's major articles in that publication are listed and summarized.]

Dr. Aikin and George Dyer were the oldest of the several contributors to the Reflector, both belonging to a generation older than that of Lamb and Hunt. Both were minor men of letters who were ready at all times to break into print, so that a new...

(The entire section is 2061 words.)

P. M. Zall (essay date January 1974)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Zall, P. M. “Epitaph for George Dyer.” Charles Lamb Bulletin 5 (January 1974): 104-09.

[In the following essay, Zall explains how Dyer learned benevolence firsthand, overcoming his own working-class heritage through charitable aid, and by watching his mentor, Robert Robinson, preach to the rural poor.]

If the essence of an immortal comic hero is a compound of humor, irony, and pathos, George Dyer should live forever. From his shrine in Elia's pantheon he still sheds his grace across the years—reaching for his hat but picking up the coal scuttle, sparkling in conversation with the bust of Diana in mistake for Anna Letitia Barbauld, striding directly out...

(The entire section is 2960 words.)

Donald Reiman (essay date 1979)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Reiman, Donald H. Introduction to The Poet's Fate, by George Dyer. In Odes and The Poet's Fate, pp. v-xii. New York: Garland, 1979.

[In the following introduction, Reiman summarizes Dyer's life and discusses his poetry, concluding that the poet was one of the bright lights of the era, if not its best poet.]

George Dyer (1755-1841), friend of Southey, Coleridge, and Wordsworth and beloved by Charles Lamb and William Hazlitt, was one of the great “originals” of his age—a man who, had Thomas Love Peacock known him, would certainly have graced one of his novels of talk as a lovable eccentric. Anecdotes about Dyer fill the letters and essays of Lamb,...

(The entire section is 2577 words.)

Harriet Jump (essay date April 1987)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Jump, Harriet. “‘Snatch'd Out of the Fire’: Lamb, Coleridge, and George Dyer's Cancelled Preface.” Charles Lamb Bulletin 58 (April 1987): 54-66.

[In the following excerpt, originally presented as a lecture on March 1, 1986, Jump speaks in detail about the fate and revisions of Dyer's cancelled preface, using the perspective of Lamb's and Coleridge's amused and critical comments.]

Born in Wapping, the son of a watchman, in 1755, Dyer was twenty years older than Lamb, seventeen years older than Coleridge. In other words, he belonged to an earlier generation—a fact which becomes obvious when one starts to examine the style of his poetry and the tenor of...

(The entire section is 6589 words.)

Nicholas Roe (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Roe, Nicholas. “‘Unremembered Kindness’: George Dyer and English Romanticism.” In The Politics of Nature: Wordsworth and Some Contemporaries, pp. 17-35. London: Macmillan, 1992.

[In the following essay, Roe suggests how the doctrine of benevolence in Dyer's writings foreshadows Wordworth's morality of benevolence in “Tintern Abbey.”]

His kind heart most warmly sympathised at all times with the cause of civil and religious liberty, which he uniformly espoused by his writings

The Gentleman's Magazine, NS 15 (1841), 545


(The entire section is 8076 words.)

Robin Jarvis (essay date summer 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Jarvis, Robin. “Poetry in Motion: George Dyer's Pedestrian Tour.” Wordsworth Circle 29, no. 3 (summer 1998): 142-51.

[In the following excerpt, Jarvis discusses one of Dyer's poems about a walking tour with his friend Arthur Aikin, arguing that at least some of his poetry was at the forefront of Romantic and revolutionary sentiment.]

It is the fate of George Dyer, at least among scholars working outside the eighteenth century and early nineteenth century, permanently to be confused with the author of The Fleece and “Grongar Hill.” John Dyer (1699-1757), anthologised in popular volumes like The Norton Anthology of Poetry, is reputedly—to...

(The entire section is 8958 words.)

J. R. Watson (essay date October 1999)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Watson, J. R. “‘My Benevolent Friend’: George Dyer and His 1800 Preface.” Charles Lamb Bulletin 108 (October 1999): 170-77.

[In the following essay, Watson examines the dual perception of Dyer as both benevolent and irritating, asserting that the author's poetry and preface are tiresome and old-fashioned compared to his contemporaries.]

Readers of Charles Lamb will be familiar with the figure of George Dyer, whose eccentric person appears in ‘Oxford in the Vacation’ and in ‘Amicus Redivivus’ (after falling into the river outside Lamb's house at Islington). He was an endless source of delight (as well as inconvenience) to Lamb, as he is to the...

(The entire section is 4393 words.)