Hester (Lynch) Thrale Piozzi Criticism - Essay

The London Review and Literary Journal (review date 1801)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: A review of Retrospection, in The London Review and Literary Journal, March, 1801, pp. 188-90.

[In the excerpt below, the critic comments on Piozzi's Retrospection, finding fault with her grammar and her lack of a "regular series of dates. "]

Cicero somewhere observes—Historia quoque modo scripta delectat, " "History, in whatever manner it is written, gives delight." And this sentiment Mrs. Piozzi has adopted to the most extensive latitude, in the amusing medley she has compiled, chiefly, as she professes, "for the benefit of young beginners." For we defy the most learned Critic to decide, to what class of literature this pretty piece of...

(The entire section is 1501 words.)

Fanny Burney (letter date 1821)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Madame D'Arblay, in a letter to Madame de Staël in May, 1821," in Diary and Letters of Madame D'Arblay (1778-1840), Volume VI, edited by Charlotte Barrett, Macmillan and Co., 1905, pp. 399-400.

[In the following excerpt from a collection of her diaries and letters, Burney (Madame D'Arblay) comments on Piozzi's character and compares her to Madame de Staël Holstein.]

I have lost now, just lost, my once most dear, intimate, and admired friend, Mrs. Thrale Piozzi,1 who preserved her fine faculties, her imagination, her intelligence, her powers of allusion and citation, her extraordinary memory, and her almost unexampled vivacity, to the last of her...

(The entire section is 573 words.)

The Atlantic Monthly (essay date 1861)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Original Memorials of Mrs. Piozzi," in The Atlantic Monthly, Vol. VII, May, 1861, pp. 614-15.

[In the following excerpt, the anonymous critic comments on Piozzi's character, focusing in particular on her "animated manner" and her "charm" as the mistress of Streatham Park.]

(The entire section is 1266 words.)

George Saintsbury (essay date 1916)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Letters, Diaries, and the Like," in The Peace of the Augustans: A Survey of Eighteenth Century Literature as a Place of Rest and Refreshment, G. Bell and Sons, Ltd., 1916, pp. 231-35.

[In the excerpt below, Saintsbury comments on Piozzi's character and her skills as a letter writer and diarist.]

The century is deservedly famous for letters, memoirs, and all the other more or less personal literature which France had initiated in its predecessor, and to give an account of them here from Hervey to Wraxall would be impossible, and at least proportionately out of place. Something, however, may be said, before coming to Gray and Cowper—the chiefs of the...

(The entire section is 1326 words.)

Alice Meynell (essay date before 1922)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Hester," in Prose and Poetry, Jonathan Cape, 1947, pp. 198-205.

[In the following excerpt, Meynell remarks on Piozzi's marriages, social life, and literary style, finding that she had "all the interest belonging of right to a woman altogether of her time. "]

Too much contemporary literature tampered with the history of Mrs. Thrale. She was the victim of end-of-the-century styles. It was not only her Fanny Burney that made her the subject of a first manner, a second manner, and a third manner. She was the object of Dr. Johnson, in letters that were to be preserved; but she was also his topic, in talk that would have been better forgotten. It was reported to her...

(The entire section is 2985 words.)

S. C. Roberts (essay date 1925)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to Anecdotes of the late Samuel Johnson, LL.D., during the last twenty years of his Life, by Hesther Lynch Piozzi, edited by S. C. Roberts, Cambridge at the University Press, 1925, pp. xxxvii-1.

[In the excerpt below, Roberts provides an overview of Piozzi's writings.]

At an early age, Hester Salusbury had an itch for writing:

It was then, too, when I was about thirteen, fourteen, and fifteen years old, that I took a fancy to write in the "St James's Chronicle," unknown to my parents and my tutor too: it was my sport to see them reading, studying, blaming or praising their own little whimsical girl's...

(The entire section is 3314 words.)

James L. Clifford (essay date 1945)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Mrs. Piozzi's Letters," in Essays on the Eighteenth Century: Presented to David Nichol Smith in Honour of His Seventieth Birthday, Oxford at the Clarendon Press, 1945, pp. 155-67.

[In the following essay, Clifford discusses the content and style of Piozzi's letters, concluding that "few can read her letters without gaining an intimate knowledge of the woman herself."]

Ί have for this week past been employing my Mind in the recollection of all the civil Things that ever were said in Praise of my Merit as a Letter writer.' So wrote Hester Lynch Salusbury, a young lady of 22, in 1763. Nearly two hundred years later we are still interested in this same lady and...

(The entire section is 5447 words.)

Herbert Barrows (essay date 1967)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey Through France, Italy, and Germany, by Hester Lynch Piozzi, edited by Herbert Barrows, University of Michigan Press, 1967, pp. vii-xxx.

[In the following essay, Barrows remarks on the relevancy of Observations and Reflections Made in the Course of a Journey through France, Italy, and Germany to modern readers, noting Piozzi's style and the wealth of information she provided.]

Mrs. Miller has been in Italy too, & has written her Travels; and brought home a fine Vase which once belonged I think She says either to Cicero or Virgil I forget which. . . ....

(The entire section is 9421 words.)

Arthur Snerbo (essay date 1974)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: An introduction to Memoirs of the Life and Writings of the Late Dr. Samuel Johnson, by William Shaw, and Anecdotes of the Late Samueljohnson, LL.D. During the Last Twenty Years of His Life, by Hesther Lynch Piozzi, edited by Arthur Sherbo, Oxford University Press, 1974, pp. x-xiv.

[In the following excerpt, Sherbo discusses Piozzi's biography of Johnson and the circumstances of its publication.]

As early as 1768 when Johnson advised her to 'get a little Book' in which to write all the anecdotes and observations that might strike her fancy, Mrs. Piozzi (then Mrs. Thrale) began to devote herself to recording her friend's conversation and whatever she could...

(The entire section is 1812 words.)

Patricia Meyer Spacks (essay date 1975)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Finger Posts," in The Female Imagination, Alfred A. Knopf, 1975, pp. 197-207.

[In the following excerpt, Spacks focuses on Piozzi's Thraliana and concludes that the work's literary merit "is its vivid revelation of a woman's psychology. "]

The eleven hundred pages of text in Hester Thrale's Thraliana have attracted the attention mostly of those interested in people other than the author. Rich in varied anecdotes about Dr. Johnson, Goldsmith, Fanny Burney and her father, they provide a capsule social history of middle-class life in the second half of the eighteenth century. They also compose an intricate self-portrait, probably more...

(The entire section is 4587 words.)

Edward A. Bloom, Lillian D. Bloom, and Joan E. Klingel (essay date 1978)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "Portrait of a Georgian Lady: The Letters of Hester Lynch (Thrale) Piozzi, 1784-1821," in Bulletin of the John Rylands University Library, Vol. 60, No. 2, Spring, 1978, pp. 304-30.

[In the following excerpt, the critics present a portrait of Piozzi's character based on her letters and diaries.]

Often too quick to take offence, Mrs. Piozzi never suffered from an excess of humility. Even in admitting mistaken judgements, she rarely denigrated herself. At the same time that she wrote her letters, she appraised their worth as literary and historical documents, as testimonials of an unrewarded virtue, that cried out—she assumed—for preservation and publication....

(The entire section is 9560 words.)

Martine Watson Brownley (essay date 1984)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "'Under the Dominion of Some Woman': The Friendship of Samuel Johnson and Hester Thrale," in Mothering the Mind: Twelve Studies of Writers and Their Silent Partners, edited by Ruth Perry and Martine Watson Brownley, Holmes and Meier, 1984, pp. 64-79.

[In the essay below, Brownley examines the relationship between Piozzi and Samuel Johnson.]

In English literary history, the later eighteenth century is known as the Age of Johnson, after Samuel Johnson (1709-1784), the most famous literary figure of the time. In addition to his monumental Dictionary of the English Language, Johnson was known for his poems, his periodical essays, the short fictional...

(The entire section is 6553 words.)

William McCarthy (essay date 1985)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "A Candle-Light Picture: Anecdotes of Johnson," in Hester Thrale Piozzi: Portrait of a Literary Woman, University of North Carolina Press, 1985, pp. 97-132.

[In the following excerpt, McCarthy discusses Piozzi's Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D. and compares the book with James Boswell's Life of Samuel Johnson.]

A transition from an author's books to his conversation, is too often like an entrance into a large city, after a distant prospect. Remotely, we see nothing but spires of temples, and turrets of palaces, and imagine it the residence of splendor, grandeur, and magnificence; but, when we have passed the gates, we...

(The entire section is 10948 words.)

William McCarthy (essay date 1988)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: "The Repression of Hester Lynch Piozzi; or, How We Forgot a Revolution in Authorship," in Modern Language Studies, Vol. XVIII, No. 1, Winter, 1988, pp. 99-111.

[In the following essay, McCarthy discusses Piozzi's stature among literary scholars and remarks on the revival of interest in her works as fueled by feminist criticism.]

Let me introduce my subject with a bit of dialogue, a very short dialogue in which I was fairly often engaged seven or eight years ago:

A Colleague (to me): Who are you writing about?
I: Hester Lynch Piozzi.

(Blank look.)

I (trying to be...

(The entire section is 6049 words.)