Seatonian Poems/A Song to David Additional Summary

Christopher Smart


(Critical Survey of Literature for Students)

Ainsworth, Edward G., and Charles E. Noyes. Christopher Smart: A Biographical and Critical Study. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1943. Scholarly study of Smart’s life offers critical analyses of his major works, including illuminating commentary on the Seatonian poems and A Song to David. Especially informative regarding the reaction to Smart’s work by his contemporaries.

Anderson, Frances. Christopher Smart. New York: Twayne, 1974. Provides an introductory overview, sketching Smart’s life and giving some historical background to illuminate his accomplishments. Contains a brief discussion of the Seatonian poems and a chapter on A Song to David, stressing Smart’s conscious imitation of the biblical psalmists in both.

Curry, Neil. Christopher Smart. Horndon, England: Northcote House/British Council, 2005. Presents a reappraisal of Smart’s life and work, arguing that he is the most important English religious poet in the years between the works of George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins. Maintains that Smart is a pivotal figure in eighteenth century English verse, asserting that his early work echoes that of John Milton while his later work anticipates the poetry of William Blake.

Dearnley, Moira. The Poetry of Christopher Smart. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1969. Includes lengthy chapters on the Seatonian poems and A Song to David. Stresses Smart’s intense religious feelings, which inspired all his writings. Provides commentary on the structure of A Song to David.

Hawes, Clement, ed. Christopher Smart and the Enlightenment. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999. Collection of essays reexamines Smart’s legacy and his impact on twentieth century poetry. Includes a discussion of Smart’s poetics, an examination of the treatment of confession in works by Smart and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and analyses of some of Smart’s poems.

Mounsey, Chris. Christopher Smart: Clown of God. Lewisburg, Pa.: Bucknell University Press, 2001. Biography offers new interpretations of Smart’s life and work. Discusses the social, political, historical, and religious significance of his writings.

Smart, Christopher. A Song to David. Edited by J. B. Broadbent. Cambridge, England: Rampant Lions Press, 1960. Critical edition of the poem provides extensive commentary on its structure and analysis of Smart’s technical skill and thematic aims.