William Cowper: Memoir

(1384 words)

In 1765, shortly after leaving Dr Cotton’s private ‘madhouse’ in St Albans, William Cowper began living with the Rev. and Mrs Unwin in Huntingdon and it is there that he wrote his Memoir, which, it would seem, was intended primarily for her. “I am not at liberty”, he says in its closing pages, “to describe the pleasure I had in conversing with her, because she will be one of the first who will have the perusal of this narrative” (Memoir 137).

It was not until 1816, however, that it was first published and given the full title Memoir of the Early Life of William Cowper, Esq., written by himself. Despite the very frank revelations it contained, any direct reference to his mental disorder was …

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Curry, Neil. "Memoir". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 06 December 2010
[http://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=3665, accessed 27 September 2016.]