William Cowper

Joseph Musser (Ohio Wesleyan University)
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Engraving by William Holl the Younger after an unidentified artist, 1853. Courtesy The Walter Scott Digital Archive, Edinburgh University Library. William Cowper (1731-1800) is notable as both a poet and a letter-writer. His poetry was among the most popular in England from the late eighteenth century to the mid-nineteenth century. The OED cites about 6,000 quotations from Cowper, over twice as many as from Wordsworth. And Gilbert Thomas suggests that among poets Cowper trails only Shakespeare as a source of common phrases and proverbs. But his reputation has declined. Though some of his Evangelical hymns still appear in Protestant hymnals (“O For a Closer Walk With God”; “There is a Fountain Filled With Blood”), and a few lyrics like “The Cast-Away” are regularly…

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Citation: Musser, Joseph. "William Cowper". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 04 October 2004 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=1049, accessed 27 February 2024.]

1049 William Cowper 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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