"This ado in Earthing up a Carcase": Robert Blair’s The Grave (1743) as Eighteenth-Century Churchyard Georgic

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Abstract

Robert Blair's The Grave (1743) is typically read as a "graveyard poem," in which depictions of death and decay are intended to compel readers before directing their thoughts to the afterlife. This article, by contrast, reads The Grave as a churchyard variation on the contemporary georgic mode to show how the poet's labor to instruct readers on the attainment of heaven grows out of soil, dirt, dust, and ashes—the base elements that compose an earth in flux and that provide, as metaphors for life, work, and death in the poem, a georgic counterweight to the soul's heavenward flight.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155–173
JournalEighteenth-Century Studies
Volume57
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Georgic
  • Virgil
  • graveyard poetry
  • Robert Blair
  • The Grave
  • eighteenth-century poetry
  • labour
  • earth

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