From Gothic to Romantic: Thomas Chatterton’s Bristol


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Even 235 years after his supposed death by suicide, Bristol’s boy-poet Thomas Chatterton remains a fascinating and controversial figure. This challenging collection of eight essays questions long-held assumptions about Chatterton’s life and offers new insights into the young poet’s influence on English art and literature. Snapshots from the book: Jonathan Barry argues that it was Chatterton’s impetuosity and limited social circle – and not the supposed philistinism of eighteenth-century Bristol that prompted his premature flight to London. Timothy Mowl argues that, rather than a proto-Romantic, Chatterton was more a Rococo poet living among the eclectic furore of a brash Rococo city. Michael Liversidge assesses how the Chatterton myth encouraged and influenced artistic depictions of St Mary Redcliffe church by artists such as Girtin, Turner and Varley. Nick Groom shows that, successful and relatively secure financially in London, Chatterton had no reason to commit suicide and that the young poet’s death could be attributed to an accidental drugs overdose.

ISBN 1 904537 20 0
144pp with black & white illustrations