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Rediscovering William Hayley: A Review Article
Paul Foster, ed., with Diana Barsham, William Hayley (1745–1820) Poet, Biographer, and Libertarian: A Reassessment and William Hayley (1745–1820): Selected Poetry

Joseph Wittreich

Both of these volumes—the first an anthology of provocative essays (hereafter referred to as Essays) and the second a selection of Hayley’s mostly numbing poetry (hereafter referred to as Selected Poetry)—proceed from the understanding that Hayley has been lost to both the history of poetry and the annals of literary history. Individual essays reinforce the point, and from different perspectives reaffirm the overarching claim of both volumes: Hayley, for too long “a missing person,” is now ripe for “reassessment” as “a writer equally at home in the centre or on the margins of the culture of his day” (Barsham and Foster, Essays 5, 7).

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