Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Chatterton, Thomas. (1752 - 1770).

L i f e

- poverty and lack of literary success led him to suicide at the age of 17

- did not have to suffer his dire poverty x but: too proud to accept help

=> the Romantic image of the suffering of unacknowledged genius

W o r k

<  voraciously read Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, Thomas Percy’s Reliques, James Macpherson’s Ossian, etc.

- fascinated with the Middle Ages, lived in his own ideal medieval world

- forged the so-called ‘Rowley Poems’: mock-medieval poems by the imaginary 15th century priest Thomas Rowley

“Elinoure and Juga”:

- his only ‘Rowley’ poem published during his lifetime, an ‘eclogue’

- claimed it to be a transcription of Rowley’s work

- includes obvious borrowings, deliberate use of archaic words picked out of dictionaries, and anachronistic use of Elizabethan verse forms

“An Excelente Balade of Charitie”

- another of the “Rowley” poems, rejected for publication

Poems supposed to have been written at Bristol by Thomas Rowley and others, in the Fifteenth Century (1777, posthumously):

- a posthumous collection of the ‘Rowley’ poems

- edited by a Chaucerian scholar believing them genuine medieval works

- the authenticity challenged shortly thereafter > proved to be fakes


"I thought of Chatterton, the marvellous Boy, / The sleepless Soul that perished in his pride; / Of Him who walked in glory and in joy / Following his plough, along the mountain-side."

From William Wordsworth's "Resolution and Independence" (1807).


(Picture: Wikimedia Commons).

  • Author

    Thomas Chatterton. (1752 - 1770). British.
  • Work

    Poet. Author of the "Rowley Poems".
  • Genre

    Pre-Romanticism. Historicity.


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.


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