A 19th-Century It Girl

May 24, 2019

As a prolific English poet of her time, Letitia Landon was something of an It Girl during the 1820s and 1830s. For the Poetry Foundation, Rachel Vorona Cote takes a look at Landon’s many identities and how she went on to become a cautionary tale about talented women.

“Landon was invested in the fissures and slippages that prevent easy conflation of writerly and personal identities,” writes Cote. “Once, an incredulous male party guest asked her, ‘You never think of such a thing as love, you who have written so [much] poetry upon it?’ She replied, ‘Oh! That is all professional, you know!’ As Miller notes, designating oneself as ‘professional at love’ is all the more provocative with its allusion to sex work. As with her poetry, Landon invited people to interpret her words as they wished.”

Image credit: British Library

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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