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topographical poetry

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Described by Dr Johnson as ‘local poetry, of which the fundamental object is some particular landscape…with the addition of…historical retrospection or incidental meditation’. Cooper's Hill (1642) by Denham is an early example of a genre that flourished principally in the 18th cent.: see Dyer, Garth, Jago, Thomson, J., for example. Many topographical poems are also ‘prospect poems’, i.e. written from a high point, surveying a large view, and many were written in praise of particular parks, estates, and gardens, evidently in the hope of patronage. The genre had a renewed vogue in the late 20th cent., when the emphasis has been less on the country estate, more on the vanishing rural scene.

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