My real name is Peter J. Bolton. Esme Shepherd is one of my favourite inventions, although no one would actually want to be her: the future of the human race hung round her two attempts at suicide!
I first discovered Letitia Landon (L. E. L.) some years ago and became enthralled by the depth and intensity of her poetry. Reading of her, I soon discovered that the accepted view is completely devoid of any scholarship whatsoever, being either copied, Chinese whisper style, or composed by writers having no, or at best minimal, knowledge of her writings. Unfortunately misogyny has been hard at work here for almost two centuries and putting that right is going to be a difficult task. One fact that has been conveniently glossed over is that Landon was a woman of very powerful intellect and imagination, who was able to cover a very broad range of subjects and ideas.
Two other factors place her as one of England’s greatest poets: firstly her originality that burst on the literary scene right from the start, giving us a new post-Romantic ethos that must have influenced Tennyson. Secondly, a style of her own that is unmistakeable.
My first intention is to make as much of her work available as possible here. As she wrote well over a thousand poems that has taken some time: amongst them it is easy to find examples of minor worth, but there are so many that deserve recognition, from the stupendous picture gallery of The Bayadere to the almost magical Thessalian Fountain. The novels still remain to be done and it would be nice to include as many reviews as are known to be hers (most are anonymous) but all that is going to take some time. Also there are missing texts from The Court Journal.
Although I’m getting on in years, I am now attempting to do the same for Felicia Hemans, another of our neglected great poets. I am also tempted by Joanna Baillie but who knows how long I’m going to live!? And there are others as well, so I hope that eventually others will join me in these tasks.