Eleanora: A poem in four cantos
- Anon

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Another remarkably early photographically illustrated poetry book, the anonymous Eleanora includes three unattributed albumen prints of Netley Abbey, a ruined Cistercian monastery in Hampshire, southern England. The Abbey is one of the most complete surviving ruins of its kind, with virtually all the walls of its thirteenth-century church still standing, and was a great inspiration to poets and painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. John Constable painted the church in 1833, and poems on the ruins include George Keate’s The Ruins of Netley Abbey (1764) and William Sotheby’s Ode, Netley Abbey, Midmight (1790). The St. Andrews Eleanora is the only copy recorded as illustrated with photographs, which act as bookends to the poem and, therefore, link the act of reading the poem to that of walking around ruins.

The poem, itself unillustrated, consists of four cantos. An introductory poem prefaces the first, and the remaining three are prefaced by a brief ode, to tears, war, and peace respectively. The four cantos are a narrative poem set during 1327-1377, the reign of Edward III (1312-1377), and the Hundred Years War between England and France, focussing particularly on Eleanora, the daughter of an English baron, and her courtship by a knight called Raymond.

Book Details

Author: Anon
Title: Eleanora: A poem in four cantos
Publication Year: 1860
Subjects: English poetry, Chivalry
Photographic process: Albumen prints

This book can be found in the University of St Andrews Library catalogue HERE

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