Abstract for 2008 Honors Colloquium

Sarah Klotz


"On the Wings of Language: Authorial Construction, Gender Performance, and Images of Flight in the Poetry of Frances Sargent Osgood"

My thesis discusses the work of nineteenth-century poet Frances Sargent Osgood. During her lifetime, Osgood was one of America's most popular poets, but has since fallen into obscurity, occasionally entering criticism as the love interest of Edgar Allen Poe. I explore the ways in which Osgood constructed her public persona to combat strictures on women's actions in the public sphere so that she could fully enjoy a career in poetry. Combining archival research, literary criticism, and close readings, I make an argument for Osgood's continuing relevance in studies of literature and American literary history.