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Graveyard Poets

Thomas Parnell

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Thomas Parnell

September 1679 - 24 October 1718

Birthplace: Dublin, Ireland

Occupation: Poet, Clergyman, Humorist, Literary Historian, Preacher

Parnell is often considered the father of the Graveyard Poets and many believe his poem, Night-Piece on Death, influenced Thomas Gray's, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Some believe Night-Piece on Death was written while Parnell was in grief over the lose of his much-loved wife, Ann Minchin in 1711.

Jonathan Swift introduced Parnell to the literary scene in London. He was a member of the Scriblerus Club, a group of elite Tory-inclined wits including Swift, Pope, Gay, John Arbuthnot (the Queen's physician) and Harley, which met in 1713 and 1714 to exchange satirical ideas about contemporary issues.

Parnell, known for his polish, wit, and politeness, was apparently touched by depression. As Samuel Johnson put it, Parnell was "too much a lover of the bottle." At his death, in 1718, he had published only nine poems. The greater part of the poetry by which he was known was published by Pope in a select edition of Poems on Several Occasions (dated 1722, but actually published 7 December 1721).

Further information on Parnell can be found at the following links:

Biography (Literary Encyclopedia) http://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=5005

Samuel Johnson's Life of Parnell http://www2.hn.psu.edu/Faculty/KKemmerer/poets/parnell/default.html

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature http://209.10.134.179/219/0615.html

Notable Names Database http://www.nndb.com/people/599/000096311

Old Poetry http://oldpoetry.com/authors/Thomas%20Parnell

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SOURCE:

Voller, Jack G. "Thomas Parnell." The Literary Gothic. 9 Dec. 2004
<http://www.litgothic.com/Authors/parnell.html>.