Here is the cover of my forthcoming book The Poetry of Mary Robinson: Form and Fame:
The image comes from a set of engravings by Henry Tresham for the English translation of Alessandro Verri’s The Adventures of Sappho (1789). I wanted to represent the divinely inspired poet in the act of composition–thus the lyre and plectrum. Since my book focuses on Robinson’s many pseudonyms, which I call avatars, I thought a visual representation of Sappho, one of her avatars, would suit my approach–especially since Robinson herself was represented so prolifically during her life. Her image, painted famously by Gainsborough, Reynolds, Romney, appears in all of the recent biographies in the service of illustrating Robinson’s celebrity. My book emphasizes Robinson-as-poet.
The book will be published in March 2011. I’m currently reading the copyedited MS.