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graveyard school

graveyard school, 18th-century school of English poets who wrote primarily about human mortality. Often set in a graveyard, their poems mused on the vicissitudes of life, the solitude of death and the grave, and the anguish of bereavement. Their air of pensive gloom presaged the melancholy of the romantic movement. The most famous graveyard poems were Robert Blair's The Grave (1743), Edward Young's nine-volume The Complaint, or Night Thoughts on Life, Death, and Immortality (1742–45), and Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (1750).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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