Alexander Smith

William Fulford

General Description

Date: 1856
Genre: Prose essay


◦ “Alexander Smith”. The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.

Scholarly Commentary

Guest Editor: PC Fleming


In this essay, William Fulford discusses Alexander Smith (1829-1867), a contemporary poet associated with the Spasmodics. Fulford focuses primarily on Life-Drama and, like other contemporary reviewers, saw great potential in Smith’s work. Though he criticizes Smith for not being sufficiently widely read, and for his narrow range of meter and metaphor, the review is overall a favorable one. Fulford concludes: “Weighing its merits against its defects, seeing that the former are the excellencies of great genius, the latter faults such as experience and care may amend, my hopes of the future greatness of its author are very high.” (558).

Notable in this essay are Fulford’s comments about Smith’s youth. Much of Fulford’s criticism stems from his feelings of Smith’s immaturity, and he argues that Smith “must find appreciation principally with the young” (548). Fulford was two years younger than Smith, and would have been approximately the same age when writing this review as Smith was when he wrote Life-Drama.

Printing History

First printed in The Oxford and Cambridge Magazine , September, 1856.

Electronic Archive Edition: 1
Source File: Fulford017.raw.xml