His works were first published by his friend Robert Dodsley (3 vols., 1764-1769). The second volume contains Dodsley's description of the Leasowes. The last, consisting of correspondence with Graves, Jago and others, appeared after Dodsley's death. Other letters of Shenstone's are included in Select Letters (ed. Thomas Hill 1778). The letters of Lady Luxborough (née Henrietta St John) to Shenstone were printed by T. Dodsley in 1775; much additional correspondence is preserved in the British Museumletters to Lady Luxborough (Add. MS. 28958), Dodsley's letters to Shenstone (Add. MS. 28959), and correspondence between Shenstone and Bishop Percy from 1757 to 1763 the last being of especial interest; To Shenstone was due the original suggestion of Percy's Reliques, a service which would alone entitle him to a place among the precursors of the romantic movement in English literature.
- Richard Graves, Recollections of some particulars in the Life of the Late William Shenstone (1788);
- H. Sydney Grazebrook, The Family of Shenstone the Poet (1890); Lennox Morison,
- " Shenstone," in the Gentleman't Magazine (vol. 289, 1900, pp. 196–205);
- Alexander Chalmers, English Poets (1810, vol. xiii.), with " Life " by Samuel Johnson;
- "The Poetical Works of William Shenstone" (in Library Edition of the British Poets, 1854), with " Life " by George Gilfillan;
- T. D'Israeli, " The Domestic Life of a Poet: Shenstone vindicated," in Curiosities of Literature;
- " Burns and Shenstone," in Furth in Field (1894), by " Hugh Haliburton " (J. L. Robertson).
In a letter written in 1741 Shenstone became the first person to record the use of "floccinaucinihilipilification". In the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary this was recognized as the longest word in the English language.
Schopenhauer mentions Shenstone in his discussion of equivocation. “oncepts,” Schopenhauer asserted, “which in and by themselves contain nothing improper, yet the actual case brought under them leads to an improper conception “ are called equivocations. He continued:
But a perfect specimen of a sustained and magnificent equivocation is Shenstone’s incomparable epitaph on a justice of the peace, which in its high-sounding lapidary style appears to speak of noble and sublime things, whereas under each of their concepts something quite different is to be subsumed, which appears only in the last word of all as the unexpected key to the whole, and the reader discovers with loud laughter that he has read merely a very obscene equivocation.
— The World as Will and Representation, Volume 2, Chapter 7
This poem about the passing of wind, entitled Inscription, can be read at Inscription.
This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
Read more about this topic: William Shenstone
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