Jane Taylor (poet)
September 23, 1783|
|Died||April 13, 1824(aged 40)|
The poem is now known worldwide, but its authorship is generally forgotten. It was first published under the title "The Star" in Rhymes for the Nursery, a collection of poems by Taylor and her older sister Ann (later Mrs. Gilbert). The sisters, and their authorship of various works, have often been confused, in part because their early works were published together.
Ann Taylor's son, Josiah Gilbert, wrote in her biography, "two little poems–'My Mother,' and 'Twinkle, twinkle, little Star,' are perhaps, more frequently quoted than any; the first, a lyric of life, was by Ann, the second, of nature, by Jane; and they illustrate this difference between the sisters."
Born in London, Jane Taylor lived with her family at Shilling Grange in Shilling Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, where she wrote "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star"; her house can still be seen. Later (1796-1810) she lived in Colchester – it is still argued that the rhyme was written in Colchester – and Ongar, both in Essex. The Taylor sisters were part of an extensive literary family. Their father, Isaac Taylor of Ongar, was an engraver and later a dissenting minister. Their mother, Ann Taylor (née Martin) (1757–1830), wrote seven works of moral and religious advice, two of them fictionalized.
The poem, Original Poems for Infant Minds by several young persons (i.e. Ann and Jane Taylor and others) was first issued in two volumes in 1804 and 1805. Rhymes for the Nursery followed in 1806, and Hymns for Infant Minds in 1808. In Original Poems for Infant Minds (1805) primarily written by Ann and Jane Taylor and Adelaide O'Keeffe, the authors were identified for each poem. In Rhymes for the Nursery (1806) poems were not identified by author. The most famous work out of these was "The Star" more commonly known today as "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star", which was put to the tune of a French tune.
Christina Duff Stewart identifies authorship of Rhymes for the Nursery, based on a copy belonging to Canon Isaac Taylor, which was annotated to indicate the respective authorship of Ann and Jane Taylor. Canon Isaac was Taylor's nephew, a son of her brother Isaac Taylor of Stanford Rivers. Stewart also confirms attributions of Original Poems based on the publisher's records.
Taylor's novel Display (1814), reminiscent of Maria Edgeworth or perhaps even Jane Austen, went through at least nine editions up to 1820. Her Essays in Rhyme appeared in 1816, and contained some significant poetry. In the fictional Correspondence between a Mother and Her Daughter at School (1817) Taylor collaborated with her mother. The Family Mansion. A Tale appeared in 1819, and Practical Hints to Young Females previous to 1822. Throughout her life, Taylor wrote many essays, plays, stories, poems, and letters which were never published.
After her death, her brother Isaac collected many of her works and included a biography of her in The Writings of Jane Taylor, In Five Volumes (1832).
Popular culture references
- Taylor's most famous work, "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star," is almost always uncredited; "its opening stanza persists as if it were folklore, the name of its creator almost entirely forgotten." Alternate versions, pastiches, and parodies have abounded for centuries. See main article.
- "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" was parodied in a poem recited by the Hatter in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865).
|Library resources about
Jane Taylor (poet)
|By Jane Taylor (poet)|
|Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Jane Taylor (poet)|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about Jane Taylor.|
- "The Autobiography and Other Memorials of Mrs Gilbert, Formerly Ann Taylor". Retrieved 2007-04-17.
- Dutch Quarter
- ODNB entry for Taylor, Ann (1757–1830), by Robin Taylor Gilbert Retrieved 27 May 2013. Pay-walled.
- Stewart, Christina Duff (1975). The Taylors of Ongar: An Analytical Bio-Bibliography. New York & London: Garland Publishing.
- Women Writers IV. R–Z. Catalogue of Jarndyce, Antiquarian Booksellers, London, Summer 2012.
- Paula R. Feldman, ed: British women poets of the Romantic era: an anthology (Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1997), p. 712. ISBN 080185430X
- Feldman, Paula R. (1997). British Women Poets of the Romantic Era: An Anthology, Baltimore & London: Johns Hopkins University Press.
- Stewart, Christina Duff. (1975). The Taylors of Ongar: An Analytical Bio-Bibliography, New York & London: Garland Publishing.
- Taylor, Ann. Isaac Taylor, Jr., editor. (1832). Memoirs, Correspondence and Poetical Remains of Jane Taylor, Volume I of The Writings of Jane Taylor, In Five Volumes, Boston: Perkins & Marvin.
- Taylor, Ann. Josiah Gilbert, editor. (1874). The Autobiography and Other Memorials of Mrs Gilbert, Formerly Ann Taylor, London: Henry S. King & Co.
- "Taylor, Jane". Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co. 1885–1900.