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Cat Jeoffry by Christopher Smart


Cat Jeoffry by Christopher Smart

Cat Jeoffry is a self-contained passage from Christopher Smart's eccentric 18th century masterpiece Jubilate Agno (Rejoice in the Lamb) and the most famous piece of poetry ever written about a cat. Poignantly, Jeoffry was Smart's companion during his lengthy confinement for mental illness. His close and affectionate observations of the cat's antics both entertained him and inspired his moving religious celebration. Often anthologised, this passage brims over with the prankish playfulness and sudden ferocity of one of the literary world's most famous cats. Quirky, realistic, affectionate, it is at the same time a remarkable spiritual meditation. This new edition contains a commentary and notes by Tom Woodman. Peter Hay's characteristic black and white illustrations rampage through the book.

About the Author

Christopher Smart was born on April 11, 1722 in Shipbourne, Kent, He was educated at Maidstone Grammar School and then, after the death of his father, in Durham, where his mother moved to help deal with debts. He studied at Pembroke College, Cambridge, where he distinguished himself in classics and philosophy and became a Fellow in 1743. On graduating he became a writer, contributing a wide variety of work to John Newbery's magazines. In 1752 Smart married Anna Maria Carnan, the daughter by a former husband of Newbery's wife Mary, and this meant forfeiting his Cambridge Fellowship, since dons had to remain unmarried. He published prolifically in these years, but the strain became too much for him and he had a 'fit', which in the terminology of the time probably means a severe bout of fever. He made a recovery, which he attributed to God's healing, and this in turn led to a powerful religious conversion. He became unstable, however, and in 1757 he was admitted to St Luke's Hospital for Lunatics in Shoreditch. Later he was transferred to another asylum, where he remained until 1763.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st October 2011


Christopher Smart

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Two Rivers Press


48 pages


Poetry by individual poets



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