A Companion to Victorian Poetry (Blackwell Companions to by Ciaran Cronin

By Ciaran Cronin

This spouse brings jointly specifically commissioned essays by means of wonderful overseas students that mirror either the variety of Victorian poetry and the diversity of severe ways that light up it.Approaches Victorian poetry in terms of style, creation and cultural context, instead of via person poets or poems Demonstrates how a selected poet or poem emerges from a couple of overlapping cultural contexts. Explores the relationships among paintings via various poets recollects cognizance to a substantial physique of poetry that has fallen into forget Essays are knowledgeable by means of fresh advancements in textual and cultural conception Considers Victorian girls poets in each bankruptcy

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In ‘The Hero as Poet’, Carlyle defines the ideal poet’s sensibility not as ‘a twisted, poor, convex–concave mirror, reflecting all objects with its own convexities and concavities’ but ‘a perfectly level mirror’. He urges the poet, first of all, to see: ‘The word that will describe the thing follows of itself from such clear intense sight of the thing’ (1896–1901: V, 104). In ‘The Function of Criticism at the Present Time’, Arnold repeatedly describes the ideal in all branches of knowledge, including poetry, ‘to see the object as in itself it really is’ (1960–77: III, 258).

The Victorian debate about the proper role and value of aesthetic experience takes on even greater complexity in relationship to gender. The emphasis, in one strand of Victorian aesthetics, on sensibility as the most important element of the poetical character led to an identification of poetry as feminine. Tennyson, for example, most frequently represents the imagination as female, as in ‘The Lady of Shalott’ or ‘The Palace of Art’. By the 1860s the effeminization of literature had become a topic of critical debate.

Tennyson receives particularly harsh criticism; the muse of Mr Tennyson, Austin asserts, is ‘a feminine muse’. As Austin’s criticism suggests, the increasing presence of women poets and novelists in the literary marketplace in part motivates the debate about the gender of literary sensibility. Wordsworth’s predecessor as poet laureate, Robert Southey, instructed the young Charlotte Brontë that literature ‘cannot be the business of a woman’s life, and it ought not to be’. Hundreds of women proved him wrong.

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