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Victorian Poets: A Critical Reader

ISBN: 978-0-631-19914-4
442 pages
March 2014, Wiley-Blackwell
Victorian Poets: A Critical Reader (0631199144) cover image


Victorian Poets: A Critical Reader features a collection of critical essays focusing on various aspects of Victorian-era poetry from the 1830s to the 1890s.

  • Presents key criticism on Victorian poetry
  • Features contributions from a variety of scholars in the field
  • Illustrates the full range of critical approaches to the Victorian poets, including attention to texts, words, forms, modes, and sub-genres
  • Offers fresh reinterpretations, many driven by contemporary ideological interests, including gender questions, selfhood, and body issues
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Table of Contents

Contributors vii

Introduction 1

1 The Echo and the Mirror en abîme in Victorian Poetry 15
Gerhard Joseph

2 The Mirror’s Secret: Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s Double Work of Art 27
J Hillis Miller

3 Browning’s Anxious Gaze 46
Ann Wordsworth

4 The Pragmatics of Silence, and the Figuration of the Reader in Browning’s Dramatic Monologues 56
Jennifer A Wagner-Lawlor

5 Dramatic Monologue and the Overhearing of Lyric 75
Herbert F Tucker

6 Matthew Arnold’s Gipsies: Intertextuality and the New Historicism 95
Antony Harrison

7 A New Radical Aesthetic: The Grotesque as Cultural Critique: Morris 118
Isobel Armstrong

8 Alienated Majesty: Gerard M Hopkins 143
Geoffrey Hill

9 Fact and Tact: Arnoldian Fact-finding and Q Tactlessness in the Reading of Gerard Hopkins 160
Valentine Cunningham

10 ‘A Thousand Times I’d be a Factory Girl’: Dialect, Domesticity, and Working-Class Women’s Poetry in Victorian Britain 174
Susan Zlotnick

11 ‘The fruitful feud of hers and his’: Sameness, Difference, and Gender in Victorian Poetry 199
Dorothy Mermin

12 ‘Eat me, drink me, love me’: The Consumable Female Body in Christina Rossetti’s Goblin Market 221
Mary Wilson Carpenter

13 Browning’s Corpses 243
Carol T Christ

14 A E Housman and ‘the colour of his hair’ 255
Christopher Ricks

15 Tennyson’s ‘Little Hamlet’ 268
David G Riede

16 The Disappointment of Christina G Rossetti 286
Eric Griffiths

17 Stirring ‘a Dust of Figures’: Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Love 316
Angela Leighton

18 ‘Love, let us be true to one another’: Matthew Arnold, Arthur Hugh Clough and ‘our Aqueous Ages’ 333
Joseph Bristow

19 ‘Poets and lovers evermore’: The Poetry and Journals of Michael Field 358
Chris White

20 Swinburne at Work: The First Page of ‘Anactoria’ 380
Timothy A J Burnett

21 Naming and Not Naming: Tennyson and Mallarmé 390
Mary Ann Caws and Gerhard Joseph

Index 411

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Author Information

Valentine Cunningham is Professor of English Language and Literature, Oxford University, and Senior Research Fellow in English, Corpus Christi College, Oxford. His publications include Reading After Theory (2002), Victorian Poetry Now: Poets, Poems, Poetics (2011) and King Lear:  the Connell Guide (2012).


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"A judiciously made and vigorously introduced gathering of the most telling voices in modern Victorian poetry criticism. Valentine Cunningham's selection, wide and diverse, will be an excellent first stop for the savvy student of the period."
Seamus Perry, University of Oxford


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