We will sample some of the wide range of poetry written during this period: poetry remarkable for its linguistic virtuosity (G. M. Hopkins); narrative complexity (Elizabeth Barrett Browning); feminist agenda (Amy Levy); psychological intensity (William Morris); unconventional eroticism (Algernon Swinburne); philosophic depth (Alfred Tennyson); intricate humor (Robert Browning); and broad social appeal (Janet Hamilton, Eliza Cook). We will discuss poetry of celebration, consolation, amusement, and reflection writing during the high-Victorian period and the fin de siecle by women and by men, by members of several classes, and by defenders of different social and religious faiths.
In our class sessions, we will also consider issues of poetic language, rhetoric and genre, and the social context and audience of all these works. I will offer information about the period, the individual authors’ lives and the Victorian literary marketplace, and we will view many examples of Victorian visual art. Class will focus on discussion, so attendance is essential (and will affect final grades), and I will ask students to submit internet responses and twelve pages of written work.