Weekly Assignment #6

October 3, 2006 at 11:50 am (Weekly Assignments)

The assignment this week is to ask a one-sentence question, not about Coventry Patmore (who will have to remain unquestioned until class), but about Victorian poetry and/or Victorian love poetry in general. This question should be difficult, although it can still partake of the factual — it should be a question, in short, that you must essay to answer (get it? important etymology, there). Please submit this question as a comment to this post by midnight on Monday.

Here are some sample questions based on what you have been posting and saying that could be answered with an essay:

  • Do the theories of Lacan help us to understand Victorian poetry?
  • Did the Victorian working classes read poetry?
  • How metrically experimental was Victorian poetry?
  • Did major Victorian poets understand and use the ‘language of flowers’?
  • How much did Victorian poetry subscribe to the idea of social progress, social development?
  • Was Victorian love poetry erotic, sentimental, intellectualized, repressed, or all or none of these?
  • Where in Victorian poetry can we see the effect of the events and ideologies of the British Empire?

And, for once, you will answer your own question: not with an answer (not yet), but with a bibliography. This bibliography should include, but not be limited to, some of the poems we have read or will read in class. The bibliography can be as long or as short as you like, and can include primary or secondary sources — whatever seems as though it will help you answer your question. The only other criterion is that you must actually be able to read those sources, and you must plan to actually read them (if you haven’t already).

Victorian essays on poetics in our textbook are already in your possession; books and journals owned by our library are easy enough to obtain; and some works are fully available to everyone online through Google Book and Google Scholar. Some other sources that would help you might take a little time to obtain: interlibrary loan through Tripsaver usually takes less than a week, for instance, or you might decide that you really need to take a day and drive up to Duke University, where your NCSU ID will grant you the right to look at eighty-seven Tennyson letters in manuscript. Though, of course, most questions could easily rely on the published Letters of Alfred Lord Tennyson right here in our own library.

Please submit your bibliography as a comment to this post by midnight on Wednesday.

Note that this bibliography will serve as a preliminary bibliography for your in-class essay on October 10, and that essay will attempt to answer the question you ask this week. It’s fine if your bibliography changes before October 10, but I will ask you to bring a printed bibliography and the works themselves, or your notes on them, to class on that day. If you want to write your in-class essay using a laptop, that will be fine, and if you want to get started on it before October 10, that will be fine, too. That essay (which can be as long or short as you like) will be due, typed up and printed or e-mailed to me as an attachment, by midnight on Tuesday October 10. Your midterm essay may (or may not) serve as the germ of the long 15- to 20- page essay due by the end of the semester. But more on that next week.

One final point: I am imagining both the midterm and the final essay as making a really very broad, general argument about “Victorian poetry” or “Victorian love poetry” that draws on several of the poets we’ve read this semester for supporting evidence and also makes important distinctions between these poets within that larger argument, but I could be convinced on a case-by-case basis to countenance the writing of an essay that is much more narrowly focused, one that asks and answers a question about a single author or a single poem that we’ve read.

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28 Comments

  1. Holly Ellern said,

    In what ways does Victorian poetry respond to British Romanticism; how does its acceptance, rejection, or alteration of the tenets of Romanticism reflect Victorian assumptions about the social nature and function of poetry and of the role of the Victorian poet?

  2. Daniela Newland said,

    How does Victorian poetry reflect Victorian class structure?

  3. Chris Nelson said,

    In what ways did Victorian Poetry romanticize the reality of Imperial Britian?

  4. Meredith Willis said,

    How do female Victorian poets respond to or ignore “The Woman Question”?

  5. Aaron M. Bobick said,

    The two major critical prefaces – Wordsworth and Arnold – each criticize their contempories, the state of modern poetry, and what is and should be “art.” The Victorians – post ’53 – would have known these works. Does any poetry post ’53 reflect the arguments made by Arnold or Wordsworth? If so, which poet and which arguments from each critic? And, if it’s an argument taken from W.W., does Arnold have a counter-argument?

  6. Eric Gerson said,

    Do Victorian poems propogate theological love over emotional, earthly love?

  7. Eric Gerson said,

    Do Victorian poems propogate theological love over emotional, earthly love?

  8. Laura Robinson said,

    How does the romanticisim of death in the poetry of Tennyson, Arnold, and Barrett Browning speak to Victorian culture and their concepts of grief and memorialization?

  9. Jake Burnett said,

    Why is so much of Victorian love poetry characterized by thanatopsis?

  10. Matt Simmons said,

    How does (or just does) Victorian theology dictate the representations of “love”–especially romantic and sexual–in its poetry?

  11. Lindsay S. said,

    Assuming a latent, repressed sexuality is extant in much Victorian love poetry, do the female poets of the era betray this repression in ways similar to the male poets, or do they differ?

  12. Lindsay S. said,

    Assuming a latent, repressed sexuality is extant in much Victorian love poetry, do women poets of the era betray this repression in ways similar to the male poets?

  13. Kelly said,

    Was the printing history of Coventry Patmore’s The Angel in the House typical of the printing history of Victorian poetry

  14. Josh Gane said,

    How did Victorian Poets percieve and write about death? Is it characteristic of the society of that time?

  15. Susanna Branyon said,

    In what ways do Victorian love poems juxtapose “timelessness” (through imagery, theme, and allusions) with the Victorian notion of social reform?

  16. Amanda French said,

    I see we’re slipping out of one-sentence mode. Omit unnecessary words, y’all!
    Many of these are very good questions, though I’m worrying a bit that I’m asking you to pose questions that are too broad. That won’t matter, of course, as long as you’re very very specific in your answers; mainly, I do want to see essays that discuss and compare and adduce several poems. I had mentioned to Kelly, who’s interested in printing history (WorldCat’s a valuable resource for that!) that she might frame her question as “Is X typical of Victorian poetry,” and some of you might want to follow that model too if you’re uneasy about the broadness of the questions. It’s a model that allows both focus and breadth, I think, since first you have to establish what’s “typical” before whether you can judge whether something particular fits that model.
    Another way to make your question very specific is to concretize some of the large abstract terms you’re introducing (and that I introduced, to be fair); several of you are very curious about “death,” for instance, but I think it might be better to write an essay on “crape” or “coffins,” to take examples from what Laura posted about Victorian mourning customs. (As representing Victorian attitudes toward death.) That whole elm tree discussion was interesting: Are references to elms in these poems usually implicit references to the wood most commonly used to make coffins? That’s a question that would quickly tank, of course, if the answer is “no.”
    Similarly, instead of writing about “Empire,” you might write about specific historical incidents and the traces those leave on Victorian poetry. I read an article recently arguing that Arnold might have gotten the image of “ignorant armies clash[ing] by night” from newspaper accounts of a particular battle in the Sikh War– you could compare that at the very least to the end of “Maud” and Tennyson’s “Charge of the Light Brigade,” and there might be something in Fitzgerald. Even just the notion of “battle” is usefully more specific than “Empire,” I’d say.

  17. Eric Gerson said,

    Works Cited
    Primary Sources:
    Browning, Robert. “Porphyria’s Lover.” The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 312-13.
    Browning, Robert. “Rabbi ben Ezra.” The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 410-14.
    Fitzgerald, Edward. “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.” The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 147-55.
    Tennyson, Alfred Lord. “Miriana.” The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 156-57.
    Secondary Sources:
    Baum, Paull Franklin, Jerome H. Buckley, William C. DeVane, Frederic E. Faverty, Clyde K. Hyder, Howard Mumford Jones, John Pick, Lionel Stevenson, and A. McKinley Terhune. The Victorian Poets: A Guide to Research. Ed. Frederic R. Faverty. Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 1956.
    Campbell, Matthew. Rhythm and Will in Victorian Poetry. New York: Cambridge Univ. Press, 1999.
    Charlton, H.B. Browning as a Poet of Religion. Manchester: The Manchester Univ. Press, 1943.
    Johnson, Wendell Stacy. Sex and Marriage in Victorian Poetry. New York: Cornell Univ. Press, 1975.
    Lawson, E. LeRoy. Very Sure of God: Religious Langauge of Robert Browning. Nashville: Vanderbilt Univ. Press, 1974.

  18. Lindsay S. said,

    I need a new question. I thought this was supposed to pertain only to our term paper and not for our in-class (or out-of-class?) essay due October 10 (!!). Since we’ve only read one Victorian woman poet, and since her sexuality is far more latent than even I want to explore, I doubt I’ll be able to deal with this question in five days’ time.
    So. It’s Wednesday, nearly noon, and I have neither question nor bibliography.
    I also have no concept of when I’m going to have the time to research this project, as I’m going on the fourth straight hell-week, and I’ve not blocked time for this type of project.
    Any suggestions would be helpful.
    Revised question: What is the nature of sexuality in the poems of Arnold, Tennyson, and Browning?

  19. Susanna Branyon said,

    Alas, I too need to tweak my topic.
    Revised question:
    In what ways does Tennyson’s “Lady of Shalott” explore the seemingly contrary ideas of timelessness and social reform?
    Bibliography forthcoming…

  20. Susanna Branyon said,

    Draft Bibliography
    **As a side note, some of these seem a bit random, but they all feed into the ideas I’m hoping to explore.
    Bennett, Paula. “”The Descent of the Angel”: Interrogating Domestic Ideology in American Woman’s Poetry, 1858 – 1890.” American Literary History 7.4(Winter 1995): 143- 147.
    Bullen, J.B. . The Sun is God: Painint, Literature, and Mythology in the 19th Century. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.
    Gilbert, Elliot L.. “The Female King: Tennyson’s Arthurian Apocalypse.” PMLA 98(1983): 863-878.
    Kissane, James. “Tennyson: The Passion of the Past and the Curse of Time.” ELH 32.1(1965): 85-109.
    Kruger, Kathryn Sullivan. Weaving the Word: The Metaphysics of Weaving and Female Textual Production. Selinsgrove: Susquehanna University Press, 2001.
    Stransky, Peter. The Victorian Revolution: Government and Society in Victoria’s Britain. New York: New Viewpoint Press, 1973.
    Weiner, Deborah E.B.. Architecture and Social Reform in Late-Victorian London. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1994.

  21. Jake Burnett said,

    Bibliography
    Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. _Sonnets_From_the_Portuguese_.
    Freud, Sigmund. _The_Ego_and_the_Id_. Trans. James Strachey, New York: W.W. Norton, 1960.
    Rossetti, Christina. “When I am Dead my Dearest.”
    Siddall, Elizabeth. _Poems_and_Drawings_of_Elizabeth_Siddall. Roger C. Lewis and Mark Samuels Lasner ed., Wolfsville: The Wombat Press, 1978.
    Tennyson, Alfred Lord. “In Memoriam A.H.H.”
    – “Maud”
    Wilde, Oscar. “Ballad of Reading Gaol.”

  22. Chris Nelson said,

    I, too, need to tweak my question, but here’s the draft bibliography anyway.
    Primary Sources (Subject to change):
    Kipling, Rudyard. ?White Man?s Burden, The.? The Broadview Anthology of
    Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory ? Concise Edition. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. pp. 518.
    Tennyson, Alfred. ?Charge of the Light Brigade, The.? The Broadview Anthology of
    Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory ? Concise Edition. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. pp 197-198.
    Tennyson, Alfred. ?Maud: A Monodrama.? The Broadview Anthology of
    Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory ? Concise Edition. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. pp198-222.
    Secondary Sources (Very Subject to change):
    Alderson, David. Mansex Fine: Religion, manliness, and imperialism in nineteenth-century British culture. Manchester: The Manchester University Press, 1998.
    Bivona, Daniel. British Imperial Literature, 1870-1940. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
    Brantlinger, Patrick. Rule of Darkness: British Literature and Imperialism, 1830-1914. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988.
    Cultures of Empire: A Reader. Ed. Catherine Hall. New York: Routledge, 2000.
    Hodgkins, Christopher. Reforming Empire. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2002.
    Kitzan, Laurence. Victorian Writers and the Image of Empire: The Rose-Colored Vision. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2001.
    Springhall, J.O. ?Lord Meath, Youth, and Empire.? Journal of Contemporary History. Vol. 5. No. 4.(1970). Pp 97-111.
    Walker, Martin. ?America?s Virtual Empire.? World Policy Journal. Vol. 19. Issue 2. (2002). Pp 13-21.

  23. Lindsay S. said,

    Obviously, I need to do some reading to hone my topic down to something manageable, but here’s what I’ve got thus far:
    Arnold, Matthew. ?The Buried Life.? The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 723-24.
    Cox, Don Richard. Sexuality and Victorian Literature. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1984.
    Davis, Lloyd. Virginal Sexuality and Textuality in Victorian Literature. Albany: SUNY Press, 1993.
    Harrison, Anthony H., and Beverly Taylor. Gender and Discourse in Victorian Literature and Art. Dekalb: Northern Illinois UP, 1992.
    Kolb, Jack. “Hallam, Tennyson, Homosexuality and the Critics.” Philological Quarterly 79.3 (2000): 365-397.
    Parker, Chrisopher. Gender Roles and Sexuality in Victorian Literature. Brookfield: Ashgate Publishing Company, 1995.
    Patmore, Coventry. ?The Angel in the House.? The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 739-60.
    Rossetti, Christina. ?The Goblin Market.? The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 848-55.
    Scott, Rebecca. Tennyson. London, New York: Longman, 1996.
    Shaw, Marion. “Tennyson’s Dark Continent.” Victorian Poetry 32.2 (1994): 157-170.
    Tennyson, Alfred Lord. ?In Memoriam.? The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 205-253.
    —, ?The Lady of Shalott.? The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Toronto: Broadview Press, Ltd., 2005. 162-65.

  24. Kelly said,

    I’m having a hard time finding sources directly relating to Patmore and The Angel in the House. This is what I’ve found thus far.
    Champneys, Basil. Memoirs and correspondence of Coventry Patmore. London: Bell, 1900.
    Literature in the marketplace : nineteenth-century British publishing and reading practices. Ed. Jordan, John O. and Patten, Robert L. New York : Cambridge University Press, 1995.
    Encounters in the Victorian press : editors, authors, readers. Ed.Laurel Brake and Julie F. Codell. New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
    Dooley, Allan C. Author and printer in Victorian England. Charlottesville : University Press of Virginia, 1992.

  25. Josh Gane said,

    Day, Aidan Scott, P.G . “Tennyson’s Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington: Addenda to Shannon and Ricks”. St in Bibliography. 1982 (35) 320-323
    Jacobs, Erica Dahl . “Tennyson’s Way of Death: A Personal and Poetic Journey”. Dissertation Abstracts International. 1982 (42) 5129A Columbia U.
    Kennedy, Ian Hodge Caldwell . “Five Essays on Tennyson’s Poetry”. Dissertation Abstracts International. 1978 (39) 898-899A U of Virginia (1977).
    Ricks, Christopher . “A Note on Tennyson’s ‘Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington'”. Studies in Bibliography. 1965 (18) 282.
    Shannon, Edgar F . “The History of a Poem: Tennyson’s ‘Ode on the Death of the Duke of Wellington'”. Studies in Bibliography. 1960 149-177.
    Spatt, Hartley, S . “Tennyson’s Poetry: The Figuration of Death”. Nineteenth-Century Studies. 1991 (5) 47-63.
    Ward, Arthur Douglas . “Death and Eroticism in the Poetry of Keats and Tennyson”. Dissertation Abstracts International. 1976 (37) 344A-345A. U of California, Berkeley. (1975).

  26. Laura Robinson said,

    Current Progress – Planning to refine my topic, but here are a few sources thus far.
    Primary:
    Barrett Browning, Elizabeth. Sonnets from the Portuguese. Ed. William S. Peterson and Julia Markus. New York: Ecco, 1996.
    Tennyson, Alfred. ?In Memoriam A.H.H.? The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Ontario: Broadview Press, 1999. 204-253.
    Arnold, Matthew. ?Thyrsis.? The Broadview Anthology of Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory. Ed. Thomas J. Collins and Vivienne J. Rundle. Ontario: Broadview Press, 1999. 733-737.
    Secondary:
    Strange, Julie – Marie. “‘She Cried a Very Little’: death, grief, and mourning in working-class culture, c. 1880-1914.” Social History 27.2(2002): 143-161.
    Carroll, Bret E.. “A Higher Power to Feel: Spiritualism, Grief, and Victorian Manhood.” Men and Masculinities 3.1(2000): 3-29.
    Garton, Stephen. “The Scales of Suffering: love, death, and Victorian Masculinity.” Social History 27.1(2002): 40-58.
    Riede, David G.. Allegories of One’s Own Mind: Melancholy in Victorian Poetry . Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 2005.

  27. Holly Ellern said,

    PRIMARY SOURCES
    Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. _Sonnets from the Portuguese_. William S. Peterson and
    Julia Markus, eds. New York: HarperCollins, 1996.
    Collins, Thomas J., and Rundle, Vivienne J., eds. _The Broadview Anthology of
    Victorian Poetry and Poetic Theory_. Toronto: Broadview Press, 1999.
    Arnold, Matthew. ?The Buried Life.? Collins and Rundle 723-724.
    —. ?Dover Beach.? Collins and Rundle 722-723.
    —. ?Philomela.? Collins and Rundle 732.
    —. ?The Scholar Gypsy.? Collins and Rundle 727-732.
    —. ?Thyrsis.? Collins and Rundle 733-737.
    FitzGerald, Edward. ?Rubiyat of Omar Khayym.? Collins and Rundle 147-155.
    Tennyson, Alfred Lord. _Idylls of the King_. J.M. Gray, Ed. London: Penguin Group, 1983.
    —. ?The Lady of Shalott.? Collins and Rundle 162-165.
    —. ?Mariana.? Collins and Rundle 156.
    —. ?Maud.? Collins and Rundle 254-277.
    —. ?Tithonus.? Collins and Rundle 277-279.
    Mellor, Anne K., and Matlak, Richard E. _British Literature 1780-1830_. Boston:
    Heinle & Heinle, 1996.
    Blake, William. _The Book of Thel_. Mellor and Matlak 284-286.
    —. _Songs of Innocence_. Mellor and Matlak 277-284.
    —. _Songs of Experience_. Mellor and Matlak 299-304.
    —. _Visions of the Daughters of Albion_. Mellor and Matlak 294-299.
    Byron, George Gordon, Lord. _Childe Harold?s Pilgrimage_. Mellor and Matlak 887-
    894.
    Coleridge, Samuel Taylor. ?The Rime of the Ancyent Marinere.? Mellor and Matlak
    698-707.
    —. ?Kubla Khan: or, A Vision in a Dream.? Mellor and Matlak 729-730.
    Keats, John. ?Ode on a Grecian Urn.? Mellor and Matlak 1297-1298.
    —. ?Ode to a Nightingale.? Mellor and Matlak 1296-1297.
    Shelley, Percy Bysshe. ?Mont Blanc: Lines Written in the Vale of Chamouni.? Mellor
    and Matlak 1063-1064.
    Wordsworth, William. _Lyrical Ballads_. 2nd ed. Mellor and Matlak 573-592.
    SECONDARY SOURCES
    Beer, John. _Romantic Influences: Contemporary?Victorian?Modern_. New York:
    St. Martin?s Press, 1993.
    Harrison, Antony. _Victorian Poets and Romantic Poems: Intertextuality and Ideology_.
    Charlottesville: U Press of Virginia, 1990.
    Peckham, Morse, ed. _Romanticism: The Culture of the Nineteenth Century_. New
    York: George Braziller, Inc., 1965.

  28. Aaron M. Bobick said,

    Sorry this is late. I’ll get a doctor’s note if you need it. 🙂
    Arnold, Matthew. “Preface to Poems, 1853.” “Victorian Poetry and Poetics.” Walter E. Houghton and G. Robert Stange, eds. Boston: Houton Mifflin Co., 1968.
    — “Dover Beach.” “Victorian Poetry and Poetics.” Walter E. Houghton and G. Robert Stange, eds. Boston: Houton Mifflin Co., 1968.
    Tennyson, Alfred. “In Memoriam A.H.H.” “Victorian Poetry and Poetics.” Walter E. Houghton and G. Robert Stange, eds. Boston: Houton Mifflin Co., 1968.
    Browning, Elizabeth Barrett. “Sonnets from the Portugese.” “Victorian Prose and Poetry.” Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.
    Wordsworth, William. “Preface to Lyrical Ballads.” “Romantic Poetry and Prose.” Harold Bloom and Lionel Trilling, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1973.
    Wilson, John Dover. “Leslie Stephen and Matthew Arnold as critics of Wordsworth.” New York: Haskell House, 1972.
    Jamison, William Alexander. “Arnold and the Romantics.” Copenhagen: Rosenkilde and Bagger, 1958.

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