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Our Members regularly publish new articles on nineteenth-century British poetry! Watch this page to stay up-to-date about new work emerging in the field.


Current Articles

Victorian Poetry

  • Olivia Loksing Moy. "Simian Amphibian, and Able: Reevaluating Browning's Caliban."

  • Oliver Wort. "Staging 'Fa Lippo Lippi.'"

  • Annmarie Drury. "Aural Community and William Barnes as Earwitness."

  • Sneyd, Rose. "Matthew Arnold and Giacomo Leopardi: Modernist Lyric Poetics and Stoic Pessimism in 'Dover Beach'"

  • Lee Behlman. "The Case of Light Verse, or Vers de Société."

Victorian Studies


  • Caolan Madden. "Looking Outward at the Audience in Aurora Leigh.

  • Ashley Miller. "Ripeness and Waste: Christina Rossetti's Botanical Women."

  • Heather Bozant Witcher. "'Art of the Future': Julia Margaret Cameron's Poetry, Photography, and Pre-Raphaelitism."

  • Meredith Martin. "Response: Women's Poetry, Women's Vision, Women's Power."



  • Jessica Straley. "The Aesthetics of Children's Poetry: A Study of Children's Verse in English by Katherine Wakely-Mulroney, Louise Joy; Between Generations: Collaborative Authorship in the Golden Age of Children's Literature by Victoria Ford Smith."

  • Peal Chaozon Bauer. "Willful Submission: Sado-Erotics and Heavenly Marriage in Victorian Religious Poetry by Amanda Paxton."

  • Jason R. Rudy. "Brown Romantics: Poetry and Nationalism in the Global Nineteenth Century by Manu Samriti Chander; Romantic Literature and the Colonised World: Lessons from Indigenous Translations by Nikki Hessell; Colonial Literature and the Native Author: Indigeneity and Empire by Jane Stafford."

Journal of Victorian Culture

Online first articles

  • Rachel Dickinson. "Ruskin and a Generation Worth Remembering." 28 June 2019

  • Gregory Tate. "Arthur Hugh Clough’s Pedigree." 28 June 2019.

  • Simon Rennie. "Ernest Charles Jones (1819–69) – A Life of Adjacency." 28 June 2019.

  • Claire O’Callaghan. "Uncovering Emily Brontë’s Musicality." 31 March 2019.

Miscellaneous Articles

Articles of interest to Victorianists in journals of different disciplines

  • O'Malley, Timothy. "The Ritual Poetics of Christina Rossetti." Worship, vol. 92, 2018, pp. 511-530. 

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Member Publications

Rowlinson, Matthew. "Onomatopoeia, Interiority, and Incorporation."

Studies in Romanticism 57.3 (Fall 2018)

The conception of animal sounds as meaningless and automatic is often held to come from Cartesian philosophy, while animal speech in contrast is viewed as a poetic invention. This paper argues that the entire debate unfolds on ground defined by poetry. With reference to works by Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, Clare, and Tennyson, the paper discusses the Romantic era revival of animal onomatopoeia, and its ongoing effect in Victorian children’s literature and natural history. The 1830’s see the first use of nonce-syllables to represent bird song as an aid to identification, a device that remains commonplace in field guides to this day, and the first poems that aim to teach children to identify animals by what they say. These developments form a context for Lewis Carroll’s Alice books, where the contrast between animal that speak and animals that behave like automata is a major theme. Carroll’s reflections on this contrast, and his serious jokes about it, establish the agenda for the whole essay.

Witcher, Heather Bozant. “Art of the Future”: Julia Margaret Cameron's Poetry, Photography, and Pre-Raphaelitism

Victorian Studies 61.2 (Winter 2019)

The National Portrait Gallery's Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography (2018) was the first exhibition to examine photography as “the art of the future” (Cullinan 6). Defying earlier conventions of still, dull portraiture, mid-century Victorian photographers turned the medium into an art form. While recent scholarship draws parallels between photography and painting, this essay gestures toward connections between art photography and Pre-Raphaelite poetry by examining the photographic process of Julia Margaret Cameron alongside her poem “On a Portrait” (1876). Positioning Cameron within a larger Pre-Raphaelite tradition, this essay argues that discourses surrounding nineteenth-century photography can help us to understand the characteristics of literary Pre-Raphaelitism and to broaden scholarly conceptions of Pre-Raphaelitism beyond the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.

Howard, Elizabeth. "Gorged with Proof": Rebellion and Internal Disorder in Hopkins's "A Soliloquy of One of the Spies Left in the Wilderness"

Religion and the Arts 20.5 (Fall 2018)

This essay examines the narrated recollections of the spy in Gerard Manley Hopkins’s unfinished poem “A soliloquy of one of the spies left in the wilderness” (1863). Particular attention is paid to the spy’s account of the Israelites’ wilderness wanderings and slavery in Egypt in order to examine Hopkins’s depiction of a will in rebellion against God. After considering the poem’s relationship to Hopkins’s undergraduate years in light of his imminent conversion to Catholicism, the essay investigates the ways in which the soliloquy’s confused chronologies and emendations call attention to the spy’s spiritual disorders. By reading the spy’s internal disorder as a corollary to the social disintegration in Eden that Hopkins identified in Adam and Eve’s rebellion, the essay argues that the soliloquy attributes the speaker’s inner disorientation to his rebellious will set against God. Although the soliloquy appropriates descriptions of the lush Canaanite landscape to describe Egyptian slavery as comfortable, even luxurious, the vestiges of violence repeatedly interrupt the soliloquy’s relentless insistence on Egypt’s “pleasance.” As the soliloquy’s rhetorical maneuvers repeatedly fail to justify the spy’s rebellion, Hopkins explores and displays the impact of spiritual rebellion on the human psyche.

Howard, Elizabeth. "To Admire and Do Otherwise": Hopkins's Modified Translations of Shakespeare's Casket Song

Victorian Poetry 56.2 (Summer 2018)

A criticism is provided of the 19th century English poet Gerard Manley Hopkins’ translation into Greek and Latin languages of the poem "Casket song" within the play "The Merchant in Venice," by William Shakespeare. An overview of the English author Charles Knight's pictorial volumes of Shakespeare's works is provided.

Barrow, Barbara. "Deep Time and Epic Time in Alfred Tennyson’s In Memoriam (1850), Matthew Arnold’s Empedocles on Etna (1852), and Mathilde Blind’s The Ascent of Man (1889)."

Nineteenth-Century Contexts (2018)

between the two fields. This essay extends this area of scholarship, arguing that poets such as Matthew Arnold, Alfred Tennyson, and Mathilde Blind experiment with epic time in order to challenge geology's displacement of the epic past. While the Victorian geologist and man of letters Charles Lyell incorporates epic poetry into his Principles of Geology (1830-33) in order to show how deep time made the past of epic poetry seem foreshortened and obsolete, Tennyson's "In Memoriam" (1850) and Mathilde Blind's "The Ascent of Man" (1889) respond by claiming the epic as a domain that could resist scientific inquiry. In so doing, they show how epic form and epic temporality can be used to explore controversial questions of cosmological origins in ways that empirical science writing could not.

Huseby, Amy Kahrmann. "'Half Poets' and 'Whole Democrats': The Politics of Poetic Aggregation in Aurora Leigh"

Victorian Poetry 56.1 (Spring 2018)

This article argues that Aurora Leigh seeks to redress the divisive work of women’s democratic political representation by way of poetic form to ask whether women must always be regarded as partial citizens. Through the trope of halfness, Barrett Browning establishes a connection between women’s ability to produce writing and produce children, as well as the violent division of women’s bodies, in order to formulate a corrective political relationship between women’s halfness and generativity. Though the fragmentary nature of Aurora Leigh is evident in its very form, Huseby's exploration of the diverse formal and thematic divisions Barrett Browning's verse novel demonstrates the possibility of a different kind of relationship between the fragmentary work of poetic form and the divisive work of the political in the nineteenth century. As the poem’s meter and language performs the halving, splitting, and parting out of women’s bodies, Barrett Browning demonstrates that a cohesion of the poetic and the political is enabled by aggregation, a form of poetic counting closely aligned with both social representation and mathematical collection. Barrett Browning’s attention to halfness reflects a commitment to the value of poetic counting. Fundamentally, and more than other quantifying discourses, poetry captures “the world’s necessities” in their variety and sheer number in ways that do not reduce or flatten their value (or assimilate these necessities into the prerogatives of the economic).

Miller, Ashley. "Christina Rossetti’s Radical Objectivity"

Victorian Literature and Culture 46.1 (March 2018)

This essay reexamines the terms of agency and objectivity that underwrite our critical debates about gender and exchange in Rossetti’s poetry. Critics have long considered the relationship between humans and material things in “Goblin Market” in terms of commodity culture and economic exchange. Much of this scholarship is motivated by a central concern: debating whether the activity of female consumption can occur without women themselves being objects of consumption. Becoming the thing that is consumed, in most readings of the poem, necessarily indicates a loss of agency. This essay proposes an alternate reading: in “Goblin Market,” perception functions as a kind of economy itself — a system of interaction and exchange — and in this economy of perception, the object one perceives may have power over the one who perceives it. From this vantage point, “Goblin Market” is less a poem about retaining subjectivity than it is one about acquiring objectivity. In “Goblin Market” and elsewhere, Rossetti constructs a world in which subjective perception is threatening and in which things can hold positions of surprising power. 

Witcher, Heather Bozant. "'a royal lady [re]born': Balladry, Transport, and Transgression in Michael Field’s The Tragic Mary"

Victorian Poetry 55.4 (Winter 2017)

It is no coincidence that during the same period in which Michael Field believed their work symbolized resurrection and renewal, the cultural moment of the 1890s encouraged artists to gain interest in blurring genre lines. This article suggests that the rise of a “decadent poetic drama,” to borrow Ana Parejo Vadillo’s categorization of Michael Field’s historical dramas, comes in part not, as the couple’s contemporaries and immediate antecedents argue, from a lack of form, but from formal experimentation. If Aristotle believed drama to be an imitation of action, and mimesis to be a showing (or representation) versus a narrative retelling of that action, Michael Field refashions the formal history of drama by playing with voice, rhythm, and structure. Further, I speculate that the couple experiments with ballad meter in The Tragic Mary to incorporate a social mimesis founded on female community and contagious transference, or transport. In this play, Mary Stuart’s three ballads enact an affective communal experience that enables expressions of female desire. The ballad meter, I suggest, enacts the role of  affective transport with its contagious meter and rhythm.

Adamson, Christopher. "The Compromised Chronotope of Christminster: Hardy and Hopkins’s Medieval Oxford."

postmedieval 9.1 (March 2018)

Centered on the unique chronotope of Oxford, this essay traces the ways Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Hardy invoke and compromise our ability to relate past to present. In the sonnet, ‘Duns Scotus’s Oxford,’ and the novel, Jude the Obscure, Hopkins and Hardy respectively present the city of Oxford as a central confluence of medieval and early modern pasts with a Victorian present. To further link past and present, the poet and novelist both enter into the medieval conceit of the wind, wherein a lover gains intimacy with the beloved through mutually shared breath, but they do so for cross-purposes. Whereas a connection to the past is preserved in Hopkins’s sonnet by a theological understanding of the ether, any such connection is a dangerous illusion in Hardy’s novel. Yet, even with this divergence Hardy, like Hopkins, still leads the reader into a shared sacramental intimacy suggested through medieval influences on the novel.

Alfano, Veronica. "Technologies of Forgetting: Phonographs, Lyric Voice, and Rossetti's 'Woodspurge.'"

Victorian Poetry 55.2 (Summer 2017)

This article argues that Victorian lyric poetry -- which often features conspicuously anonymous and dislocated voices, emphasizing the disconnection of a putative utterance from a quasi-anthropomorphized poetic speaker -- prefigures and provides a fresh perspective on sound recording technology.  A poem’s iterative formal patterns, like the cylinders of the phonograph that Thomas Edison initially saw as a means of capturing not music but speech, constitute a mechanism for the mental preservation of language; they allow readers to evoke, appropriate, and recontextualize the “voice” of verse.  Yet in repeating a mnemonic lyric as in replaying a phonographic recording, what one often internalizes is a nebulous and eerily evacuated voice from which individuating details have been stripped away.  So in dehumanizing speech, even while nostalgically invoking embodied utterance by appealing to readers’ and hearers’ memories of it, poems emerge as phonographic precursors.  The article uses phonography to offer a new reading of Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s strange poem “The Woodspurge" as a commentary on the emptiness of the lyric voice, exploring the ways in which recording technology recapitulates and elucidates this distinctive emptiness.  And having employed memory as an interpretive framework for issues surrounding voice, the article concludes by asking what the connection between lyricism and phonography reveals about Victorian remembering and forgetting.

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