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Romantic and Victorian Poetry

Swaab, P; (2021) Romantic and Victorian Poetry. In: Ellis, J and Cleghorn, A, (eds.) Elizabeth Bishop in Context. (pp. 149-162). Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, UK. Green open access

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The essay argues that Bishop sees poems as a series of possibilities to be revisited gratefully, shrewdly, critically, neither agonistically as precursors to battle or displace, nor polemically in the spirit of a literary politics championing a school or movement. It canvasses her relation to a range of nineteenth-century poets, focusing first from the Romantic period on Blake, to whose visionary poetics she adds a skeptical element, and Wordsworth. The essay finds Wordsworthian elements in her use of the word “something,” her intuition that crucial moments combine negativity and revelation, and her central insistence on the provisionality of vision. It then suggests that Bishop was prompted creatively by two Victorian genres: first, the dramatic monologue, with speakers liberated from accuracy and articulate in their egotism; second, nonsense poetry, with its minor-key version of transcendent magic and its frequent link of the “awful but cheerful.” The other abiding Victorian influence was Hopkins, along with Wordsworth and Baudelaire an exemplar dynamically observing his own process of observation.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Romantic and Victorian Poetry
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/9781108856492.015
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108856492.015
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Romantic, Victorian, nonsense poetry, influence, dramatic monologue, Blake, Hopkins, Wordsworth, Edward Lear, Baudelaire
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10092580
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