Victorian Women Poets
Chapman, Alison, Victorian Poetry
There is a rich field in this first review essay of Victorian women poets for Victorian Poetry. Since the impressive anthologies of Victorian women's poetry published late in the last century by Angela Leighton and Margaret Reynolds, Isobel Armstrong and Joseph Bristow, and Virginia Blain, when a vast array of poems were recovered to critical view, there has been a period of sifting and sorting, as the teaching and research canon adjusted to the new wealth of information about women's poetry in the period. This sense of women's poetry as a classification still in process is ongoing in recent critical work. Christina Rossetti and Elizabeth Barrett Browning--treated elsewhere in the Year's Work--perhaps attract the most attention, but research on other Victorian women poets continues to uncover new material, represented by scholarly editions, and also continues to assess the importance of women's poetry, as suggested by monographs exploring less canonical women poets in more depth. In addition, many critics are analyzing women poets alongside their male counterparts and placing women's poetry more securely within wider debates and contexts of the Victorian studies. Rather than being merely a subgroup of Victorian poetry, women poets are beginning to be welcomed and assimilated into the larger field.
One of the major publications of last year was Marion Thain and Ana Parejo Vadillo's Broadview edition of Michael Field, The Poet: Published and Manuscript Materials. The poetry of the Michael Field has attracted much deserved attention in the last few years, exemplified by Margaret Stetz and Cheryl Wilson's edited collection of essays Michael Field and Their World (2007), as well as Thain's own "Michael Field": Poetry, Aestheticism and the Fin de Siecle (2007). But research on, as well as classroom teaching of, the poets have been hampered by the lack of an accessible edition of the poetry until now. Thain and Vadillo have admirably plugged this gap, offering a rich selection of the poems from their published volumes--published only "to show the writers as public literary figures and to allow assessment of them within those terms" (p. 48). Selections are included from every edition published by the poets under the name Michael Field, as well …
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Publication information: Article title: Victorian Women Poets. Contributors: Chapman, Alison - Author. Journal title: Victorian Poetry. Volume: 48. Issue: 3 Publication date: Fall 2010. Page number: 432+. © 2008 West Virginia University Press, University of West Virginia. COPYRIGHT 2010 Gale Group.
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