Cast in the shadow of the soldier-poets of the First World War, Victorian war poets have often been disparaged as «armchair patriots» glorifying military action in an unthinking fashion. Challenging this long-standing assumption, The Crimean War in Victorian Poetry considers the evolution of the figure of the homefront poet and explores the daunting task of representing war from a civilian perspective.
By virtue of the medium of modern reportage, the Crimean War (1854-1856) witnessed the inauguration of the civilian spectatorship of distant suffering, provoking a heated debate over the concept of the war poet and the function of war poetry during moments of national crisis. Confronted with news of soldiers’ hardships and of the distress caused by the government’s mismanagement of war, the so-called armchair poet sought ways of addressing the problem of pain and adversity from a distance and of engaging with the politics of war by composing lines of verse at home.
This is the first book-length study to examine the predicaments and achievements of mid-Victorian war poets. It provides historically nuanced readings of how a diverse group of British poets – ranging from the Poet Laureate Alfred, Lord Tennyson to the highly acclaimed female poet Louisa Stuart Costello – fought a literary war as they reworked the established traditions of war poetry and experimented with poetic forms in response to news of distant combat.
Writing and Culture in the Long Nineteenth Century
Edited by J.B. Bullen and Charlotte Ribeyrol
The long nineteenth century, extending from the Napoleonic Wars to the First World War, was a time of enormous change and experimentation. This series aims to publish the work of scholars and critics alert to these changes in a variety of spheres, including literature, art, the sciences, philosophy, and economics. The editors have a special interest in work that addresses questions of aesthetics, poetics, and form at the intersection between the written word, the visual and decorative arts, architecture, and music. Many scholars are now working on the cultural matrix out of which these forms emerge and recent critical thinking has shown how important was the prevailing economic, political, scientific, and philosophical climate in creating the appropriate conditions for artistic production. Some volumes in the series focus on specific writers and texts, while others consider the connection between writing, art, philosophy, and science and the broader cultural horizon. All contribute significantly to the widening sphere of nineteenth-century literary studies.
Proposals are welcome for monographs or edited collections. Those interested in contributing to the series should send a detailed project outline either to one of the series editors or to email@example.com.
Simon Gatrell: Thomas Hardy Writing Dress2011. isbn 978-3-0343-0739-0.
Anthony Patterson: Mrs Grundy’s Enemies: Censorship, Realist Fiction and the Politics of Sexual Representation2013. isbn 978-3-0343-0887-8.
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