The Tragic Poet: Whose Name was Writ in Water

There are those who consider the words of the sanguine poet scarcely worth the reading. A prescription formula for funerals, heartbreak and teenage angst, poetry has long been established as the literary tonic for the dilapidated human condition. In the name of authenticity, it naturally follows that the greater the suffering of a maudlin bard, the greater their work and legacy. Mythology has romanticised and popularised the tragic poet, a familiar archetype in celebrity literary culture. It is the reason

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“A Shadow of a Magnitude”: Toru Dutt’s Writing and Nineteenth-Century Cross-Cultural Dialogue

This is an ode to one of those poets of the world literary tradition whose work captured and immortalized the everlasting magnanimity of the natural world, in the spirit of the Romantic poets of the nineteenth century, who strived for excellence in the literary arts, whose life was like a temporal spring that came to an end at the time when it was blossoming; like the nightingale’s voice of Keats’ poem, or the ‘golden autumn’ of Chatterton’s. Yet it was

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Panacea, poison and psychopharmacology: the lure of laudanum

In the first half of the nineteenth century, many opiate preparations were marketed towards females. In fact, many were branded using the names of women, for example: ‘Mrs Winslow’s soothing syrup’ and ‘Mrs Bailey’s quieting syrup.’ Hardly surprising then that opium, particularly laudanum, was a popular choice for women for most of the century. The mass production of opiates in this way shows how society gave credence to the idea that opium and laudanum were able to relieve most ailments.

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Sarojini Naidu, Cultural Exchange and Anti-Imperialism

Sarojini Naidu was a nineteenth century poet and political activist. Her upbringing was, in a sense, privileged because she was born into a middle-class family of well-educated Brahmins. Her father was a scientist and her mother a Bengali poet, so she also had strong literary ties. This gave her the space and opportunity to write and develop her English poetry and yet this was not the sum of her ambition. She used her connections, English education and social standing to

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Cotton Famine Poetry as Affective Commentary in Lancashire and Beyond

Apart from short journalistic pieces and the material produced for the database [1] associated with the AHRC-funded project, ‘The Poetry of the Lancashire Cotton Famine 1861-65’, my article which appears in Journal of Victorian Culture 25.1 is the first of probably several publications on the literary-historical-cultural subject to which I have devoted the last few years of my research. The article’s title, “This ’Merikay War’: Poetic Responses in Lancashire to the American Civil War’, with its reference to provincial Lancashire

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Ann Kennedy Smith, ‘Tennyson the European’

Ann Kennedy Smith is a panel tutor at Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education. Her monograph Painted Poetry: Colour in Baudelaire’s Art Criticism was published by Peter Lang in 2011, and since then she has researched and written on Tennyson’s French reception. She is currently researching Cambridge’s university wives 1870-1914, and is a contributor to the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Her Twitter handle is @akennedysmith.   Figure 1 Alfred Tennyson, 1869, portrait by Julia Cameron Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)

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Michael Nott, Developing Photopoetry

Michael Nott received his PhD from the University of St Andrews. He provides commentaries for the Developing Photopoetry project, and is currently working on his first monograph, a critical history of photopoetry. He tweets, occasionally, @michaeljnott   Among the treasures of the Photographically Illustrated Poetry Collection at the University of St Andrews is Eleanora (1860), an anonymous poem about the courtship of the titular heroine by a knight called Raymond during the Hundred Years’ War. The St Andrews copy is

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Andrew Hobbs and Claire Januszewski, The Local Press as Poetry Publisher, 1800-1900

The local press as poetry publisher, 1800-1900 English local newspapers probably published around two million poems during the nineteenth century – more, if we include Scottish, Irish and Welsh papers. Although poetry in periodicals is acknowledged in recent research and scholarly databases, newspaper poetry has received less attention. Studies of working-class poets acknowledge in passing that much of their writing was first published in the local press, before moving on to more prestigious (but less widely read) publication in volume

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Book Review: Victorian poetry when?

Victorian Poetry Now: Poets, Poems, Poetics, by Valentine Cunningham, Chichester: Wiley Blackwell, 2011, xiii + 537 pp., £95 (hardback), ISBN 978-0-631-20826-6 Reviewed byEmma Mason, University of Warwick emma.mason@warwick.ac.uk   From his work on dissenting religious traditions to the significance of intertextual writing and reading practices and the status of critical theory in literary studies, Valentine Cunningham has shaped for himself a scholarly guise at once robustly intellectual and critically jocose.  His critical voice – homiletic and idiosyncratic – resonates with a

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