The Realms of Verse 1830-1870: English Poetry in a Time of Nation-Building

Overview

The poets of the mid-nineteenth century lived in a time of nation-building. The Realms of Verse brings this political and intellectual context to life. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Matthew Reynolds shows that the Italian Risorgimento raised questions about community and individual liberty which were especially problematic for subjects of the multi-national United Kingdom, and argues that these questions are at the heart of the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Browning, Tennyson, and Clough. Their long poems ...
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Overview

The poets of the mid-nineteenth century lived in a time of nation-building. The Realms of Verse brings this political and intellectual context to life. Drawing on a wide range of sources, Matthew Reynolds shows that the Italian Risorgimento raised questions about community and individual liberty which were especially problematic for subjects of the multi-national United Kingdom, and argues that these questions are at the heart of the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Browning, Tennyson, and Clough. Their long poems characteristically tell stories about marriage, investigating the symbolic and actual interactions between that personal union and national unity. Their verse as a whole exploits correspondences between political government and poetic form, and is alert to its own role in fostering a common culture. Historically detailed, theoretically astute, critically nimble, and stylishly written, The Realms of Verse is the most far-reaching reassessment of Victorian poetry to have been published in recent years.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Reynolds is an exceptionally incisive and lucid critic, keenly attentive to formal dynamics...but also deft in summarizing the distinctive political engagements of each poet.... This is an extremely important study, one of the best I know on the large ambitions of Victorian poetry."—James Eli Adams, Studies in English Literature 1500-1900

"That's Realms of Verse, not Reams, don't worry—though among the many virtues of this broad-minded, sure-handed book is the extent of ground it commands. Matthew Reynolds provides substantial new readings of the major long poems of mid-nineteenth-century Britain, in welcome technical detail and in persuasive political context.... Reynolds sets a high standard for the new century's work in our area of literary studies. May he find able emulators soon."—Victorian Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199282029
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/12/2005
  • Pages: 312
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

St Anne's College, Oxford
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Table of Contents

1 Poetry and its times 3
2 Poets and nations 19
3 Three types of unity 44
4 From elegy to prophecy 75
5 The scope of narrative : Aurora Leigh 104
6 Repulsive clough 128
7 Browning's alien pages 157
8 Ever-broadening England 203
9 The empire of the imagination 218
10 The married state : Idylls of the king 246
Coda : after the realms of verse 274
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