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The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments This is a thread to talk about and share our favourite victorian poetry. I am a huge fan of Christina Rosetti and I am in the middle of reading a book of poems by the Brontes at the moment but I don't really know of any others. I believe Hardy wrote poetry also?

Please feel free to discuss and share poems and recommendations.


message 2: by Sherien (new)

Sherien Is Emily Dickinson victorian? I love reading her poems...


message 3: by Darcy (new)

Darcy | 215 comments How lovely! I didn't know the Brontes wrote poetry. Are you enjoying it, Boof? Are the poems and novels focused on similar topics or ideas?

I love Robert Browning, especially the "art" poems and the dramatic monologues. This one is my favorite; not many poems begin with "Gr-r-r-r."


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Here are two little poems by Anne and Emily Bronte. I had posted them a couple of weeks ago in the Bronte group, and should have had the foresight to have posted them here as well.

***

Here are some short verses written by Emily at about 16 years of age at the school at Roehead, and by Anne when she was about 21 or 22 and away as a governess. Both of the little poems are about missing their Haworth parsonage home on the moors. Even though these verses are separated in years and by author, I was struck by the similarity of voice, tone, and emotion.

Emily's verses:

"There is a spot, 'mid barren hills,
Where winter howls, and driving rain;
But, if the dreary tempest chills,
There is a light that warms again.

The house is old, the trees are bare,
Moonless above bends twilight's dome,
But what on earth is half so dear--
So longed for--as the hearth of home?

The mute bird sitting on the stone,
The dank moss dripping from the wall,
The thorn trees gaunt, the walks o'ergrown,
I love them--how I love them all!

***

Anne's poem, entitled "Home"

For yonder garden, fair and wide,
With groves of evergreen,
Long winding walks and borders trim,
And velvet lawns between--

Restore to me that little spot,
With gray walls compassed round,
Where knotted grass neglected lies,
And weeds usurp the ground.

Though all around this mansion high
Invites the foot to roam,
And though its halls are fair within--
Oh, give me back my Home!

***


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) I love the poetry of Christina Rossetti (the sister of the Pre-Raphaelite artist Dante Gabriel Rossetti)! In fact, her brother beautifully illustrated her most famous collection of poetry entitled, Goblin Market and Other Poems.

Boof is right about Hardy's poetry too, it is fabulous. I've often wondered if Thos. Hardy didn't consider himself more of a poet than even an author of prose?

Finally, my favorite Victorian poet is probably Alfred Lord Tennyson. He succeeded William Wordsworth as Poet Laureate, a post he held for 40+ years! I love his poem The Lady of Shalott, and his timeless epic, Idylls of the King, a poetic masterpiece of the Arthurian Legend.


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Tiffany (mtiff) Thanks for sharing the poetry! It was beautiful.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments Yes, Hardy wrote poetry, but most of it, I think, he wrote after he quit writing "potboilers."


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments I started a "poetry" section on the bookshelf here - has anyone else added to it?


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments I love those 2 poems you posted Chris - I saw you had posted them on the Bronte group and commented (that gave me the idea for a thread on here). I am reading selected works by all 3 sisters at the moment and they really are so talented. Charlotte wrote poems to Emily and Anne when they died and they brought a tear to my eye. I'll copy them in here soon.

I didn't even think about Lady of Shalott (I always think of Anne of Green Gables when I hear that one).

I will post some of Christina Rosetti's soon too (when I have some time) as I love her stuff.




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Everyman | 2507 comments Boof wrote: "This is a thread to talk about and share our favourite victorian poetry. I am a huge fan of Christina Rosetti and I am in the middle of reading a book of poems by the Brontes at the moment but I don't really know of any others. I believe Hardy wrote poetry also? "

Hardy did indeed write poetry; he actually considered his poetry of much more worth than his novels. The negative response to his last novels, particularly if I recall correctly (it's been awhile) Jude the Obscure, caused him to give up writing novels entirely in favor of writing poetry.

Wordsworth is more often considered a Romantic poet, and indeed his best work was done well before Victoria took the throne, but he did live about thirteen years into her reign and was poet laureate until his death in 1850, and his Prelude, published posthumously in 1850, can certainly be considered Victorian even if it was mostly conceived and largely written before 1837.

The most notable pure Victorian poet was Tennyson, poet laureate after Wordsworth and Victoria's favorite poet. Some other notable Victorian poets you don't mention that I can remember offhand include Elizabeth and Robert Browning, Matthew Arnold, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Leigh Hunt, Edward Lear, Swinburne, and Kipling, and I know I'm missing many I should be remembering. Oscar Wilde, though not normally considered a traditional Victorian, was indeed a pure Victorian, his entire lifespan falling within her reign. Sir William Gilbert, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame, also wrote poetry, though not I admit all that distinguished poetry. Those are the main ones I can dredge up out of an aging memory.




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Everyman | 2507 comments Christopher wrote: "Boof is right about Hardy's poetry too, it is fabulous. I've often wondered if Thos. Hardy didn't consider himself more of a poet than even an author of prose?"

You can stop wondering. Yes indeed, he did.




message 12: by Sherien (new)

Sherien Christopher wrote: "Here are two little poems by Anne and Emily Bronte..."

Beautiful!! thanks for sharing!!


toria (vikz writes) (victoriavikzwrites) Sherien wrote: "Is Emily Dickinson victorian? I love reading her poems..."

One of her books is always on my bedside table. I love her work and find something new each time I pick it up.



The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments For those of you who were looking for the victorian poetry thread, here it is.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments Thanks, Boof!


message 16: by Silver (last edited Sep 16, 2009 09:34PM) (new)

Silver I love Victorian poetry. I most particularly enjoy the works of Tennyson, Browning, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.

I love the touch of the macabre and somewhat sadistic, and twisted, disturbing aspects of much of Browning's work. The tales of murder, and suggestive murder, and the elements that disturb the reader.

I love the feel of the romantics, and the romantic themes, the dreary scenes, and sweeping beauty of Tennyson, and his frequent drawing from old myths and legends.

And I have a long-standing fascination with the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood so I love Dante Gabriel Rossetti and I find his work to be quite elegant and beautiful, as well as sparked with passion.



Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) I just wanted to let everyone know that I finished a superb biography, by Ms. Jan Marsh, entitled, Christina Rossetti: A Literary Biography. This was a fabulous book, and very readable. If you're at all interested in Victorian poetry, Christina Rossetti, and the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, then this book is for you. If you're interested, I've written a rather lengthy review of the book describing my take on it in more detail. I'm also going to append the book to the group's bookshelf. I really do recommend it! Cheers! Chris


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Laurel Hicks (goodreadscomlaurele) | 186 comments Christopher wrote: "I just wanted to let everyone know that I finished a superb biography, by Ms. Jan Marsh, entitled, Christina Rossetti: A Literary Biography. This was a fabulous book, and very readable. If you're..."

Read Chris's review, everyone. It sold me!


The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments Thanks for adding the book to our shelves Chris. I am interested in reading a biog about CR but don't know when I will get round to it.

What are the pre-rapheaelite brotherhood?


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Stephen | 15 comments "Founded by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt in 1848, the year of European revolution and the Communist Manifesto, the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was itself a kind of aesthetic utopia, cast from a romantic, mystical England of twilight, purple and gold, yet adhering to Ruskin's exhortion to go to nature, "rejecting nothing, selecting nothing". "

from page 205
England's Lost Eden, Adventures in a Victorian Utopia
Philip Hoare


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments The Pre-Raphaelites I have always found very interesting.

Took an enrichment course on them a couple of years ago that was very interesting.


message 22: by Silver (new)

Silver The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, was first established in 1848 and was like many art movements, a reaction against the former current brand of art at the day. This group of revolutionary artists were tired of what they saw as the "formula driven art" commonly produced. They wished to return back to what they viewed as being more genuine art that was based in realism, nature, and truth. The Brotherhood was founded by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais and William Holman Hunt, but there is a long list of other artists who became a part of the movement.

The meaning behind their name Pre-Raphaelite:

To quote John Ruskin the current approach to art was as follows:

"We begin by telling the youth of fifteen or sixteen that Nature is full of faults, and that he is to improve her; but that Raphael is perfection, and that the more he copies Raphael the better; that after much copying of Raphael, he is to try what he can do himself in a Raphaelesque, but yet original manner: that is to say, he is to try to do something very clever, all out of his own head, but yet this clever something is to be properly subjected to Raphaelesque rules, is to have a principal light occupying one seventh of its space, and a principal shadow occupying one third of the same; that no two people's heads in the picture are to be turned the same way, and that all the personages represented are to have ideal beauty of the highest order..."

The Pre-Raphaelites were a reaction against this very way of thinking, this Raphael worship in art, and so they coined their name. It was their idea, that nature should not be idealized but painted as it truly is, and that all human figures should be painted from a human model and they should be painted as they appeared in their true and real form and figure.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (susannag) | 604 comments Here's a page from the Met Museum's webpage about the visual side of the Pre-Raphaelites: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/praf... . And a link to some of their works of art: http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hi/hi_p... .

They were also, some of them, rather interesting poets.


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Paula | 1001 comments It was mentioned in another post that Dickens, Millais, and Wilkie Collins were stepping out of an establishment when they ran into a real life 'woman in white' who seemed distracted and disoriented. Can't get over how cool it would have been to randomly bump into that trio!


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I have justed started to read Emily Dickinson's poetry for class. So far, I don't really have any strong opinion on them. But I think that, after studying WWI poetry last year, little will compare with the raw and bitter reality I found there.

I do prefer her style to Hardy's (whom we will also be studying this year), but it all leaves me a little exasperated!


message 26: by The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) (last edited Nov 29, 2009 02:35PM) (new)

The Book Whisperer (aka Boof) | 736 comments Lauren, which WW1 poets did you study? When I was at school we did Wilfred Owen and Seigfried Sassoon and they had such an effect on me that I bought their poem collection last year (over 20 years later) and I read them all again. My favourite is In Dulce et Decorum Est by Wilfred Owen; if anything captures the horrors of war, that does. I can still remember it word for word.


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Boof, we did a range, not really focusing on any particular poet. I enjoyed Sassoon's a lot. I think my favourite was The Deserter by Winifred M. Letts.
I don't think we ever did look at In Dulce et Decorum Est, for some reason. I have heard it before though, of course.


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Lauren, 'In Dulce et Decorum Est' ah, compellingly crafted indeed, love it.


message 29: by Viktorija (new)

Viktorija (ViktorijaWinters) | 4 comments Victor Hugo's "Tomorrow at Dawn" always broke my heart.

Tomorrow morn, what time the fields grow white,
I shall set off; I know you look for me,
Across the forest's gloom, the mountain height:
I can no longer dwell away from thee.
I'll walk with eyes upon my thoughts intent,
Hearing no outer noise, seeing no sight;
Alone, unknown, hands clasped, and earthward bent,
Sad, and the day for me shall be as night.

On evening's golden hues I shall not gaze,
Nor on the vessels that to Harfleur come;
But my quest o'er, upon thy grave shall place
A wreath of holly green, and heather bloom.


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Rachel (rachieroo13) | 5 comments I have a huge love for Emily Bronte's poetry, she is such an inspiration even though they are not happy in nature. Robert Browning is also one of my favourite poets, and Rossetti's 'goblin market' is a timeless classic.


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Everyman | 2507 comments Rachel wrote: "I have a huge love for Emily Bronte's poetry, she is such an inspiration even though they are not happy in nature. Robert Browning is also one of my favourite poets, and Rossetti's 'goblin market' ..."

I agree about Browning and Rossetti.


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Rachel (rachieroo13) | 5 comments Paula wrote: "It was mentioned in another post that Dickens, Millais, and Wilkie Collins were stepping out of an establishment when they ran into a real life 'woman in white' who seemed distracted and disoriente..."

WOW, yes that would be amazing if you could go back in time and just bump into them. I don't think I'll get over that thought all day!


message 33: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rachieroo13) | 5 comments Everyman wrote: "Rachel wrote: "I have a huge love for Emily Bronte's poetry, she is such an inspiration even though they are not happy in nature. Robert Browning is also one of my favourite poets, and Rossetti's '..."

Not a Bronte fan then? Or is just the poetry that you don't like? I think a huge part of me loving her poetry is because I adored 'Wuthering Heights' to pieces and I think after reading that you really get a sense of her personality which shows in her poetry.


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Everyman | 2507 comments Rachel wrote: "Not a Bronte fan then? Or is just the poetry that you don't like? "

Not a Bronte fan generally. I think to a significant extent it's a gender thing. I know many women and very few men who like Jane Eyre, for example.

In general, they don't treat their men well. Neither Heathcliff nor Hindley are admirable. Mr. Brocklehurst, St. John Rivers, even Rochester, who is ready to commit bigamy to get what he wants, are any sort of desirable role models for men. Bretton has no weight, just lust. Emanuel may or may not be dead, which isn't encouraging--he should either have lived and returned to Lucy, or died heroically, but this maybe yes maybe no is not satisfying to a man.

I haven't read the Professor, so I don't know about male character there, but in general, the Brontes don't seem to have much respect for men. Which, given their life situations, is maybe not surprising. Only Charlotte ever married, and her marriage was not all it should have been. And Branwell was a not much to admire.

While all generalizations have their exceptions, and this one as many as any, I do think that generally their writing is more appreciated by women than by men.


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Gregory Knapp (gwknapper) | 25 comments Everyman wrote: "Rachel wrote: "Not a Bronte fan then? Or is just the poetry that you don't like? "

Not a Bronte fan generally. I think to a significant extent it's a gender thing. I know many women and very few..."


EVERYMAN:

I stand here, proud and unafraid, and say to you: NO!

I consider Jane Eyre to be the Greatest English Novel of the 19th Century -- running away.

And I have several male friends who consider Wuthering Heights to hold that honor.

It's a bit tricky to bring this up, and normally it wouldn't be relevant, but I think that here you have framed the issue (not wrongly, it's just the approach you chose. It's a Free Country) so starkly in Gender Theory that it's worth just pointing out briefly that I and the friends I refer to are straight.

I must admit that I am slightly puzzled by your concern with how the Brontes "treat their male characters."

I don't read fiction with that concern in mind.

Respectfully,

Greg


message 36: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rachieroo13) | 5 comments Thank you Gregory! I think that the Bronte's weren't that harsh towards their male characters. They just show their rough side and that despite this the women can still love them. It's good to know that there are males that appreciate 'withering heights' out there!


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Gregory Knapp (gwknapper) | 25 comments Rachel wrote: "Thank you Gregory! . . . It's good to know that there are males that appreciate 'withering heights' out there! "

There are, indeed, many.

But, frankly, I'm not one of them. For reasons, I am quite convinced, that have nothing to do with gender, I just don't "get" Wuthering Heights.

I recognize it, objectively, as a work of genius. I have read it three times since college, each time with an Open Mind, thinking -- hoping -- that this time I will "get" it.

But, alas.

For one thing, it's a very confusing book. It has two sets of characters who all have the same name . . . ;-)


message 38: by Rachel (new)

Rachel (rachieroo13) | 5 comments Maybe it's a female thing to 'get it'. The use of the same names I think is very clever of Bronte. I've read wuthering Heights 3 times now too and I always enjoy it.


message 39: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Gregory wrote: "I stand here, proud and unafraid, and say to you: NO!"

It's good to be proud and unafraid.

As I clearly said, there are certainly exceptions to the generalization. That we have found one, and a very definite one [g], doesn't by itself invalidate the generalization.

Though considering Jane Eyre to be "The
greatest English Novel of the 19th century" frankly leaves me scratching my head a bit, given that the competition includes Middlemarch, Bleak House, Great Expectations, Tess of the d'Urbervilles, Vanity Fair, among many.

But differences of opinion are what make for great discussions -- if we all thought alike, what would be the point!

(However, I will offer for a contrary view such lists as:

The Telegraph's Best British and Irish novels of all time
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/bo...
(includes Great Expectations, What Maisie Knew, Middlemarch, and Tess of the d'Urbervilles, with Vanity Fair, Bleak House, Cranford, and Barchester Towers as "other contenders," but not Jane Eyre in either the main list or the other contenders)

the World Library Best 100 books of all time
(includes Wuthering Heights, Great Expectations, and Middlemarch, but not Jane Eyre)

The Novel 100: A Ranking of the Greatest Novels of All Time
http://thegreatestbooks.org/lists/29
(ranked in order of greatness; order of 19th century English novels includes Middlemarch #8, Bleak House #12, Great Expectations #16, Vanity Fair #24, Tess of the D'Urbervilles #34, Wuthering Heights #38, and the only one of these lists to include it, Jane Eyre at #52.

But in the end, what matters is what each of us likes and finds rewarding to read. And, BTW, I totally agree with you about Wuthering Heights. Which will probably get me into more trouble here, but so be it.


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Gregory Knapp (gwknapper) | 25 comments I will amend to say it is the best British novel of the 19th Century. I think there is value in looking at, and evaluating, British and American literature separately and side by side.

Among the great books you mention in YOUR OWN LIST, which interests me because it is YOURS, only Bleak House offers serious competition as a work of art.

As for the other many "generic" lists you site, the less Jane appears on them, the more confident I am in my judgement.

Finally, I must note that I explicitly took the liberty of speaking for "several" of my male friends. So, if you take me at my word there, we have more than the "one" exception that you concede.

But this is all just for kicks. In the end Life is Short and, as you so correctly note, you must read the books that mean the most TO YOU, that speak to your Soul, regardless of what ANYONE else thinks.

And if that book happens to be Are You There, God, It's Me, Margaret? then more power to you.


message 41: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Gregory wrote: Finally, I must note that I explicitly took the liberty of speaking for "several" of my male friends. So, if you take me at my word there, we have more than the "one" exception that you concede."

Oh, I have no doubt that there are many more than one.

Maybe the best way for me to put my contention is that if you ask group of 100 male and 100 female readers who have read reasonably widely in 18th and 19th century English authors (say who have read at least a dozen total books by Austen, a Bronte, Dickens, Thackeray, Trollope, Collins, and Hardy) and ask them whether Jane Eyre is a favorite novel of theirs, a significantly greater percentage of female readers than of male readers will say yes.

But maybe I have a much different set of fellow readers than you do.


message 42: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Gregory wrote: "As for the other many "generic" lists you site, the less Jane appears on them, the more confident I am in my judgement.
"


A true contrarian!


message 43: by S.K. (last edited May 12, 2014 07:35PM) (new)

S.K. Rizzolo (skrizzolo) | 21 comments I am happy to catch this discussion about Jane Eyre, which is certainly my favorite 19th-century novel. Recently, I took the plunge and assigned it again as summer reading for students entering 10th grade. Yes, it's true that over the years I've noticed that the girls seem to enjoy the book more than the boys--and yet some students show a deep appreciation for it (also, the gender issues the novel raises are especially timely).

The other teacher and I are going to pair Jane Eyre with a contemporary novel called Little Bee about a 16-year-old Nigerian refugee/orphan.

Victorian literature is a hard sell with high school kids these days, but we keep plugging away, at least for another year.


message 44: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments S.K. wrote: "Victorian literature is a hard sell with high school kids these days, but we keep plugging away, at least for another year. "

A horse can't drink if you never lead it to water. Maybe not all your students will learn to appreciate Victorian lit, but if you didn't keep offering it, fewer would.

It's a battle worth fighting.


message 45: by Gregory (new)

Gregory Knapp (gwknapper) | 25 comments Everyman wrote: " . . . and ask them whether Jane Eyre is a favorite novel of theirs, a significantly greater percentage of female readers than of male readers will say yes."

Lucky those happy few men, indeed.


message 46: by S.K. (new)

S.K. Rizzolo (skrizzolo) | 21 comments Thanks, Greg and Everyman! I have an illustrated version of Jane Eyre, which I've owned since childhood. I remember paging through it before I read it and staring in fascination at the illustrations. And now I write mystery novels set in the 19th century, so clearly there's something about this world for me...

As a child, I also read the wonderful novels by Joan Aiken set in an alternative history Victorian England. I'm not sure who is worse: Bronte's Mr. Brocklehurst or Aiken's Miss Slighcarp, the evil governess.


message 47: by Jana (new)

Jana Eichhorn | 26 comments S.K. wrote: "I am happy to catch this discussion about Jane Eyre, which is certainly my favorite 19th-century novel. Recently, I took the plunge and assigned it again as summer reading for students entering 10..."

When Jane Eyre was assigned reading for me in high school, I just couldn't stomach it and gave up a few chapters in. Luckily, my English teacher knew me, and knew that I was an avid reader (and not just a teenager looking for an excuse!), so she let me read something else instead. I avoided that book like the plague for the next 20 years, assuming that I'd still hate it. I finally picked it up again last year, and I found that I ADORED it. It's now among my favorites, and I think I owe it all to the teacher that presented it to me but then didn't force it on me.

Keep fighting the good fight, SK! =)


message 48: by S.K. (new)

S.K. Rizzolo (skrizzolo) | 21 comments Thank you, Jana. It sounds as if you had a wise English teacher, but I'm glad you found your way to Jane Eyre in the end!


message 49: by Goetz (last edited Dec 07, 2014 12:49AM) (new)

Goetz Kluge (goetzkluge) | 8 comments Waistcoat Poetry


Edward Lear & Lewis Carroll
on what waistcoats can do instead of what usually faces do:

There was an old man of Port Grigor,
Whose actions were noted for vigour;
He stood on his head
till his waistcoat turned red,
That eclectic old man of Port Grigor.

Edward Lear, 1872

He was black in the face,
and they scarcely could trace
The least likeness to what he had been:
While so great was his fright
that his waistcoat turned white -
A wonderful thing to be seen!

Lewis Carroll, from "The Hunting of the Snark", 1876




message 50: by Pip (new)

Pip | 814 comments What a great post Goetz! Are you a specialist in waistcoat poetry?


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