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Chapter 2 - Enclosing Forms, Opening Spaces: The 1880s Fixed-Verse Revival

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 October 2019

Penny Fielding
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
Andrew Taylor
Affiliation:
University of Edinburgh
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Summary

Tracing the movement of print and literary forms in the later nineteenth century uncovers a complex transnatonality and intersectionality embedded in what might otherwise seem the most esoteric and confined of literary movements: the fixed-form verse revival of the late 1870s and 1880s. Reaching across national and temporal borders, the male coterie of Edmund Gosse, Austin Dobson, and Andrew Lang extolled villanelles, ballades, sestinas, rondeaux, and triolets as means to discipline contemporary English verse and delight connoisseurs. However, the movement did stay confined within elite class or gendered formations but infiltrated popular print in humorous penny weekly papers or political poems and also beckoned to women poets from A. Mary F. Robinson to Amy Levy to participate. Ultimately the fixed-form verse revival was a byproduct of a transatlantic literary market, so that the revival rested upon dynamic movements across bodies of water as well as across ostensible divides of nation, gender, and high versus popular culture.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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