Victorian Poetry


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Victorian poetry

(Creator: Delzi Laranjeira)

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Victorian Poetry

  2. 2. Victorian poetry: <ul><li>Like the Victorians themselves, is filled with far too many multifaceted and contradictory traits to effectively classify in a general sense.  For certain, the  most enduring Victorian contribution to  poetry is the form of the dramatic monologue, a form made famous by both Tennyson and Browning </li></ul><ul><li>Developed along with the novel - telling stories in verse (Elizabeth Barret Browning’s Aurora Leigh ) </li></ul><ul><li>Influence of Romantics still strong, though it reacted against their subjectivity </li></ul><ul><li>Heroic, sentimental, nostalgic </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>Characteristics of the dramatic monologue </li></ul><ul><li>pictorial -> uses details to create a visual image that represents the emotion or situation the poem is describing </li></ul><ul><li>poetry and painting often interconnected: artists often illustrated Victorian poems, poems themselves often present paintings </li></ul><ul><li>uses sound to create meaning: mellifluousness of Tennyson (beautiful cadences, alliteration) vs. roughness of Browning </li></ul><ul><li>“ In all of these developments - the experimentation with narrative and perspective; the dramatic monologue, the use of visual detail and sound - the Victorian poets seek to represent psychology in a different way. Their most distinctive achievement is a poetry of mood and character”. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Who is the speaker of the poem? </li></ul><ul><li>In what stage of life is the speaker? </li></ul><ul><li>What does the speaker plan to do? </li></ul><ul><li>Who is Telemachus? What’s the speaker’s attitude towards him? </li></ul><ul><li>What does the speaker say might happen before his death? </li></ul>
  5. 5. “ Ulysses” (Tennyson) <ul><li>Dramatic monologue  a poem in which there is one imaginary speaker addressing an imaginary audience. </li></ul><ul><li>Blank verse, iambic pentameter, many lines enjambed, four parahraph-like sections. </li></ul><ul><li>Mood: elegiac (in honour of his friend Arthur Hallam, who died young) </li></ul><ul><li>Lines 1- 5  series of generalities, Ulysses expresses his dissatisfaction with his position. </li></ul><ul><li>Lines 6 and 7  the tone shifts decidedly. Ulysses announces his determination to quit Ithaca and move on, ready to take whatever adventure he might find. </li></ul><ul><li>Lines 8 -18  His passion was adventure; in the course of his travels, he experienced extreme happiness and extreme suffering, with his companions and in isolation, on land and on sea. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><ul><li>Lines 19 - 32 express Ulysses’ conception of life as an unending series of opportunities to be seized. For him, idleness is abhorrent. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>In the second section, lines 33- 43, Ulysses shifts his tone again, speaking as a public man in relatively flat, “official” language; the speech sets him apart from his conscientious son, Telemachus, to whom he is transferring his power. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The monologue concludes in the evening when Ulysses indicates he and his men are about to sail. In lines 44 -70, he exhorts his companions to make the most of the time left to them. In the evening of their lives, Ulysses asserts, they may yet set goals, make discoveries, and savor their achievements. </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Direct intertextual relations: Homer’s Odissey , Dante’s Inferno (Canto XXVI) </li></ul><ul><li>Tone: melancholic, expressing a sense of loss </li></ul><ul><li>Themes </li></ul><ul><li>The need to battle life out to the end (explore the unknown no matter the consequences. Ulysses’ needs are intellectual, not physical) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ulysses seen as a model of individual self-assertion and the Romantic rebellion against bourgeois conformity. Thus for Tennyson's immediate audience, the figure of Ulysses held not only mythological meaning, but stood as an important contemporary cultural icon as well. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>As Tennyson himself stated, the poem expresses his own &quot;need of going forward and braving the struggle of life&quot; after the loss of his dear friend Hallam </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Ulysses as a selfish man who refuse to accept his responsibilities </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>The past in Tennyson’s poetry  Most of Tennyson's best poems ponder the past, both of his nation and the mythological past, as articulated in classical works of Homer, Virgil, and Dante. “Ulysses” and “The Lotos- Eaters” are examples of this fact. Tennyson’s treatment of the important scientific issues of his day represents an attempt to come to terms with the evolutionary past history of our species and our world  a poet of the historical, mythological, personal, and evolutionary past. </li></ul>