The Victorian Verse-Novel: Aspiring to Life

Hardcover | October 14, 2017

byStefanie Markovits

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The Victorian Verse-Novel: Aspiring to Life considers the rise of a hybrid generic form, the verse-novel, in the second half of the nineteenth century. Such poems combined epic length with novelistic plots in the attempt to capture not a heroic past but the quotidian present. Victorianverse-novels also tended to be rough-mixed, their narrative sections interspersed with shorter, lyrical verses in varied measures. In flouting the rules of contemporary genre theory, which saw poetry as the purview of the eternal and ideal and relegated the everyday to the domain of novelisticprose, verse-novels proved well suited to upsetting other hierarchies, as well, including those of gender and class. The genre's radical energies often emerge from the competition between lyric and narrative drives, between the desire for transcendence and the quest to find meaning in what happens next; the unusual marriage plots that structure such poems prove crucibles of these rival forces. Generic tensionsalso yield complex attitudes towards time and space: the book's first half considers the temporality of love, while its second looks at generic geography through the engagement of novels in verse with Europe and the form's transatlantic travels. Both well-known verse-novels (Elizabeth BarrettBrowning's Aurora Leigh, Arthur Hugh Clough's Amours de Voyage, Coventry Patmore's The Angel in the House) and lesser-known examples are read closely alongside a few nearly related works (Tennyson's Idylls of the King, Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book). An Afterword traces the verse-novel'ssubstantial influence on the modernist novel.

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The Victorian Verse-Novel: Aspiring to Life considers the rise of a hybrid generic form, the verse-novel, in the second half of the nineteenth century. Such poems combined epic length with novelistic plots in the attempt to capture not a heroic past but the quotidian present. Victorianverse-novels also tended to be rough-mixed, their n...

Stefanie Markovits, Professor of English, has been teaching at Yale since 2001. A graduate of Yale College, Markovits completed an M.Phil in English Romantic Studies at Oxford before returning to Yale for her Ph.D. Professor Markovits is the author of two books, The Crisis of Action in Nineteenth-Century English Literature (2006, winne...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 8.5 × 5.31 × 0.98 inPublished:October 14, 2017Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198718861

ISBN - 13:9780198718864

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Table of Contents

Introduction: A Short History of a Long Form1. Adulterated Verse2. The Longue Duree of Marriage3. Circle-Squarers: Tennyson's and Browning's Form-Things4. Amours de Voyage: The Verse-Novel and European Travel5. E Pluribus Unum: The American Verse-NovelAfterword. Adulterated Verse, the Modernist Remix