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Victorian Poetry and the Poetics of the Literary Periodical

Caley Ehnes

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Redrawing the conventional map of Victorian Poetics

Victorian Poetry and the Poetics of the Literary Periodical offers an alternative history of Victorian poetry that asserts the fundamental importance of popular periodical poetry to our understanding of Victorian poetics. Reading the poetry of un-anthologised, unnamed and underappreciated poets alongside that of Tennyson, Barrett Browning and Rossetti, Ehnes argues that the popular poet is not a marginal poet: he, and especially she, occupies the centre of literary culture, producing the poetry consumed by the majority of Victorian readers.

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Introduction: Poetry, Popularity, and the Periodical Press
1. Middle Class Audiences, Literary Weeklies, and the Inaugural Poem: Household Words, All the Year Round, and Once a Week
2. The New Shilling Monthlies: Macmillan’s Magazine and The Cornhill
3. First off the Block: Alexander Macmillan’s and Macmillan’s Magazine
4. Devotional Reading and Popular Poetry in Good Words
5. The Poetics of Popular Poetry in the Argosy
Conclusion: Where Do We Go From Here?
Appendix B: Biographies of Significant Contributors, Illustrators, and Publishers
Works Cited

About the Author

Caley Ehnes (PhD) received her doctorate from the University of Victoria (Canada). She currently teaches English literature and composition at the College of the Rockies in Cranbrook, British Columbia. She has published articles on periodical poetry in Women’s Writing, Victorian Review, and Victorian Periodicals Review, and she co-edited an issue of Victorian Poetry in 2014.


Reading poetry and the mass medium of Victorian periodicals interactively, Ehnes moves poetry and periodical studies into new terrain. Both canonical and noncanonical, male and female poets, figure in her groundbreaking book, which details poetry’s relation to class markers and identifies the hitherto ignored subgenre of the "inaugural poem" among many other illuminations.

- Linda K. Hughes, Addie Levy Professor of Literature, TCU, Fort Worth

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