felicia hemans
This course will consider how Victorian poetry approached what the era referred to as “The Woman Question” in multiple ways.  We will move from the tremendously popular imperial, domestic poetry of Felicia Hemans from the 1820s, through the politically motivated work of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, to the devotional dynamics of Christina Rossetti, to the dramatic monologues of Augusta Webster, to the “New Woman” poets at the end of the century, including Alice Meynell, E. Nesbit, Amy Levy and Rosamund Marriott Watson.  We will also consider how male poets took up and resisted a feminist cause, looking particularly at Tennyson and Swinburne.  We will also trace how the approaches of feminist critics from the twentieth and the twentieth centuries to this work has changed over time, to gain an understanding of the trajectories of feminist criticism.  The poetry will address questions about marriage, sex, motherhood, domesticity, work, writing, among others.