"Tradition and the female talent": Narrative poetry by women in the Victorian age.

Öz, Fahri
This study analyzes the question of tradition within the narrative poetry written by female poets, and deals with the strategies they employed to mark then- difference as women poets while they struggled to exist and make room for themselves in the canon in the Victorian age. The scope of the study İs confined to long narrative poetry by women in the Victorian age (1830-1901). The works to be studied are the Gondal poems (composed 1836-1848) by Emily Jane Brontö; Aurora Leigh (1859) and "Lady Geraldine's Courtship" (1844) by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; and "Goblin Market" (1862) and The Prince 's Progress (1866) by Christina Rossetti. mThe method used is gynocritic; it deals with women as writers, female creativity, and development of a female literary female tradition. It assumes that women write differently from men and they have their own issues on their agenda. Chapter 1 deals with the notions of narrative and lyric, and demonstrates how vital they were for the women poets of the Victorian period. Emily Bronte, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, and Christina Rossetti's work can be best understood within the light of the background in which they lived and wrote. Therfore, Chapter 2 is a survey of the Victorian age along with the woman question and the images of women in the poetry of the age. Chapter 3 attempts to explore women's poetic tradition. The strategies are studied in Chapter 4. This study argues that these female poets employed the following strategies in their long narrative poems: hybridizing and parodying the genre, fracturing the narrative, extolling the female body, rejecting matrophobia and celebrating the mother, deconstructing dichotomies through androgyny, and introducing a new ethics. These strategies imply that Victorian female poets revised both their immediate same-sex precursors as well as the Ancient Greek poet Sappho by replacing victimized images of women with those of strong independent women. Thus, they created a new female identity through their heroines. Of the three poets, Emily Bronte appears to be the one who wrote in an individual voice that does not depend too much on the canon. While Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti's poetry is immersed in double-voiced discourse, her poetry remains, to a great extent, lyrical and monologic, deaf to other voices.


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Citation Formats
F. Öz, ““Tradition and the female talent”: Narrative poetry by women in the Victorian age.,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2003.