University of Iowa The University of Iowa College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of English

Victorian Women Poets

Professor Florence S. Boos

We will devote this course to the subtle and powerful poetry of Victorian women whose innovative works have come to occupy a more central place in literary studies. We will give particular attention to their formal poetics, their responses to contemporary aesthetic and ‘decadent’ ideals, and their debates about art, war, commerce, empire, class-divisions,  ‘women’s role,’ other social conventions and the nature of their literary craft.

We will spend several weeks on works of Christina Rossetti, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Augusta Webster, Rosamund Marriott Watson and the pseudonymous couple who wrote under the name “Michael Field,” then turn to a selection of lesser-known but equally significant writers of songs, ballads, folk poems and other forms of working-class "popular poetry."

I will ask each student to prepare an introductory class-presentation on one of the course’s lesser-known poets, from a list which may include (but not be restricted to) Laetitia Landon, Emily Bronte, Eliza Cook, Augusta Webster, Mathilde Blind, Amy Levy, Jean Ingelow, Annie Matheson, Olive Custance, Alice Meynell, Caroline Norton, Emily Pfeiffer, Mary Coleridge, Mary Robinson, Janet Hamilton and Ellen Johnston.

This course offers credit uner the rubrics 18th/19th century British literature and Interdisciplinary, modes and genre courses.