The Realms of Verse 1830-1870: English Poetry in a Time of Nation-Building
The poets of the mid-nineteenth century lived in a time of "nation-building." The Realms of Verse brings that political and intellectual context to life. It shows that the Italian Risorgimento raised questions about community and individual liberty which were especially problematic for subjects of the multi-national United Kingdom, and argues that these questions are at the heart of the poetry of Robert and Elizabeth Browning, Tennyson, and Clough. Their long poems characteristically tell stories about marriage, investigating the symbolic and actual interactions between that personal union and national unity. Their verse as a whole exploits correspondences between formal control and political government, and is alert to its own role in fostering a common culture. Historically detailed, theoretically astute, critically nimble, and stylishly written, The Realms of Verse is the most far-reaching reassessment of Victorian poetry to have been published in recent years.
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