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Victorian Poetry and the Culture of the Heart - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Victorian Poetry and the Culture of the Heart

Kirstie Blair


This book considers why and how the heart became a vital image in Victorian poetry, and argues that the intense focus on heart imagery in many major Victorian poems highlights anxieties in this period about the ability of poetry to create affect. In the course of the nineteenth century, new medical investigations into the heart, along with the development of instruments such as the stethoscope, gave the pathological heart a strong presence in popular culture. As poets feared for their own hearts, their poetry embodied concerns about heartsickness in form as well as content. Concerns about the ... More

Keywords: heart, Victorian poetry, literature and medicine, nineteenth-century poetry, Tennyson, Arnold, Barrett Browning, religion

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2006 Print ISBN-13: 9780199273942
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199273942.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Kirstie Blair, author
Lecturer in English Literature, University of Glasgow
Author Webpage