The critical recovery of once-neglected women poets that took place at the end of the twentieth century changed the landscape of Victorian Studies. Literary-historical accounts of Victorian poetry, once dominated by men, were revised and enriched as the scope and variety of women’s achievements came to light. That feminist undertaking has been further advanced by scholars who reveal fresh aspects of the poetic landscape by juxtaposing men’s and women’s writing. This special issue seeks to build on such cross-gender projects by calling for essays that construct dialogues between works by male and female Victorian poets who write in the same genre. How does gender shape formal and thematic approaches to specific genres – to (for instance) the lyric, the epic, the dramatic monologue, the modern ballad? By nature, this project is exploratory, experimental, and diagnostic; it requires a choice of poems that aspire to stand as representative as they open new lines of thinking about gender and genre.
How exactly to bring women poets into contention has been a contested area not only logistically, given the competition for space in curricula, but also theoretically. Is it possible to map some of the territories that define the nature of (for example) female-authored lyric or epic poems, identifying those territories as exclusively feminine? Would these poems, when placed alongside lyrics or epics written by men, give rise to an entirely different understanding of the strategies and resources of such forms thereby illuminating the vexed question of the gendered nature of writing? Conversely, are certain crucial preoccupations common to men and women, effectively sidelining gender as a primary consideration in analyzing genre? These are questions that contributors might address, but we welcome all approaches.
Essays should be 20-25 pages in length and should follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition. Early expressions of interest and proposals of topics are welcome. The deadline for submission of essays is September 18, 2017.
Please send all submissions and enquiries to the guest editors: