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Heather Bozant Witcher and Amy Kahrmann Huseby (eds.), Defining Pre-Raphaelite Poetics

Defining Pre-Raphaelite Poetics 

Edited by Heather Bozant Witcher and Amy Kahrmann Huseby

Defining Pre-Raphaelite Poetics offers a range of Pre-Raphaelite literary scholarship, provoking innovative discussions into the poetic form, gender dynamics, political engagement, and networked communities of Pre-Raphaelitism. The authors in this collection position Pre-Raphaelite poetics broadly in the sense of poiesis, or acts of making, aiming to identify and explore the Pre-Raphaelites’ diverse forms of making: social, aesthetic, gendered, and sacred. Each chapter examines how Pre-Raphaelitism takes up and explores modes of making and re-making identity, relationality, moral transformations, and even, time and space. Essays explore themes of formalist or prosodic approaches, expanded networks of literary and artistic influence within Pre-Raphaelitism, and critical legacies and responses to Pre-Raphaelite poetry and arts, codifying the methods, forms, and commonalties that constitute literary Pre-Raphaelitism.


“This deeply exciting collection of essays settles the question whether Pre-Raphaelite poetics is a meaningful category by unsettling so many prior assumptions about Pre-Raphaelitism. The contributors forcefully demonstrate that poiesis was a central medium of Pre-Raphaelite making, a techne defined by fluidity and hybridity. In keeping with this revisionary project, the editors position Pre-Raphaelite poetics in relation to politics, sexualities, genre, form, and inter-medial relations, indicating in the process its links to Modernism.” (Linda K. Hughes, Addie Levy Professor of Literature, Texas Christian University, USA) 

“The first modern book on Pre-Raphaelite poetry since Harold Bloom’s 1986 Pre-Raphaelite PoetsDefining Pre-Raphaelite Poetics will stand out in the literature devoted to Pre-Raphaelitism as the first convincing exploration of the Pre-Raphaelites' lyric project: an avant-garde ars poetica written to be heard, to be seen, to be touched, to be sung. The book recovers poetry by 'Brothers' and 'Sisters' as its chapters emphasise the political radicalism and transgressive hybridity of the Pre-Raphaelite lyric. An invaluable resource for any critic fascinated with Pre-Raphaelitism, historical poetics, gender studies, and the fin de siècle.” (Ana Parejo Vadillo, Senior Lecturer in Victorian Literature and Culture, Birkbeck College, University of London, UK)

“This rich and wide-ranging book offers a valuable and original contribution to the field of Pre-Raphaelite studies and will appeal to scholars of Pre-Raphaelitism and nineteenth-century literature. Defining Pre-Raphaelite Poetics focuses on Pre-Raphaelite poetic form in a variety of manifestations, taking in themes of gender, politics, and aesthetics, offering fresh insights into Pre-Raphaelite poetry against a broader backdrop of literary making and production.” (Amelia Yeates, Senior Lecturer in Art History, Liverpool Hope University, UK)


Mary Arseneau, Florence Boos, Hannah Comer, Elizabeth Helsinger, John Holmes, Amy Kahrmann Huseby, Heather McAlpine, Dinah Roe, Serena Trowbridge, Robert Wilkes, Heather Bozant Witcher

Heather Bozant Witcher is Assistant Professor at Auburn University at Montgomery, USA. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century poetics, collaboration, and sociability, as well as archival theory and digital humanities.
Amy Kahrmann Huseby is Assistant Teaching Professor at Florida International University, USA, where she teaches courses in nineteenth-century British literature. Her research focuses on nineteenth-century poetics, gender and sexuality, race and empire, and the history of science.

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