This survey of Victorian poetry to 1880 restricts itself to the major figures listed below, ignoring considerable minor poets such as Emily Brontë, William Barnes, Edward Fitzgerald, William Morris, George Meredith, Coventry Patmore and C. S. Calverley. The copious variety of Victorian verse is well sampled in the anthologies which are listed in ‘Further reading’ (p. 284). Although Victorian verse is broadly post-Romantic, giving new inflections to the personal, subjective, emotional and idealistic impulses of the Romantics, it is more various than this suggests. Expressive and plangent, it is also descriptive, of nature and of domestic and urban life. Often it half-dramatizes figures from history, legend and literature. Browning, Clough and Hopkins suggest an idiosyncrasy of subject, language and metre which is equally noticeable in lesser poets.
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