Catalogue

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Victorian poetry as cultural critique : the politics of performative language /
E. Warwick Slinn.
imprint
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2003.
description
x, 217 p.
ISBN
081392166X (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Charlottesville : University of Virginia Press, 2003.
isbn
081392166X (cloth : alk. paper)
contents note
Poetry and culture : performativity and critique -- Browning's Bishop conceives a tomb : cultural ordering as cultural critique -- The mark as matrix : subject(ion) and agency in Barrett Browning's "The runaway slave at Pilgrim's Point" -- Clough's resisted performative : material act and bacchanalian revel in Dipsychus -- Prostitution, representation, and desire : the politics of male liberalism in D. G. Rossetti's "Jenny" -- Webster's castaway courtesan : living on the cultural margin -- Afterword : form as process.
catalogue key
4850399
 
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
E. Warwick Slinn is Professor of English Literature at Massey University, New Zealand.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2003-12-01:
Those who believe that literature is a megaphone for history, a voice-giver to culture, will be interested in this book. Using five poems (Browning's "The Bishop Orders His Tomb at St. Praxed's Church" the most celebrated of them), Slinn highlights "performative language" and its ability to define the culture and its issues. Browning captures the spirit of the Renaissance with his bishop and his self-serving monologue; Elizabeth Barrett Browning ("Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Paint") speaks of the conflict of religion and personal freedom and the weight of gender; A.H. Clough ("Dipsychus") examines such issues as sexual identity/prostitution and loss of faith; B.G. Rossetti ("Jenny") hones in on gender and the nature of male supremacy and dominance; Augusta Webster ("A Castaway") studies the life of a courtesan, an outcast person. These poems consider many of the major issues of the Victorian era, laying them open in a way expository and narrative prose did not. One might wish that Slinn had chosen better-known poems for his analyses, and certainly that he had included the texts of the five poems he discusses. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. P. W. Stine Gordon College
Reviews
This item was reviewed in:
Choice, December 2003
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Summaries
Bowker Data Service Summary
In recent cultural studies, poetry has become something of a neglected genre. Warwick Slinn seeks to reverse that trend and argues that a fundamental continuity between the meaning of a poetic trope and the social function of language can be established through speech act theory.
Main Description
In recent cultural studies, poetry has become something of a neglected genre. Warwick Slinn seeks to reverse that trend and argues that a fundamental continuity between the meaning of a poetic trope and the social function of language can be established through speech act theory -- specifically through the linguistically based model of performativity. Victorian Poetry as Cultural Critique discusses five Victorian poems in order to show how their display of language enacts a cultural critique, examining the conditions and realization of social and political discourses. Slinn begins by distinguishing the main conceptual strands of performativity and then explains how each poem dramatizes a fluid mix of identity, power, and ideology. By foregrounding such events as speech acts, these poems expose the politics of power relationships and show how performative language is inextricable from the means by which power relationships are enacted. Focusing on the internal dynamics of specific poems, Slinn challenges the separation of poetic language from social criticism and eventually questions traditional perceptions of poetic form itself. The selected poems, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Arthur Hugh Clough, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Augusta Webster, offer a range of contentious issues that are in themselves politically challenging. The poets address such diverse and problematic concerns as slavery, sexual politics, prostitution, consciousness, agency, aestheticism, religious belief, and philosophical idealism. The discussion of each poem attends to the complexity of the poem's utterance, its historical contexts, and its broader implications for cultural meaning. Victorian Literature and Culture Series
Main Description
In recent cultural studies, poetry has become something of a neglected genre. Warwick Slinn seeks to reverse that trend and argues that a fundamental continuity between the meaning of a poetic trope and the social function of language can be established through speech act theory -- specifically through the linguistically based model of performativity.Victorian Poetry as Cultural Critique discusses five Victorian poems in order to show how their display of language enacts a cultural critique, examining the conditions and realization of social and political discourses. Slinn begins by distinguishing the main conceptual strands of performativity and then explains how each poem dramatizes a fluid mix of identity, power, and ideology. By foregrounding such events as speech acts, these poems expose the politics of power relationships and show how performative language is inextricable from the means by which power relationships are enacted. Focusing on the internal dynamics of specific poems, Slinn challenges the separation of poetic language from social criticism and eventually questions traditional perceptions of poetic form itself.The selected poems, by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Arthur Hugh Clough, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Augusta Webster, offer a range of contentious issues that are in themselves politically challenging. The poets address such diverse and problematic concerns as slavery, sexual politics, prostitution, consciousness, agency, aestheticism, religious belief, and philosophical idealism. The discussion of each poem attends to the complexity of the poem's utterance, its historical contexts, and its broader implications for cultural meaning.Victorian Literature and Culture Series
Unpaid Annotation
"In Victorian Poetry as Cultural Critique, E. Warwick Slinn explores works by Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Robert Browning, Arthur Hugh Clough, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, and Augusta Webster, arguing that a fundamental continuity between the meaning of a poetic trope and the social function of language can be established through speech act theory - specifically through the linguistically based model of performativity."--BOOK JACKET.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Poetry and Culture: Performativity and Critiquep. 9
Browning's Bishop Conceives a Tomb: Cultural Ordering as Cultural Critiquep. 32
The Mark as Matrix: Subject(ion) and Agency in Barrett Browning's "The Runaway Slave at Pilgrim's Point"p. 56
Clough's Resisted Performative: Material Act and Bacchanalian Revel in Dipsychusp. 90
Prostitution, Representation, and Desire: The Politics of Male Liberalism in D. G. Rossetti's "Jenny"p. 123
Webster's Castaway Courtesan: Living on the Cultural Marginp. 158
Afterword: Form as Processp. 185
Notesp. 191
Bibliographyp. 203
Indexp. 213
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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