Essay: British Poetry of the 19Th Century

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¶ … narrative technique in poetry of the nineteenth century is to discuss the various meanings and symbols written in the words of that era. Victorian poetry, including Romantic poetry, included an eclectic mix. The authors of these kinds of poetry loved to experiment and broadened not only the range of English poetry, but also subject-matter, and method, to an unmatched extent. The writers of this era paid attention to narrative because that is how they felt the words would be expressed best. Their focus was that on description, feeling, and persistent thought. Foremost poets like Arnold, Browning, Tennyson, and Keats demonstrated consistent techniques that became synonymous with Victorian and Romantic poetry.

"To Marguerite: Continued" a poem by Matthew Arnold, was first published in 1852. It was intended as a sequel to "Isolation: To Marguerite." And was a part of the title, "To Marguerite, in Returning a Volume of the Letters of Ortis." When examining the poem, the first stanza delivers a metaphor consisting of comparison of humans to islands. These islands, encompassed by the world and life around them, is also surrounded by the sea. The most famous of his lines in the poem: "we mortal millions live alone" can be interpreted as commentary on the lives of people of the Victorian era. People although together, were a world apart, drifting into their own thoughts, feelings, and secrets thus setting the tone for the poem.

His feelings, the speaker of the poem, are for someone, a romantic connection, that he feels is impossible. The poem remarks on life, as incontrollable, dark, and most of all, disconnected, isolative. Using science to explain the once united and connected land mass on earth to the now fragmented nature of the modern world, one can see the hopelessness of this narrative. There is no resolve, no journey to connection, it is simply a capture of the feelings within the poem, of sadness, madness, and confusion.

Although there is some desire for hope: "Oh might our marges meet again!" (), there still lie unresolved despair as the connections the speaker seeks cannot and will not come. And the water, the "estranging sea" is what divides them, the water, the feelings, they are what keep land masses from becoming united into one. The sea is the framing device and the island an example of word play. Although Marguerite was never mentioned, it could be seen as a deleted affair as the romantic desire is there, but not directly expressed.

Browning's "Porphyria's Lover" possesses natural language. However unlike Browning's other, later poems, it lacks the dialectical markers or colloquialisms Browning is more known for. Additionally the pattern of the verses are a rhyming ABABB even though the rhythm of the poem copycats natural speech. The irregularity and power of the pattern proposes insanity hidden within the speaker's coherent self-presentation.

In terms of narrative, it uses a scene typically from Romantic poetry. A storm outdoors, the speaker, warm and comfortable in the cottage. The image of simplicity and comfort mixed with the image of a rosy-cheeked girl who longs for interaction takes away the beauty of the Romantic poetry and moves it into the modern with her "shoulder bare" and defiance of the woman to the family to be with the speaker. Sex out of wedlock, taboo in Victorian society, was hardly seen in poems of the time.

Moreover, the sexual nature of the woman was made to feel natural in the poem. It was okay for her to behave in such a manner. The actions so adequately described, there was a lot of sensory detail. The pattern seemingly natural, made the poem into a dramatic monologue. The author used in medias res to remove the reader from the beginning of the story, and plunges straight into the action. The girl lies dead before the speaker starts. His speech acts as a stream of consciousness that tries to freeze an instant… [END OF PREVIEW]

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British Poetry of the 19Th Century.  (2014, April 21).  Retrieved July 22, 2019, from

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"British Poetry of the 19Th Century."  21 April 2014.  Web.  22 July 2019. <>.

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"British Poetry of the 19Th Century."  April 21, 2014.  Accessed July 22, 2019.