Swinburne (Guide to the Year's Work)
Victorian Poetry, 2010, Fall, 48, 3
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Last year was an exciting and exceptionally eventful year in Swinburne studies. 2009 marked the poet's centennial and inspired a successful conference, as well as a series of major publications. "Swinburne: A Centenary Conference," organized by Catherine Maxwell, Patricia Pulham, and Stefano Evangelista, took place at the University of London on July 10-11, 2009. Later in the year, both Victorian Poetry and Etudes Anglaises dedicated an issue to Swinburne, and my own edited collection of essays on Swinburne's mature writings was published by Ashgate. If there is one thing the reviewer of this year's work on Swinburne was happy to realize it is that given the opportunity, quite a few people have a great deal to say about Swinburne. One can only hope, then, that such opportunities keep presenting themselves in the future. Edited by Rikky Rooksby and Terry L. Meyers, Victorian Poetry's special Swinburne issue (47, no. 4 [Winter 2009]) contained twelve articles by a wide variety of authors--from graduate students to some of the leading figures in contemporary Victorian studies. This was the first time since 1971 that Victorian Poetry dedicated an entire issue to Swinburne, and as such, Rooksby notes, it "necessarily reflects Swinburne studies in the light of the critical work produced since 1971" (p. 613). Reviewing almost four decades of Swinburne scholarship, Rooksby rightly concludes that the latest issue "reflects many of the changes which have occurred" in the field of Victorian studies (p. 614). Meyers shares Rooksby's positive spirit when he observes that the essays that constitute the issue "have little in common in their approaches, but they all take Swinburne seriously" (p. 614). At the same time, however, both Rooksby and Meyers deplore the fact that despite his obvious poetic achievements, many scholars still consider Swinburne to be a marginal poet. Meyers' observation is particularly interesting in this context: Swinburne's exile from the literary canon, he write, "has been for moral and ideological reasons, even in this age when the canon has been expanded in so many ways. Whether it has room for someone as consistently subversive as Swinburne is still to be seen" (p. 614). A century after his death, then, Swinburne is still too subversive for current scholarly standards. As such, Meyers' statement asks us to shift our focus from Swinburne to his current readers; how open-minded and liberal can we really claim to be if a poet whose latest poem was composed a hundred years ago still makes us uncomfortable? Or in other words, are we not just as conservative as Swinburne's contemporaries? Rooksby and Meyers have already reviewed the essays that make their special issue in the pages of this very journal, so I am not going to review them again. Instead I will encourage the readers of this survey to read them with the same joy that I have.
- 2,99 €
- Categoria: Arti e discipline linguistiche
- Pubblicato: 22/09/2010
- Editore: West Virginia University Press, University of West Virginia
- Pagine: 11
- Lingua: Inglese