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What are the features of Victorian period poetry, especially pertaining to Tennyson...

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sunam | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted June 5, 2010 at 5:01 AM via web

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What are the features of Victorian period poetry, especially pertaining to Tennyson and Browning?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted July 30, 2010 at 4:43 AM (Answer #1)

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Some characteristics, or features, of Victorian poetry move poetry away from the Romantic era poets. One such characteristic, or feature, is the Victorian interest in Medieval legends, myths and fables over the classical legends and mythology embraced by the preceding Romantic poets. Another is a more realistic and less idealized view of nature, for instance nature's "red claws" are as likely to show as her woolly lambs. Another is a change of emphasis on what types of common people and common language is emphasized in poetry: whereas for Romantics it was the country rustic, for the Victorians it is more often the common urban dweller.

Tennyson's poems featured spiritual lessons wrapped in Medieval traditions as in "The Lady of Shallot." His symbolism led directly to pictures of humankind's condition and were not emblematic, that is not symbolically drawing similarities between nature and humankind's condition. Browning emphasized tales related to common urban people who had uncommon psychological dilemmas, like in"Porphyria's Lover," that were resolved in uncommon ways--not many people strangle their beloved with their own locks of hair. Browning was the master at developing the psychological shadings of his poetic characters in dramatic monologues as in "My Last Duchess."

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