Jean Ingelow Criticism - Essay

Jennette Atwater Street (essay date 1897)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Jean Ingelow,” in The Citizen, Vol. 3, No. 10, December, 1897, pp. 224-25.

[In the following essay, written just after Ingelow's death, Street presents a brief overview of Ingelow's life and works, finding her writings “charming” but restricted in scope because of her limited life experiences.]

When Tennyson died, when Morris and Stevenson, Lowell and Holmes laid their pens down for the last time, there was such a sense of activity arrested, of immediate loss, that we look even yet for this to be made good to us. Far different, however, is the feeling with regard to the English poetess recently deceased. Her death seems rather the loss of an earlier...

(The entire section is 1659 words.)

Mabel C. Birchenough (essay date 1899)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Jean Ingelow,” in The Fortnightly Review, Vol. 71, No. 287, March 1, 1899, pp. 486-99.

[In the following essay, Birchenough offers an enthusiastic review of Ingelow's major works, focusing on Ingelow's love of nature and natural landscapes, the simplicity and sensitivity of her writings, and the light-heartedness of her family stories.]

In the summer of 1897, two remarkable women writers slipped away, quietly, and with as little observation as either would have desired, barely noticed indeed during the absorbing excitements of the Jubilee. The public had delighted to honour each in her day, but it had already passed into the stage of half-forgetting, for...

(The entire section is 5905 words.)

Edith Hamilton (essay date 1955)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Words, Words, Words,” in The Ever-Present Past, W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1964, pp. 151-58.

[In the following essay, originally published in the November 19, 1955, edition of the Saturday Review, Hamilton reflects upon Ingelow's influence on modern poets, particularly Dylan Thomas (1914-1953).]

Nearly one hundred years ago a novelist and a poet, quite forgotten now but highly esteemed in her own day, whose name was Jean Ingelow, wrote:

Amorphous masses cooing to a monk;
Some fine old crusty problems very drunk;
A pert parabola flirting with a don,
And two Greek grammars with their war paint on.
A lame black beetle singing to...

(The entire section is 1881 words.)

Brian Attebery (essay date 1987)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Women's Coming of Age in Fantasy,” in Extrapolation: A Journal of Science Fiction and Fantasy, Vol. 28, No. 1, Spring, 1987, pp. 10-22.

[In the following essay, Attebery discusses Ingelow's fantasy novel Mopsa the Fairy and its emphasis on the coming-of-age of its title character as a forerunner to the rite of passage novels by modern fantasy writers such as Ursula Le Guin and Patricia Wrightson.]

An orphaned young man discovers a destiny, true love, and his identity. A wizard tests his powers and learns his own limits. An amiable young hobbit grows into a heroic and somber figure. A youth wakes up in a room transformed into woodland and undergoes a...

(The entire section is 5965 words.)

Nina Auerbach and U. C. Knoepflmacher (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Jean Ingelow: Mopsa the Fairy,” in Forbidden Journeys: Fairy Tales and Fantasies by Victorian Women Writers, edited by Nina Auerbach and U. C. Knoepflmacher, University of Chicago Press, 1992, pp. 207-13.

[In the following essay, Auerbach and Knoepflmacher examine Mopsa the Fairy against the backdrop of Victorian notions of the domestic role of women, focusing in particular on the novel's ending.]

Jean Ingelow (1820-1897) had, like Christina Rossetti, already achieved a high reputation as a poet before she began to publish children's fiction. Indeed, her 1863 volume, Poems, was so favorably reviewed that Rossetti, “aware of a new...

(The entire section is 3096 words.)

Jennifer A. Wagner (essay date 1993)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “In Her ‘Proper Place’: Ingelow's Fable of the Female Poet and Her Community in Gladys and Her Island,” in Victorian Poetry, Vol. 31, No. 3, Fall, 1993, pp. 227-39.

[In the following essay, Wagner explores the theme of the female imagination in the allegorical Gladys and Her Island.]

Eric S. Robertson's notoriously condescending “critical biography” of Jean Ingelow in his 1883 English Poetesses locates the cause of her immense popularity in her “domesticity”: “these [lyrics] deal with homely subjects described in good Saxon language. … Homeliness of subject and place are natural to Jean Ingelow.”1 These remarks,...

(The entire section is 5756 words.)

U. C. Knoepflmacher (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Male Patronage and Female Authorship: The Case of John Ruskin and Jean Ingelow,” in Princeton University Library Chronicle, Vol. 57, No. 1, Autumn, 1995, pp. 13-46.

[In the following essay, Knoepflmacher uses the many letters John Ruskin wrote to Ingelow between 1867 and 1882 to explore the personal and professional relationship the two shared.]

Highly popular as a poet in late nineteenth-century England and America, Jean Ingelow (1820-1897) has not regained her former reputation. Although a few of her verses are finding their way back into recent anthologies, she has hardly fared as well as Christina Rossetti, the writer to whom she was most often...

(The entire section is 11681 words.)

Heidi Johnson (essay date 1995)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “‘Matters That a Woman Rules’: Marginalized Maternity in Jean Ingelow's A Story of Doom,” in Victorian Poetry, Vol. 33, No. 1, 1995, pp. 75-88.

[In the following essay, Johnson studies Ingelow's portrayal of feminine spirituality and the role of the woman within the patriarchal world of Christianity in her poem A Story of Doom.]

And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.

Genesis 7.7

He looks back to the past
grieves not over what is distant.
I mourn the wrack, the rock under the
blue sea, our...

(The entire section is 5684 words.)

U. C. Knoepflmacher (essay date 1998)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Sundering Women from Boys: Ingelow's Mopsa the Fairy,” in Ventures into Childland: Victorians, Fairy Tales, and Femininity, University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 270-311.

[In the following essay, Knoepflmacher presents an in-depth examination of the ways in which Ingelow, in the short tale “The Life of John Smith” and the fantasy novel Mopsa the Fairy, both acquiesced to and resisted the patriarchal authority advanced by such Victorian counterparts as Lewis Carroll, John Ruskin, and George MacDonald.]

Yet—to gaze on her again
(As my tale has taught thee),
Potent Fairy, I am fain,
Therefore have I sought thee—
Through the forest,...

(The entire section is 18242 words.)