MARY LOEFFELHOLZ iKE MATTHEW ARNOLD, OF WHOSE COMMANDING PRECEDENT HE WAS ONLY TOO well aware, Edmund Clarence Stedman began his literary career as a poet only to refashion himself at midlife, quite successfully, as a critic. Stedman's breakthrough work in criticism, his 1875 survey of the Victorian Poets, went through at least fifteen editions before the end of the century, including a major updating in 1887, the year of Victoria's Jubilee; by 1895, Stedman could claim--in the introduction to his massive new anthology of British Victorian poetry--that the circulation of his Victorian Poets had popularized, if not coined outright, the adjective "Victorian" as what he called the "master epithet" of a master age in "England's intellectual activity."1 Stedman's follow-up volume to Victorian Poets, his 1885 Poets of America, launched into circulation another critical master term that may strike us today as more prescient still: there Stedman declared that his survey of American writers was "formulated [in] . . . consideration of the transatlantic field" of nineteenth-century AngloAmerican poetry.2 His two great anthologies, A Victorian Anthology and its successor An American Anthology (1900), expressed in a different way Stedman's organization of Anglo-Victorian poetry as a broadly interrelated field. As
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jan 8, 2005
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