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Evolution and the Struggle of Love in Emily Pfeiffer’s Sonnets

Evolution and the Struggle of Love in Emily Pfeiffer’s Sonnets KAREN DIELEMAN rs. Pfeiffer's most abiding reputation will rest upon her sonnets, and of these the best deal with two great questions of the day--evolution and woman's sphere," wrote Eric Robertson in his headnote to the six Emily Pfeiffer poems he selected for English Poetesses: A Series of Critical Biographies, with Illustrative Extracts (1883).1 Robertson's second center of interest, "woman's sphere," has found traction in the emerging scholarship on Pfeiffer's poetry--a scholarship not birthed till the mid-1990s and growing but slowly, despite a nineteenth-century regard for Pfeiffer that led Robertson to group her in a chapter with Christina Rossetti, Augusta Webster, and Mathilde Blind. Questions of gender typically anchor the modern editorial introductions or headnotes on Pfeiffer, and gender also informs studies of Pfeiffer's prose travel writing, Hellenism, and Welsh nationalism.2 In contrast, despite the expanding scholarly conversation on nineteenth-century poetry and evolutionary theory, Pfeiffer's poetry on this subject has been little discussed. For instance, in Darwin's Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution, John Holmes studies numerous major and minor poets who grapple with competing Darwinian and non-Darwinian evolutionary theories but does not mention Pfeiffer, though he considers Mathilde Blind, Constance Naden, and Agnes http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

Evolution and the Struggle of Love in Emily Pfeiffer’s Sonnets

Victorian Poetry , Volume 54 (3) – Jan 7, 2016

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 West Virginia University.
ISSN
1530-7190
Publisher site
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Abstract

KAREN DIELEMAN rs. Pfeiffer's most abiding reputation will rest upon her sonnets, and of these the best deal with two great questions of the day--evolution and woman's sphere," wrote Eric Robertson in his headnote to the six Emily Pfeiffer poems he selected for English Poetesses: A Series of Critical Biographies, with Illustrative Extracts (1883).1 Robertson's second center of interest, "woman's sphere," has found traction in the emerging scholarship on Pfeiffer's poetry--a scholarship not birthed till the mid-1990s and growing but slowly, despite a nineteenth-century regard for Pfeiffer that led Robertson to group her in a chapter with Christina Rossetti, Augusta Webster, and Mathilde Blind. Questions of gender typically anchor the modern editorial introductions or headnotes on Pfeiffer, and gender also informs studies of Pfeiffer's prose travel writing, Hellenism, and Welsh nationalism.2 In contrast, despite the expanding scholarly conversation on nineteenth-century poetry and evolutionary theory, Pfeiffer's poetry on this subject has been little discussed. For instance, in Darwin's Bards: British and American Poetry in the Age of Evolution, John Holmes studies numerous major and minor poets who grapple with competing Darwinian and non-Darwinian evolutionary theories but does not mention Pfeiffer, though he considers Mathilde Blind, Constance Naden, and Agnes

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Jan 7, 2016

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