HERBERT F. TUCKER It seems as if the resistance, so to speak, offered to the plastic despotism of the artist by characteristics accepted, not made, called forth a subtler and a stronger skill than if he had worked with the limitlessness of free invention.1 I'll find it for you on a whitewashed wall Where the slow shadows only change so much As shows the street has different darknesses At noontime and at twilight.2 --Augusta Webster othing seems more to have gratified the modernism of Vita SackvilleWest, in the course of a briskly condescending 1920s retrospect of Victorian women's poetry, than to drop Augusta Webster's dramatic poetry into the dustbin of intellectual history: "these blank-verse pieces . . . she probably regarded as vehicles for expressing her sociological opinions rather than as poetry."3 The remark of course is not really about Webster's intentions but about Sackville-West's opinion that the verse lies beneath notice. In this paper all that I have to say arises from the opposite opinion: that Webster's dramatic verse rewards the most careful attention we can muster. But first let me engage Sackville-West's imputation that the poet's chief allegiance was "sociological." I do so because most of
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jun 27, 2017
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