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"I make the whole world answer to my art": Alice Meynell's Poetic Identity

"I make the whole world answer to my art": Alice Meynell's Poetic Identity KATHLEEN ANDERSON herself as a poet of "wild ways" who commands the world's attention with poetry that emanates from "One thought that is the treasure of my years . . . And in mine arms, clasped, like a child in tears."1 This "One thought" is the most prevalent feature of Meynell's poetry: a speaker who is obsessed with her identity as poet, which she repeatedly depicts in dual terms. She portrays the poet as a conglomeration of reflexive binaries, such as the everyday consciousness and the poet self (whether represented as another poet, a poem, a book, or a bird), mother and child, female and male, or poet and God. Meynell complicates the dilemma of the woman artist, portrayed with such dramatic effectiveness in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh. During the Victorian period, women poets especially could not avoid the tangled web of contradictory gender ideologies that seemed to necessitate, with every act of poetic creation, their simultaneous reinforcement and undercutting of patriarchal constructs of femininity.2 Alice Meynell succeeded in constructing a female poetic voice that generates and affirms itself, rather than being defined by the NotMale. She depicts the world as a reflection of her poetic greatness http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Victorian Poetry West Virginia University Press

"I make the whole world answer to my art": Alice Meynell's Poetic Identity

Victorian Poetry , Volume 41 (2) – Jan 7, 2003

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Publisher
West Virginia University Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2003 West Virginia University.
ISSN
1530-7190
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Abstract

KATHLEEN ANDERSON herself as a poet of "wild ways" who commands the world's attention with poetry that emanates from "One thought that is the treasure of my years . . . And in mine arms, clasped, like a child in tears."1 This "One thought" is the most prevalent feature of Meynell's poetry: a speaker who is obsessed with her identity as poet, which she repeatedly depicts in dual terms. She portrays the poet as a conglomeration of reflexive binaries, such as the everyday consciousness and the poet self (whether represented as another poet, a poem, a book, or a bird), mother and child, female and male, or poet and God. Meynell complicates the dilemma of the woman artist, portrayed with such dramatic effectiveness in Elizabeth Barrett Browning's Aurora Leigh. During the Victorian period, women poets especially could not avoid the tangled web of contradictory gender ideologies that seemed to necessitate, with every act of poetic creation, their simultaneous reinforcement and undercutting of patriarchal constructs of femininity.2 Alice Meynell succeeded in constructing a female poetic voice that generates and affirms itself, rather than being defined by the NotMale. She depicts the world as a reflection of her poetic greatness

Journal

Victorian PoetryWest Virginia University Press

Published: Jan 7, 2003

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