Except for Dwight Culler, my teachers and advisors were not Victorianist scholars, so the mentoring contact I enjoyed with the generation who had ushered in Victorian Studies arose belatedly, and mainly from editors. The first among these, and the one most often hospitable to what I had to show, was John Stasny of this journal. His regard did not come without effort: my maiden contribution to Victorian Poetry, a micro-intensive reading of a passage from Sordello, was rejected with a short note that I've put behind me but haven't forgotten: the journal's readers would take scant interest, it advised, in an effort "stylistically precious and intellectually rarefied." They said such different things at school. Rapprochement after this first exchange involved some give and take on both sides. VP developed more tolerance circa 1980 for what New Theory might disclose, and sound like. I relinquished my prejudice, for such it was, against contextualist critique, and came to realize, not only that hermeneutic finesse was compatible with historical inquiry, but that Victorian poems were texts that urgently solicited both. This conjunction John, of course, had grasped long ago. Although the success of his journal has naturalized its title to our
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
Published: Jul 4, 2009
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