Review by Choice Review
One of more than 40 entries in the "Cambridge Companions to Literature" series, this volume includes 13 essays by as many contributors. Providing thorough coverage, the volume is wonderfully edited and organized. Bristow (UCLA) chose topics that are sometimes familiar but are treated here in an up-to-date (yet straightforward, for the most part) fashion. The chapters cover Victorian poetics after 1832, the critical reception of Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott," experimental form, dramatic monologue, historicism, science, religious diversity, Victorian masculinity, aesthetic and decadent poetry, and late-19th-century poetry--with relatively little overlap between essays. All the contributors work with their topics in interesting ways, although some essays particularly stand out: Yopie Prins extends her important work on Victorian meter; Susan Brown describes the fascinating cultural icon of "the Victorian poetess," and Tricia Lootens provides an original and instructive survey of "V ictorian poetry and patriotism." Since it works through disparate subjects, the collection cannot accumulate the argumentative power of a book like Isobel Armstrong's Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Politics, Poetics (1993). But as a survey and companion, the volume performs its tasks admirably, providing readable and responsible overview of the authors and problems and concluding with a good select bibliography. Recommended for both novices and specialists. S. C. Dillon Bates College
Copyright American Library Association, used with permission.