Poetry in the Making: Creativity and Composition in Victorian Poetic Drafts (Hardcover)
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Poetry in the Making investigates the compositional practices of Victorian poets, as made evident in the autograph manuscripts of their poems. Written in an accessible and stimulating style, the book offers careful readings of individual drafts, paying attention to the revisions,
cancellations, interlineations, trials of rhyme and form, and sometimes the large structural changes that these documents reveal. The book shows how manuscript revisions offer insights into the creative priorities and decisions of major Victorian poets (Wordsworth, Tennyson, the Brownings, Clough,
Hopkins, Christina Rossetti, Swinburne, and Yeats); and they investigate ideas of composition in the period, particularly the uneasy balance between inspiration and labour. The book testifies to the care that poets exercised at the smallest levels of their craft and demonstrates that the drafts
reward an equally close attention on the part of the critic. Collectively, the chapters develop a survey of how Victorian poets experienced and understood their own creativity, setting abstract claims about inspiration and craftsmanship against their own practical experiences. The book responds to and extends a renewed interest in manuscript sources at the present time that has been stimulated in part by the increased availability of digital and facsimile editions. For a long time, scholarly interest in nineteenth-century literary manuscripts has been dominated by
editorial and theoretical concerns. This book testifies to the value for criticism of poetic drafts, establishing the significance of revision and of manuscript studies for the field of Victorian poetry and for literary scholarship more generally.
About the Author
Daniel Tyler, Fellow in English, Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge Daniel Tyler is a Fellow and Lecturer in English at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He specialises in British literature of the nineteenth century. He is editor of Dickens's Style (2013) and On Style in Victorian Fiction (forthcoming).