The culture of poetry between Romanticism and Victorianism has proved a difficult subject for scholars. A transition from the affective naturalism and immanent transcendence of Romantic poetry to the embellished brooding and sceptical inquisitiveness of Victorian poetry clearly occurred, but how? The period of the 1820s and 1830s was a crossroad in literary history and has typically been considered a lull in poetic culture. Romantic idealism had given way to material progress, leading some to assume the new literature of the period was largely ‘commercial trash’ (Stewart 1). David Stewart's contribution to Palgrave Studies in the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Cultures of Print, The Form of Poetry in the 1820s and 1830s, shines a clarifying light upon the poetry, and culture of poetry, during this period. Stewart aims to show that out of the seemingly doubtful status given to poetry at the time comes a ‘clever, playful, and formally inventive’ body of poetry, circulating within a vibrant market (1). In an insightful and stimulating manner, he succeeds in doing this.
- British Literature