CFP: Victorian Poetry Special Issue: Victorian Periodical Poetry, Spring 2014

CFP: Victorian Poetry Special Issue: Victorian Periodical Poetry, Spring 2014
Edited by Alison Chapman and Caley Ehnes  (University of Victoria, Canada)
Deadline for Submisions: 30 April 2013

The CFP states: (see

Until recently, poetry published in Victorian periodicals was simply ignored. Dismissed as “filler”, devalued as sentimental, and denigrated as popular verse, periodical poetry languished behind serial fiction and the more respectable poems published in single-authored collections and anthologies.

But the fortunes of periodical poetry have swiftly and dramatically changed. With the consolidation of the periodical as a central component of Victorian studies, renewed attention has been given to the place of the poem in the periodical. Examples include, among others, Kathryn Ledbetter’s Tennyson and Victorian Periodicals: Commodities in Context (Ashgate, 2007), Linda K. Hughes’s 2007 article for Victorian Periodical Review, “What the Wellesley Index Left Out: Why Poetry Matters to Periodical Studies”, Eileen Curran (on the poetry published in Bentley’s Miscellany), Florence Boos (on working-class poetry), and Michael Sanders (on Chartist periodical poetry).

To date, however, there is no collection of articles or chapters engaged with the topic, and we feel a special issue will be timely in not just offering new primary and critical material on periodical poetry, but also on reflecting what periodical poetry tells us about Victorian poetry as a whole. For this special issue we ask for contributions not only on why poetry matters to Victorian periodicals, but why Victorian periodicals matter to Victorian poetry.

Central questions will include: whether and to what extent Victorian periodical poetry challenges the conventional account of Victorian poetics, prosody and genre; the relation between periodical poetry and serial fiction; and what new or revised models of poetry readership are suggested by periodical poetry. Thus, the special issue will welcome articles uncovering and assessing the importance of neglected periodical poetry, but also asking probing questions about what challenges and revisions Victorian periodicals bring to the understanding of poetry. These issues are particularly pressing with several digital initiatives that will increase the accessibility of periodical poetry (including our own Victorian Periodical Poetry Database [as part of the Victorian Poetry Network], the project of adding poetry to the Wellesley Index to Victorian Periodicals, as well as the Yellow Nineties), but also with the huge amount of periodical poetry recently made available through such ventures as the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition and 19th Century UK Periodicals databases. In this light, the special issue will also address questions of digitizing Victorian periodical poetry.

Some topics that a special issue on Victorian Periodical Poetry will address:

  • Periodical poetry, illustration and the issues of materiality (e.g. layout, margins)
  • The poetics of periodical poetry
  • The relation of periodical poetry to questions of time and periodicity
  • The relation of periodical poetry to serial fiction
  • Sentimentality, sensibility and taste
  • Lyric, narrative and the periodical poem
  • Popular verses high-brow poetry; acculturation
  • Education, gender and issues of readership
  • Digitising and indexing periodical poetry
  • Newspaper poetry and journalism
  • The representation of poetry in the periodical press: reviews, advertisements, etc.

We invite the submission of essays of 20-25 manuscript pages by 30 April 2013, for publication in Victorian Poetry (Spring 2014). Please follow the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition. Early expressions of interest and proposals of topics are also welcome; please contact the editors: and


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