Poetry and the Victorian Visual Imagination: New Conversations
A special issue of Victorian Poetry, Winter 2022
Guest co-edited by Jill Ehnenn and Heather Bozant Witcher
Since the 1990s, the field of Victorian studies has emphasized the impact of visual culture upon historical and literary contexts. From Jonathan Crary’s Techniques of the Observer: On Vision and Modernity in the Nineteenth Century (1990) to Nancy Armstrong’s Fiction in the Age of Photography (1999) to Kate Flint’s The Victorians and the Visual Imagination (2000), to Jonathan Potter’s Discourses of Vision in Nineteenth-Century Britain (2018) conversations surrounding the modernization of vision and the intersections between the visual and the verbal are ongoing. However, these conversations have often focused largely on genres other than poetry. How might looking at the intersections of the Victorian visual imagination and the field of nineteenth century poetry provide new insights into continued conversations surrounding both poetics and visual culture? Moreover, how might exploring a range of media expand our conception of the Victorian period as an era of technological advancement and multimodality?
We are particularly interested in exploring
- How recent approaches to Victorian poetry (global Victorians, green approaches, affect studies, queer studies, crip studies, digital humanities, etc.) bring new perspectives to thinking about the visual;
- How poetry enables a nuanced appreciation for visual culture that interrelates sensory modes (words, ideas, tastes, sounds, sights, spectacles), media, and embodied experience;
- Victorian privileging of aesthetic judgments and the creation (or dismantling) of binaries and competing epistemologies