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Ellen Louise O'Brien
Roosevelt University (Chicago, IL 60605-1394)
Voicing Crime: The Criminal Poetics of the Victorian Era

The Victorian discourse of crime inspired some interesting thematic and formal experiments in Victorian poetry. Both popular and elite poets consistently deployed aestheticized violence and criminal personae in order to address concerns of the age, particularly class conflict, gender difference, and social violence. The topic of crime, in turn, shaped poetic form and language while informing debates about the social role of poetry. In analyzing specific poems and genres, such as street ballads, dramatic monologues, verse drama, and novel-poems, I analyze the complex dialectic between the aesthetics and the cultural politics of crime.

Project fields:
British Literature

Summer Stipends

Research Programs

$5,000 (approved)
$5,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
6/1/2004 – 8/31/2004