Electric Meters: Victorian Physiological Poetics
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Victorian poetry shocks with the physicality of its formal effects, linking the rhythms of the human body to the natural pulsation of the universe. In "Electric Meters: Victorian Physiological Poetics "Jason R. Rudy connects formal poetic innovations to developments in the electrical and physiological sciences, arguing that the electrical sciences and bodily poetics cannot be separated, and that they came together with special force in the years between the 1830s, which witnessed the invention of the electric telegraph, and the 1870s, when James Clerk Maxwell s electric field theory transformed the study of electrodynamics.
Combining formal poetic analysis with cultural history, Rudy traces the development of Victorian physiological poetics from the Romantic poetess tradition through to the works of Alfred Tennyson, the Spasmodic poets, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Gerard Manley Hopkins, and Algernon Swinburne, among others. He demonstrates how poetic rhythm came increasingly to be understood throughout the nineteenth century as a physiological mechanism, as poets across class, sex, and national boundaries engaged intensely and in a variety of ways with the human body s subtle response to rhythmic patterns. Whether that opportunity for transcendence was interpersonal or spiritual in nature, nineteenth century poets looked to electricity as a model for overcoming boundaries, for communicating across the gaps between sound and sense, between emotion and thought, and perhaps between individuals in the modern world.
"Electric Meters" will appeal to those interested in poetry of any period and particularly those interested in nineteenth century culture and history."
Ohio University Press
April 01, 2009
6.2 X 9.2 X 0.8 inches | 0.01 pounds
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About the Author
Jason R. Rudy is an assistant professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park.