Abstract

This essay explores the public dimensions of the Victorian dramatic monologue through its investment in endings. The elision of the end of the poem and the end of a character adumbrates a critically neglected relationship between character and poetic address in the Victorian period. In poems by Robert Browning, Alfred Tennyson, Augusta Webster, and others, their speakers’ valedictions prove to be their constitutive acts, eliding narrative closure and imagined reception in order to produce a self that circulates. Connecting the development of the dramatic monologue as a genre to Victorian anxieties about the multiplication of reading publics, the essay demonstrates how speakers’ carefully fashioned conclusions test the forms of relation between poets and reading publics.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 1135-1158
Launched on MUSE
2016-12-08
Open Access
No
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