Little Songs: Women, Silence, and the Nineteenth-century Sonnet

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Ohio State University Press, 2007 - 199 pages
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In Little Songs: Women, Silence, and the Nineteenth-Century Sonnet, Amy Christine Billone analyzes the bond between lyric poetry and silence in women┐s sonnets ranging from the late eighteenth-century works of Charlotte Smith, Helen Maria Williams, and Anna Maria Smallpiece to Victorian texts by Elizabeth Barrett, Christina Rossetti, Isabella Southern, and other, lesser-known female poets. Although scholars acknowledge that women initiated the sonnet revival in England, Little Songs is the only major study of nineteenth-century female sonneteers. Billone argues not that women┐s sonnets overcame silence in favor of lyrical speech during the nineteenth-century sonnet revival, but rather that women simultaneously posited both muteness and volubility through style and theme. In opposition to criticism that stresses a modern shift from compensatory to non-consolatory poems of mourning, Billone demonstrates how women invented contemporary elegiac poetics a century in advance. Adding to critical interest in the alliance between silence and literature, this book offers a complex study of the overwhelming impact that silence makes, not only on British women┐s poetry, but also on the development of modern poetry and intellectual inquiry. Ultimately, Little Songs illustrates how the turn away from the kind of silence that preoccupied nineteenth-century women poets introduced the start of twentieth-century thought.

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Contents

CHAPTER
10
Elizabeth Barretts Sonnet Turn
47
CHAPTER 3
54
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Amy Christine Billone is an assistant professor of English at the University of Tennessee.

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