McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts
Danielle St Hilaire
Barbauld, Barker, Leapor, Milton, Rowe, Visionary Poetics
In the wake of three decades of critical recovery work, which has restored poems by women and working-class poets to the British canon, critic Joseph Wittreich's groundbreaking critical model about visionary poetics now may be enhanced in order to reveal a more expansive and fluid Miltonic presence, particularly within much eighteenth-century visionary verse. This dissertation applies and at times refocuses Wittreich to achieve a clearer picture of how visionary poetry developed in Britain after Milton, accounting for key poetic visions by several women poets who wrote during the long eighteenth century. The visionary poetics of Jane Barker, Elizabeth Rowe, Mary Leapor, and Anna Barbauld are considered in an intertextual and cultural framework to suggest that the visionary mode, especially as practiced by these women poets, supplements political agency and elides barriers between the public and the private spheres. The visionary poetics studied in this dissertation generated a hermeneutic of engagement that allowed otherwise disenfranchised women to politicize a private religious consciousness while at the same time underscoring the public nature of religion in the long eighteenth century.
Vickless, M. (2015). Visionary Nonconformity: Miltonic Resonances and the Poetics of Religious Dissent in the Long Eighteenth Century (Doctoral dissertation, Duquesne University). Retrieved from https://dsc.duq.edu/etd/1311