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Critical reading

Romantic and Victorian Poetry Module - listed below are resources that can be accessed electronically either via our Library or other open access forums. You may wish to make selective use of them as you prepare your exam substitute task. Your module tutors Emma Francis and Stacey McDowell are also available via email to suggest targeted recommendations for your particular project.

This document provides a list of online resources that may help you to explore your interest in the period and/or be of use when it comes to researching your essays. It’s necessarily quite a catch-all list, so feel free to pick and choose. Most books indicated are sourced to Warwick Library’s e-holdings. A free, global resource has been released by some good citizens based in San Francisco called the Emergency National Library. It has a rich selection of critical and primary texts relevant to the module and can be searched by title, author or key word. All you need to get your virtual library card is to enter your email address and pick a password. Put ‘Internet Archive’ or ‘’ into a search engine and it will come up.


The William Blake Archive

A wonderful collection of digitized illuminated manuscripts, prints, drawings and paintings


For Better for Verse

A ‘fun game’ that lets you scan poems and then check your answers (but don’t worry if you get them wrong – the site has some very fixed views on prosody. I often find my scansion of a given poem differs from the ‘correct’ version on the site – it’s a matter of interpretation not an exact science)


Romantic-Era Songs

If you fancy a Romantic-era singalong to entertain yourselves with during lockdown, this site features theatre and popular songs, catches, airs, and art songs of the Romantic period, as well as some later settings of lyrics and poems of Romantic poets


Women in the Literary Marketplace

An online selection of works by nineteenth-century women writers as well as some contextual information about the literary marketplace


Online Poetry Readings of Wordsworth and Tennyson




The Victorian Web

Some brief introductory essays and archive material related to Victorian literature, culture, gender, politics



NeuRon Romanticism on the Net

A database containing lists of numerous online resources related to the study of Romanticism (worth a browse but be aware that only some, not all, are freely accessible and you could easily lose yourself down a rabbit hole of the more obscure online collections)

Critical Reading

You can search for journal articles on



Project Muse


Books available online via Warwick University Library:


General Topics

Isobel Armstrong, Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics (1993)


Barbara Barrow, Science, Language, and Reform in Victorian Poetry

Political Dialects (2019)


Matthew Bevis, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Poetry (2013)


Joseph Bristow, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry (2002)


Linda K. Hughes, ed., The Cambridge Introduction to Victorian Poetry (2010)


Margaret Homans, Women Writers and Poetic Identity (1980)


Iain McCalman, ed., An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age (1999)


Anne McCarthy, Awful Parenthesis: Suspension and the Sublime in Romantic and Victorian Poetry (2019)


Orianne Smith, Romantic Women Writers, Revolution and Prophecy: Rebellious Daughters 1786-1826 (2013)


Stuart Curran, Poetic Form and British Romanticism (1986)


Single-Author Studies

William McCarthy and Olivia Murphy, eds., Anna Letitia Barbauld: New Perspectives (2014)


Nancy E. Johnson and Paul Keen, eds., Mary Wollstonecraft in Context (2020)


Saree Makdisi, Reading William Blake (2015)


Ewan Jones, Coleridge and the Philosophy of Poetic Form (2014)


Emma Mason, The Cambridge Introduction to Wordsworth (2010)


Lucy Newlyn, William and Dorothy Wordsworth: 'All in Each Other' (2013)


Michael O’Neill, ed. John Keats in Context (2017)


Simon Kövesi and Scott McEathron, eds., New Essays on John Clare (2015)


Nanora Sweet and Julie Melnyk, eds., Felicia Hemans: Reimagining Poetry in the Nineteenth Century (2001)


Seamus Perry, Alfred Tennyson (2019)


David A. Kent, ed., The Achievement of Christina Rossetti (1989)


Maria R. Lichtmann, The Contemplative Poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins (1989)


Naomi Hetherington and Nadia Valman, eds., Amy Levy: Critical Essays (2010)


Marion Thain, 'Michael Field': Poetry, Aestheticism and the Fin de Siècle (2007)


Kerry Powell and Peter Raby, eds., Oscar Wilde in Context (2013)




Essays published in the period - This is the list of contextual and introductory resources we suggested your consult at the start of and during the module. Most of them will be easily available online. If you have them with you your Norton Anthologies also contain salient extracts from a rich array of contemporaneous prose works dealing with aesthetics, poetics, politics, culture and society - have a look through them.


Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origins of our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757)

Mary Wollstonecraft, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792)

William Wordsworth, 'Preface', to the Lyrical Ballads (1802) 

S. T. Coleridge, Biographia Literaria (1817)

John Keats, letter to George and Tom Keats, December 21, 1817; letter to John Hamilton Reynolds, May 3, 1818; letter to Richard Woodhouse, October 27, 1818

P. B. Shelley, A Defence of Poetry (1821)

Thomas Carlyle, 'Signs of the Times' (1829) 

William Johnson Fox, 'Tennyson: Poems, Chiefly Lyrical 1830'

John Stuart Mill, 'What is Poetry?' (1833)

Charles Lyell, Principles of Geology (1830-33) 

Arthur Hallam, ‘On Some Characteristics of Modern Poetry’ (1831)

Robert Buchanan, 'The Fleshly School of Poetry: Mr D. G. Rossetti' (1871)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, 'The Stealthy School of Criticism' (1871)

Coventry Patmore, 'Prefatory Study on English Metrical Law' (1878)

Gerard Manley Hopkins, 'Author's Preface' (1918)

Secondary criticism


M. H. Abrams, The Mirror and the Lamp: Romantic theory and the Critical Tradition (1958)

Isobel Armstrong, Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics, and Politics (1993)

Harold Bloom, The Visionary Company: A Reading of English Romantic Poetry (1961)

Marilyn Butler, Romantics, Rebels and Reactionaries (1982)

Joseph Bristow, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Victorian Poetry (2002)

Cynthia Chase, ed., Romanticism (1993)

Stuart Curran, Poetic Form and British Romanticism (1986)

Richard Cronin et al, ed., A Companion to Victorian Poetry (2002)

Aidan Day, Romanticism (1995)

Paula Feldman and Theresa Kelley, ed., Romantic Women Writers (1995)

Margaret Homans, Women Writers and Poetic Identity (1980)

Linda K. Hughes, The Cambridge Introduction to Victorian Poetry (2010)

Emma Mason and Jonathan Herapath, Nineteenth-Century Poetry: Criticisms and Debates (Routledge: 2016)

Emma Mason, The Cambridge Introduction to Wordsworth (2010)

Iain McCalman, ed., An Oxford Companion to the Romantic Age (1999)

Anne Mellor, Romanticism and Gender (1993)

Marlon B. Ross, The Contours of Masculine Desire: Romanticism and the Rise of Women's Poetry (1989)

Sharon Ruston, Romanticism (2007)

Jason Rudy, Electric Meters: Victorian Physiological Poetics (2010)

Janet Todd, Sensibility: An Introduction (1986)

Raymond Williams, Culture and Society 1780-1950 (1958)