Edinburgh Research Explorer

The time of W. E. Henley: 'Minor poetry' and the 1880s

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNineteenth Century Literature in Transition
Subtitle of host publicationThe 1880s
EditorsPenny Fielding, Andrew Taylor
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)9781316855546
Publication statusPublished - 17 Oct 2019


As the long shadow of Tennyson began to retreat in the 1880s, poetry found itself without clear directions for form or content. The temporality of the decade is a kind of anti-teleological anticipation--poets felt that something new needed to happen, but what that advent was remained unspecified. These conditions left a space for ‘minor poetry’, a term that implies not a position on a scale of value but a field of innovation and experimentation. This chapter first surveys the way this shifting ground is captured in anthologies, and discusses how the poetry of the decade resists easy capture in literary history. It then goes on to explore how the temporality of the 1880s is reflected in W. E. Henley’s ‘In Hospital’ sequence of lyric poems.

    Research areas

  • minor poetry, anthologies, Louis Untermeyer, Arthur Symons, W. E. Henley, lyric, temporality

ID: 53153760