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Tennyson's RaptureTransformation in the Victorian Dramatic Monologue$
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Cornelia D. J. Pearsall

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780195150544

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150544.001.0001

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THE POETICS AND POLITICS OF THE DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE

THE POETICS AND POLITICS OF THE DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE

Chapter:
(p.19) 1 THE POETICS AND POLITICS OF THE DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE
Source:
Tennyson's Rapture
Author(s):

Cornelia Pearsall (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150544.003.0002

Pearsall argues against the prevailing critical conception of dramatic monologists as inadvertent in their revelations and ignorant of the consequences of their speech, suggesting instead that dramatic monologists are highly purposeful in their speech, employing sophisticated rhetorical strategies in order to effect political and personal transformation, or “rapture.” The author divides Chapter One into two major sections. The first section, “Poetics: Persuasive Similitude,” offers a new approach to reading all Victorian dramatic monologues, identifying the trope of simile as a defining element of the genre, and arguing that monologists seek to perform a range of acts by way of their speech. The second section, “Politics: Whig Poetics,” details the relevance of Britain’s Whig Party and the furor surrounding the passage of the 1832 Reform Bill to Tennyson’s poetic development. Pearsall illuminates the ways in which Tennyson’s Whig political views were influenced by Arthur Henry Hallam, and helped shape his poetry both thematically and formally.

Keywords:   dramatic monologue, rapture, transformation Whig Party, Reform Bill, Arthur Henry Hallam, speech act theory, simile

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