Barrow’s timely book is the first to examine the link between Victorian poetry, the study of language, and political reform. Focusing on a range of literary, scientific, and political texts, Barrow demonstrates that nineteenth-century debates about language played a key role in shaping emergent ideas about popular sovereignty. While Victorian scientists studied the origins of speech, the history of dialects, and the barrier between human and animal language, poets such as Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Alfred Tennyson, and Thomas Hardy drew on this research to explore social unrest, the expansion of the electorate, and the ever-widening boundaries of empire. Science, Language, and Reform in Victorian Poetry recovers unacknowledged links between poetry, philology, and political culture, and contributes to recent movements in literary studies that combine historicist and formalist approaches.
The Nineteenth Century Series aims to develop and promote new approaches and fresh directions in scholarship and criticism on nineteenth-century literature and culture. The series encourages work which erodes the traditional boundary between Romantic and Victorian studies and welcomes interdisciplinary approaches to the literary, religious, scientific and visual cultures of the period. While British literature and culture are the core subject matter of monographs and collections in the series, the editors encourage proposals which explore the wider, international contexts of nineteenth-century literature – transatlantic, European and global. Print culture, including studies in the newspaper and periodical press, book history, life writing and gender studies are particular strengths of this established series as are high quality single author studies. The series also embraces research in the field of digital humanities. The editors invite proposals from both younger and established scholars in all areas of nineteenth-century literary studies.