1st Edition

Victorian Pets and Poetry

Edited By Kevin A. Morrison Copyright 2021
    220 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    220 Pages 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Some of the most celebrated poets of the Victorian era wrote—at times movingly or humorously—about their pets. They did so in a wider literary context, for poetry about pets was ubiquitous in the period. Animal welfare organizations utilized poems about canine and feline suffering in institutional publications to call attention to various abuses. Elegies and epitaphs over the loss of a beloved cat, songbird, or dog were printed on funeral cards, tombstones, and appeared in mass-produced poetry collections as well as those intended for an intimate circle of friends. Yet poems about pets, as well as attendant issues such as breeding and overpopulation, have not received the kind of critical analysis devoted to fictional works and short stories. With an introduction, afterword, and eight essays offering new perspectives on significant as well as lesser known poems, Victorian Pets and Poetry remedies this omission.


    List of Illustrations

    A note on Spelling



    Pet and Poet

    Kevin A. Morrison

    Part One: "Pedigree, Breed, and Verse"

    Chapter One

    Rethinking Pedigree in Victorian Women’s Dog Poems

    Fabienne Moine

    Chapter Two

    "Easily domesticated and bred": Canary Poetry in Victorian Periodicals

    Catherine Burton

    Chapter Three

    Empathy and Kinship: Animal Poetry and Humane Societies during the Victorian Age

    Chelsea Medlock

    Part Two: "Illness, Death, and Companion Species"

    Chapter Four

    "Darling, Darling Little Flushie": Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s Dog Love

    Kevin A. Morrison

    Chapter Five

    Still Lives: Apologetic Mourning in Victorian Dog Elegies

    Keridiana Chez

    Chapter Six

    Grave Thoughts: Thomas Hardy’s Elegies for Dead Pets

    Christine Roth

    Part Three: "Decadence, Symbolism, and the Dog"

    Chapter Seven

    Dog and Dogma: Canine Catholicism in Michael Field’s Whym Chow: Flame of Love

    Matthew Margini

    Chapter Eight

    The Symbolist Dog: Arthur Symons Mourns Api

    John Stokes



    Kevin A. Morrison is Provincial Chair Professor, University Distinguished Professor, and Professor of British Literature in the School of Foreign Languages at Henan University. His many publications include the Modern Language Association-award winning Victorian Liberalism and Material Culture: Synergies of Thought and Place as well as A Micro-History of Victorian Liberal Parenting: John Morley’s "Discreet Indifference" and Study-Abroad Pedagogy, Dark Tourism, and Historical Reenactment: In the Footsteps of Jack the Ripper and His Victims.