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Victorian Villanelle

Ronald E. McFarland
Victorian Poetry
Vol. 20, No. 2 (Summer, 1982), pp. 125-138
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40002150
Page Count: 14
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Victorian Villanelle
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Abstract

An important aspect of Aestheticism in the last third of the nineteenth century in England was the importation of verse forms from French poetry. The villanelle, which had reentered French verse after an absence of some two hundred years, was introduced to English poetry by Edmund Gosse in 1877 and was carried through its initial stages of development by such poets as Austin Dobson, Oscar Wilde, Andrew Lang, W. E. Henley, and Ernest Dowson. Although the subject matter of the villanelle was largely restricted to the trivial by these poets, John Davidson's contribution showed that the form could tolerate a level of seriousness that would appear eventually in the works of such twentieth-century masters of the form as W. H. Auden, Dylan Thomas, and Theodore Roethke.

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