Victorian poetry is the poetry written during the period of Queen Victoria’s reign (1837-1901). During The Victorian age, numerous poetic ideals were developed, such as the increased use of the sonnet as a poetic form. Victorian poetry resembles the works of the Romantics, as such Romantic writers as William Blake, Keats, W. Wordsworth and Shelley had an immense impact on the Victorian poets. These two periods have a lot in common: skepticism, interest in everything mysterious, distrust of organized religion.
One of the most significant accomplishments of the Victorian Era is the appearance of female poets. There were few female poets before, as poetry was considered to be predominantly male occupation. Despite these views, works of such poets as Elizabeth Browning, Christina Rossetti, and the Bronte sisters became famous during The Victorian Age.
Speaking about male poets, such figures as Alfred Tennyson, Matthew Arnold and Robert Browning should be mentioned. Among the Victorians, Alfred Tennyson (1809-1892) enjoyed the greatest popularity. He wrote on a variety of topics, including religion and ethics. His poetry responded to all the issues and concerns of the Victorian society and reflected moods and attitudes of the Britons.
Matthew Arnold (1822-1888) has never been as popular as Tennyson. He did not feel a part of the time in which he lived, and in his nonfiction works (“Culture and Anarchy”, “Literature and Dogma”) sharply criticized the British Society for immorality and lack of culture, idealizing ancient civilization.
Robert Browning (1812-1889), too, felt like a stranger in Victorian England. Together with his wife Elizabeth Barrett Browning, also a recognized poet, he lived in Italy for a long time, and even when he returned home, he did not write about England. His style of writing is easily recognizable: complex poetic language, abrupt changes of rhythm, syntax and mood. He put the freedom and spiritual emancipation of the individual above all and was interested in moral and spiritual conflicts.
Victorian Poetry was a very crucial period in the history of poetry, as it linked Romanticism and Modernism of the 20th century. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult to identify to which epoch this or that poet belongs, as it is not easy to categorize them all in these broad movements.