Chapter

THE POETICS AND POLITICS OF THE DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE

Cornelia Pearsall

in Tennyson's Rapture

Published in print February 2008 | ISBN: 9780195150544
Published online January 2008 | e-ISBN: 9780199871124 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195150544.003.0002
 THE POETICS AND POLITICS OF THE DRAMATIC MONOLOGUE

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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

Chapter.  16159 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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