‘Fading Crimean Flowers’: Spasmodic Sonnets on the War

 

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Abstract


In their refusal to aestheticise Crimean warfare, as most of their fellow poets and newspapermen had done, Sydney Dobell and Alexander Smith, in the co-authored Sonnets on the War (1855) present a harrowing a picture of the conflict from myriad viewpoints, all of which deny the patriotism and hawkishness implicit in glamorising armed conflict. This poly-vocalic collection pushes more boundaries than has previously been noticed. The choice of form, itself a commentary – this isn’t a war fit for epic – the emphasis on women’s roles, and the anonymous and ventriloquised voicing announce departures from conventions of martial verse, and also from what we have heretofore understood about these poets’ careers. 

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Willett, Mischa. ‘Fading Crimean Flowers’: Spasmodic Sonnets on the War. Victoriographies, Jun 2018, vo. 8, No. 2 : pp. 135-150.

 https://doi.org/10.3366/vic.2018.0302

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