Science in neo-Victorian poetry
- Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
This article considers the work of three contemporary poets and their engagement, in verse, with Victorian science. Beginning with the outlandish ‘theories’ of Mick Imlah’s ‘The Zoologist’s Bath’ (1983), it moves on to two works of biografiction – Anthony Thwaite’s poem ‘At Marychurch’ (1980), which outlines Philip Henry Gosse’s doomed attempts to unite evolution and Christianity, and Ruth Padel’s Darwin: A Life in Poems (2009). Starting off with John Glendening’s idea that science in neo-Victorian fiction, if fully embraced, provides an opportunity for self-revelation to characters, this article explores the rather less happy resolutions of each of these poems, while in addition discussing the ways in which these poems perform the formal changes and mutability discussed within them.