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date: 08 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article analyzes syntax in the following poems: Tennyson’s ‘Tears, Idle Tears’ (included in The Princess but probably a poem of the 1830s), Browning’s ‘Two in the Campagna’ (1855), Christina Rossetti’s ‘Winter Rain’ (1862), and Michael Field’s ‘Ebbtide at Sundown’ (1908). These four poems existed in an era that was gradually losing a culturally shared language for the ineffable of teleological religious experience—literally a grammar of assent—and seeking another that would search into other forms of the ineffable. These other, secular, and sceptical forms of the ineffable are the unconscious, the sources of emotion, the pairing of Eros and death, the mystery of cause and effect in the created world, the phenomenology of thought processes, its connection with the unconscious and the association of ideas, the temporality of perception, the nature of desire and memory, longing and regret. How does the ‘articulate energy’ of syntax explore these themes?

Keywords: poems, Victorian poetry, articulate energy, religious experience, ineffable, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, Christina Rossetti, Michael Field

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