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date: 15 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This article deals with women's elegies from the Victorian era to the present. The economies of mourning associated with love and loss, sorrow, introjection, and transcendence have tended to equate ‘elegiac discourse’ with the singularity of the mourner and the compensatory work, however questionable, of aesthetic replacement. The women's elegies in the nineteenth-century and the gendered politics of mourning are evaluated. In the ‘new world’ of pain marked by transnational violence and trauma, it finds renewed debates about pathos and the public, echoes of an unfinished modern sentimental which has not yet resolved its relationship to an affective poetics and politics of grief. Poets and critics arguing for reclaiming women's laments do not necessarily accept the narrative of rupture that has separated the nineteenth-century sentimental tradition, with its emphasis on transcendent suffering.

Keywords: women's elegies, female authorship, suffering, mourning, gendered politics

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