The Function of Biblical and Ecclesiastical Vocabularies in E.Nesbit’s Poetry

by Anna Blanch on April 12, 2012

I’m at the Australasian Victorian Studies Association Conference in Brisbane for the next couple of days.I’m delivering a paper about Nesbit’s use of biblical imagery and ecclesiastical vocabularies. There are lots of great papers slated for AVSA, so if the Victorian era is your deal, take a look at the full schedule and abstracts. I’m looking forward to getting to know some scholars from the Australasian region who are interested in the time period i’ve spent the last five years working on!

I’m also excited to visit Griffith University for the first time. The campus houses both the Queensland Conservatorium and the Queensland College of Art. The Conservatorium is next to the Queensland Performing Arts Complex at the western end of the Southbank parklands. The State Library of Queensland, the Queensland Museum and the Gallery of Modern Art are all at this end of the parklands. Hopefully, I’ll also get some time in the museums in the midst of conferencing and spending some quality time with some family.

For those that might be interested, here is the abstract for my paper:

The Function of Biblical and Ecclesiastical Vocabularies in E.Nesbit’s Poetry

Anna M Blanch

University of St Andrews, Scotland

Although E. Nesbit (1858-1924) is best known as a pioneer of fantasy literature for children, her work also includes novels for adults, public lectures, short pieces in Victorian periodicals, and over a dozen collections of poetry.  Through an examination of Songs of Love and Empire (1898) and Ballads and Lyrics of Socialism (1908) this paper will consider Nesbit’s appropriation of vocabulary and imagery usually associated with worship or religious and devotional practice for political ends, specifically the promotion of the Fabian Socialist cause. This paper will offer a reading that reconciles Nesbit’s recourse to biblical imagery and ecclesiastical vocabularies with prevailing scholarship, which has dismissed her poetry as socialist propaganda. In light of her repurposing of potent religious metaphors and Victorian ecclesiastical vocabularies, this paper will argue that consideration of theological and religious elements in her fiction and poetry is long overdue.

 

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