Emblematic Strategies in Pre-Raphaelite Literature


In this book, Heather McAlpine argues that emblematic strategies play a more central role in Pre-Raphaelite poetics than has been acknowledged, and that reading Pre-Raphaelite works with an awareness of these strategies permits a new understanding of the movement’s engagements with ontology, religion, representation, and politics. The emblem is a discursive practice that promises to stabilize language in the face of doubt, making it especially interesting as a site of conflicting responses to Victorian crises of representation. Through analyses of works by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Christina Rossetti, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Gerard Manley Hopkins, A.C. Swinburne, and William Morris, Emblematic Strategies examines the Pre-Raphaelite movement’s common goal of conveying “truth” while highlighting differences in its adherents’ approaches to that task.

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Biographical Note

Heather McAlpine, Ph.D. (University of Ottawa, 2009), is an Associate Professor of English at the University of the Fraser Valley in Abbotsford, British Columbia. She has published articles on Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Christina Rossetti, and The Germ.


Scholars of Victorian literature, art, history, culture, and politics; emblem scholars; book history scholars.

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