Charlotte Mew's Poetic Voice

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Charlotte Mew (1869-1928) is the first selected woman poet in this study. Writing in the last decade of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth, Mew’s poetry straddles the fin de siècle and early modernist periods. Thus Victorian and feminist approaches are used in examining her poetry.
Mew's poetic voice is an integral link in women's writing from the end of the nineteenth century into the first two decades of the twentieth century in that it enables contemporary literary criticism to trace the outline of a women's tradition spanning both the Victorian and Modem canons from Barrett Browning and Rossetti to H.D . across the divisions created by notions of Victorian and Modern. It challenges the orthodoxy of division
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It highlights the problem of placing women in a predominantly male literary tradition, raises questions as to the possibility of a woman's tradition and the relationship between the woman's tradition and the canon. Mew's work shows us the way in which women writers interact with the male tradition to draw attention to its prejudices, gaps and discrepancies. Her writing informs our understanding of poetic tradition while maintaining its own unusual and distinct poetic voice.
The major feminist trace that can be examined in her poetry is her challenging and sympathetic representation of gender and sexuality culminated in the image of the fallen woman- a common Victorian theme- and lesbianism. Mew revises the image of a woman either as a whore or an angel. To investigate this theme, an introduction to Victorian and early twentieth century frame of thoughts concerning women is necessary.
Some studies have been made about this theme in Mew's poetry but most of them focus on how her sexual preferences can be seen in her writing focusing more on her fiction rather than poetry. This study looks at this theme in her more popular
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She was intensely sympathetic. She was immensely charming. She was utterly unselfish. She excelled in the difficult arts of family life. She sacrificed herself daily. If there was chicken, she took the leg; if there was a draught she sat in it—in short she was so constituted that she never had a mind or a wish of her own, but preferred to sympathize always with the minds and wishes of others. Above all—I need not say it—– she was pure. Her purity was supposed to be her chief beauty—her blushes, her great grace. In those days—the last of Queen Victoria—every house had its Angel

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