What Are the Characteristics of Victorian Period Poetry?


Following in the footsteps of their Romantic forefathers, Victorian poets focused on themes of skepticism and distrust of organized religion. Their poetry is imbued with a fascination of the occult and mysterious. However, unlike the Romantics, the Victorian poets were more likely to deny the existence of God through scientific means. Their poetry was more light-hearted and humorous, often whimsical or nonsensical.

The Victorian period refers specifically to Queen Victoria's reign, which lasted from 1837 to 1901. Although the Victorians are remembered today for being repressed and highly valuing conformity, the era saw a sudden interest among women in writing poetry and produced several famous female poets. Emily Bronte, who is best remembered for her novel "Wuthering Heights," was a prolific poet whose work focused on the struggles that Victorian women endured. Other famous poets are Elizabeth Browning and Christina Rossetti.

Other common themes in Victorian poetry include a struggle to resolve a conflicted sense of self and a deep nostalgic regret for the past.

During the Victorian era, the sonnet grew in popularity, which in turn causes historians and scholars to label this time period as a bridge between the Romantics of the 18th century and the modernists of the 20th.