Beginning with John Keats and tracing a line of influence through Alfred Lord Tennyson and Gerard Manley Hopkins, Betsy Tontiplaphol draws on established narratives of the nineteenth century's social and literary developments to describe the relationship between poetics and luxury in an age when imperial trade and domestic consumerism reached a fevered pitch. The "luscious poem," as Tontiplaphol defines it, is a subset of the luxurious, a category that suggests richness in combination with enclosure and intimacy. For Keats, Tontiplaphol suggests, the psychological virtues of luscious experience generated a new poetics, one that combined his Romantic predecessors' sense of the ameliorative power of poetry with his own revaluation of space, both physical and prosodic. Her approach blends cultural context with close attention to the formal and affective qualities of poetry as she describes the efforts of Keats and his equally”though differently”anxious Victorian inheritors to develop textual spaces as luscious as the ones their language describes. For all three poets, that effort entailed rediscovering and reinterpreting the list, or catalogue, and each chapter's textual and formal analyses are offered in counterpoint to careful examination of the century's luscious materialities. Her book is at once a study of influence, a socio-historical critique, and a form-focused assessment of three century-defining voices.
Betsy Winakur Tontiplaphol is Assistant Professor of English at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, where she teaches courses in nineteenth-century British literature, especially poetry.
'Tontiplaphol defines a poetics of luxury that makes a significant contribution to our understanding of Victorian poetry.' N-NOL19 'Poetics of Luxury is always accessible, ambitious, and interesting.' Victorian Studies '... as [Tontiplaphol’s] chapters progress, and each new poet is introduced, layers are added to her arguments, which finally draw together to make up [...] an intriguing whole.' BARS Bulletin ’... sections of the book function as something close to a poetically rich biography... compelling, and point[s] the way towards future work on the relationship between literature and commodity culture.’ Tennyson Research Bulletin