“Varied Forms Pass Glitt’ring”: Violet Fane’s Denzil Place: A Story in Verse

  • Terence Allan Hoagwood
  • Kathryn Ledbetter


Three salient characteristics of Violet Fane’s poetic work appear with clarity and brevity in “Lancelot and Guinevere,” and the first is a contrast of male and female points of view:


Happy Ending Human Vegetable Literary Meaning English Life Verbal Irony 
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  1. 1.
    Violet Fane, “Lancelot and Guinevere,” in From Dawn to Noon (1872; London: Longmans and Co.; New York: G.W. Carlton & Co., 1881), 141. “Violet Fane” is a pseudonym that appears in books by Mary Montgomerie Lamb, granddaughter of the eleventh Earl of Eglinton. A biographical essay in her Poems by Violet Fane, 2 vols. (London: John C. Nimmo, 1892) says that her father “was himself a verse-writer” and that “her mother was a highly intellectual and accomplished woman” (1: vi). In 1864 she married Henry Sydenham Singleton, “an Irish landowner” (DNB). In 1872 her book From Dawn to Noon appeared, containing sixty-one poems, and in 1875 Denzil Place: A Story in Verse. She published altogether seven collections of poetry, three novels (three volumes each), one play, and a collection of essays. She was a correspondent of Matthew Arnold and Oscar Wilde, and in 1894, a year after Singleton’s death, she married Sir Philip Henry Wodehouse Currie, who was appointed British Ambassador to Constantinople. She lived in Constantinople during the Armenian revolt, massacres in the city, and a revolt in Crete, after which Currie was transferred to Rome. She died in England in 1905. See the introductory essay by Terence Allan Hoagwood and Nicole Stewart in Fane, Denzil Place (Delmar, NY: Scholars’ Facsimiles, 1996), 3–11.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Fane, Denzil Place: A Story in Verse (London: Chapman and Hall, 1875). This book is available in a facsimile edition with an introduction by Terence Hoagwood and Nicole Stewart (Delmar, NY: Scholars’ Facsimiles and Reprints, 1996).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    William Morris, The Defense of Guenevere and Other Poems (London: Bell & Daldy, 1858).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    See, e.g., McGann, A Critique of Modern Textual Criticism (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1983); The Beauty of Inflections: Literary Investigations in Historical Method and Theory (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1985); Social Values and Poetic Acts: The Historical Judgment of Literary Work (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988); Towards a Literature of Knowledge (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989); The Textual Condition (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1991); Black Riders: The Visible Language of Modernism (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1993).Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    This autographed presentation copy is located at the Humanities Research Center in the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, Austin. For Housman’s principles of textual criticism, see, e.g., “The Name and Nature of Poetry” and Other Selected Prose, ed. John Carter (1961; New York: New Amsterdam Books, 1989), 36.Google Scholar
  6. and Terence Allan Hoagwood, A. E. Housman Revisited (New York: Simon and Schuster Macmillan, 1995), 36–38.Google Scholar
  7. 8.
    On this feminist poetic tradition, see Nanora Sweet, “The Bowl of Liberty: Felicia Hemans and the Romantic Mediterranean,” DAI 54, no. 7 (1994):2593A;Google Scholar
  8. Sweet, “History, Imperialism, and the Aesthetics of the Beautiful: Hemans and the Post-Napoleonic Moment,” in At the Limits of Romanticism: Essays in Cultural, Feminist, and Materialist Criticism, ed. Mary Favret and Nicola Watson (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994);Google Scholar
  9. and Sweet, “‘Lorenzo’s’ Liverpool and ‘Corinne’s’ Coppet: The Italianate Salon and Romantic Education,” in Lessons of Romanticism: A Critical Companion, ed. Thomas Pfau (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1998), 244–60.Google Scholar
  10. 11.
    Paul Henri Thiry, Baron d’Holbach, The System of Nature; or, Laws of the Moral and Physical World, tr. H.D. Robinson (1835; rpt [2 vols.] Kitchener: Batoche Books, 2001); and Thomas Paine, The Age of Reason (London: R. Carlile, 1819)—for publishing this edition, Carlile was tried for blasphemy.Google Scholar
  11. On the influence of Holbach’s arguments about superstition, especially on Shelley and on William Blake, see Terence Allan Hoagwood, Prophecy and the Philosophy of Mind: Traditions of Blake and Shelley (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1985), 7–9;Google Scholar
  12. and Hoagwood, Skepticism and Ideology: Shelley’s Political Prose and Its Philosophical Context from Bacon to Marx (Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1988), 163–65 and passim.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    On Rossetti’s polemical art and its relation to “the contemporary scene,” see Jerome McGann, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and the Game that Must Be Lost (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2000): his work is best understood in the context of a critique of cultural forms that were (and are) attendant on an economy of exchange value—“consumerist, imperial, and spectacular” (9–11).Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Thomas McFarland, Originality and, Imagination (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985).Google Scholar

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© Terence Allan Hoagwood and Kathryn Ledbetter 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terence Allan Hoagwood
  • Kathryn Ledbetter

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