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Department of English and Humanities, Birkbeck, University of London
A Challenge to the fin de siècle poem: Four alternative fin de siècle poets - Hardy, Field, Meynell, Kipling

Generally dominated by the Aesthetic Movement and Decadent poets, mainly male, in critical discussion, I suggest that late nineteenth-century poetry was more varied and experimental than our customary frameworks suggest. I work with late-century Darwin to provide another model for reading these poets.


Professor Isobel Armstrong is a fellow of the British Academy, Senior Research Fellow of the Institute of English Studies and Professor Emeritus of what is now the Geoffrey Tillotson Chair.

During her time at Birkbeck, continuing the powerful tradition of nineteenth-century studies established by Geoffrey Tillotson, Barbara Hardy and Michael Slater, she founded the London seminar for Nineteenth-Century Studies and the Centre for Nineteenth-Century Studies (of whose committee she is still a member). She has published widely on nineteenth-century studies (in particular Victorian Poetry: Poetry, Poetics and Politics, 1996) and theory (see The Radical Aesthetic, 2000). Her book, Victorian Glassworlds. Glass Culture and the Imagination (2008) won the Modern Language Association's James Russell Lowell Prize in 2009. She gave the British Academy Warton Lecture on Poetry in 2011. Her Novel Politics. Democratic Imaginations in Nineteenth Century Fiction was published by Oxford in 2016. 'During retirement she has taught at the Universities of Harvard, Johns Hopkins and Princeton and spoken at international conferences. She is a published poet. Isobel has recently been elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS).