Academics | Research | Response Magazine

Writing instructor examines Victorian poets’ feud in article

Instructor of Writing Mischa Willett published “‘A Hateful Cawing from the Crows’: Collateral Damage in the Culture Wars” in the journal Victorian Literature and Culture.

The article examines “Firmilian,” an 1854 poem that has been praised as “one of the most successful pieces of literary criticism ever.” The poem criticizes individual poets popular during the summer it was published. However, in spite of its critiques, the poem did not damage the other poets’ reputations — so Willett suggests that “Firmilian” was not successful as criticism, though it did launch a new way of writing poetry.


This article originally appeared on page 14 of the autumn 2018 issue of Response with the headline, “Warring poets.” Illustration by Jacob Melton.

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