Augusta Webster: Portraits and Other Poems
  • Publication Date: March 2, 2000
  • ISBN: 9781551111643 / 1551111640
  • 423 pages; 5½" x 8½"

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Augusta Webster: Portraits and Other Poems

  • Publication Date: March 2, 2000
  • ISBN: 9781551111643 / 1551111640
  • 423 pages; 5½" x 8½"

Augusta Webster was very widely praised in her own time—Christina Rossetti thought her “by far the most formidable” woman poet. Her work has again come into favour, so much so that Isobel Armstrong and her co-editors of the influential anthology, Nineteenth-Century Women Poets, declare that “there can be no doubt that Augusta Webster ranks as one of the great Victorian poets.” This collection is the first edition of Webster’s poems since 1895. It is a selection of her best work, emphasizing her powerful dramatic monologues and including a substantial number of her lyrics. With an introduction and background documents that highlight the distinctiveness of her work, this edition will help to re-establish Augusta Webster as a major figure of nineteenth-century English literature.


“Augusta Webster’s powerful and witty, disarmingly casual essays incisively explore such topics as the creation of selfhood, the social constraints that mar women’s happiness, and the struggle for women’s rights. Reintroducing Webster’s writings after a century of neglect, Christine Sutphin provides generous, well-chosen selections of both poetry and prose as well as an informative introduction and useful supplementary materials. Anyone interested in Victorian poetry, women’s writing, or nineteenth-century feminism will appreciate this extremely interesting volume by an important Victorian writer.” — Dorothy Mermin, Cornell University

Works Cited
Augusta Webster: A Brief Chronology
A Note on the Text


From Dramatic Studies (1866)

  • Jeanne D’Arc
    Sister Annunciata—
    1. An Anniversary
    2. Abbess Ursula’s Lecture
  • The Snow Waste
    With the Dead
    By the Looking-Glass

From A Woman Sold and Other Poems (1867)

  • A Woman Sold—
    1. Eleanor Vaughan
    2. Lady Boycott
  • From Anno Domini 33
    • Pilate
  • The Old Year Out and the New Year In
    Too Faithful
    To One of Many
    To and Fro

From Portraits (first edition 1870; enlarged edition, 1893):

  • Medea in Athens
    The Happiest Girl in the World
    A Castaway
    A Soul in Prison
    Coming Home
    In an Almshouse
    A Preacher
    A Painter
    An Inventor
    A Dilettante

Yu-Pe-Ya’s Lute. A Chinese Tale in English Verse (1874)

From A Book of Rhyme (1881):

  • Poulain the Prisoner
    Not Love
    English Rispetti

Mother and Daughter. An Uncompleted Sonnet Sequence (1895)

Appendix A: A Selection of Essays from A Housewife’s Opinions (1879):

  • A Transcript and a Transcription
    Poets and Personal Pronouns
    University Degrees for Women
    Protection for the Working Woman
    Husband-Hunting and Match-Making
    The Dearth of Husbands
    An Irrepressible Army
    Parliamentary Franchise for Women

Appendix B: Contemporary Reviews

Review of Dramatic Studies

  • from the Reader (June 2, 1866)
    from the Nonconformist (June 27, 1866)
    from the Athenaeum (August 11, 1866)
    from the Westminster Review (October 1866)
    from the Contemporary Review (December, 1866)

Review of A Woman Sold from the Saturday Review (February 9, 1867)

Review of Portraits from the Westminster Review (April 1, 1870)

  • from the Nonconformist (May 11, 1870)
    from the Examiner and London Review (May 21, 1870)

Review of Portraits (1893 edition) and Selections from the Verse of Augusta Webster from the Athenaeum (August 26, 1893)

Christine Sutphin a Professor of English at Central Washington University, has published widely on Victorian women writers.