Our AGM and Founder’s Day Lecture on 29 October features Dr Serena Trowbridge. Her lecture is entitled ‘The Poetry of Elizabeth Siddal’.
Venue: Birmingham and Midland Institute, Margaret Street, Birmingham – AGM starts at 10.30 a.m. – Lecture starts at 12.00 p.m.
Few female figures of the nineteenth century have engaged the popular imagination as much as that of Elizabeth Siddal. For most people, their first experience of Siddal is as a model. Her life seems to be of more interest than her work, however; she seems to exist in our consciousness of the Victorian period as a woman who represents the repressed, neglected and ‘fallen’ females of the time. The myths about her abound, yet these views are stereotypes and barely scratch the surface. Increasingly her drawing and painting is seriously studied, but her poetry less so. Why is it so difficult to take Siddal’s poems seriously? This lecture will examine Siddal’s poems, and suggest some ways in which it might be possible to take her writing seriously, looking at her skill as a poet and also ways in which her style was shaped by those around her. Although there are few poems extant, there is enough to give an idea of the kind of poet she was, and to draw some wider conclusions about her work in relation to Pre-Raphaelitism, Victorian medievalism and also the poems of Christina Rossetti.
Dr Serena Trowbridge is Lecturer in English Literature at Birmingham City University, and the Editor of the Review of the Pre-Raphaelite Society. Her books include Pre-Raphaelite Masculinities (with Amelia Yeates), Christina Rossetti’s Gothic, and Insanity.
Please email info@Pre‑Raphaelitesociety.org for details.