Molly Molly Oxenfree: Uncovering Queer Poets of the 19th Century




Lowey, Braedon George

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University of Victoria


This project surveyed periodical poetry published in journals, newspapers, and magazines written by a small cohort of LGBTQ writers from the Victorian era in order to discover how queer poetry developed during the decade, and how more historical queer writers could be discovered. The project concluded that Victorian periodicals allowed for the establishment of a public-facing outlet in which poets of non-normative sexualities and gender identities could integrate with an oppressive culture to form a discoverable queer space and community in mainstream media by the end of the nineteenth century. Queer culture began to form in periodical poetry, peaking as it became more pronounced during the decadence and aestheticism movements, which enabled queer expression through their mode of cultural resistance. Decline of anonymous publication correlates with decadence and aestheticism, suggesting unity between public, artistic, and private identites. Queer poets become discoverable to historians through letters, diaries, and professional affiliations, all of which can continue to surface more voices.



Victorian poetry, cultural studies, queer poetry, 19th century, decadence, aestheticism