Fleurs du travail, fleurs sublimes: Anna Mendelssohn's Involute tulips

Crangle, Sara (2021) Fleurs du travail, fleurs sublimes: Anna Mendelssohn's Involute tulips. Journal of British and Irish Innovative Poetry, 12 (1). pp. 1-29. ISSN 1758-972X

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Situating Anna Mendelssohn within the nineteenth-century, highly feminised genre of floral poetry, anthologies, and dictionaries, this essay argues that flowers become a means by which Mendelssohn performs feminist oscillations between sentimentality and sublimity. Through genetic criticism and close reading, the essay attends particularly to Mendelssohn’s archived and published instantiations of tulips from 1974 to 1995, culminating in her great poem “Silk & Wild Tulips” (1995). By tracking floral motifs in Mendelssohn’s work, the essay unearths the thorough labour of her editorial processes, as well as some innately conservative strands of her artistry and ideology. At their most ideal, Mendelssohn’s flowers stand for an inarticulable, as-yet-unattainable, and distinctly feminised form of communication, and in this guise, they are a catalyst by which Mendelssohn strives to redefine her masculinist avant-garde inheritance. Numerous unpublished archival materials are referenced, among them, Mendelssohn’s prison diaries, marginalia, pamphlets, prose typescripts, and poem manuscripts.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: floral poetry, sentimentality, sublimity, feminism, avant-gardism, genetic criticism, archives
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Related URLs:
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 08:22
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2021 16:00
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/101020

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