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Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry

News about the Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry!

Dr. Alison Chapman, the Database editor, was awarded a 4-year SSHRC Insight Grant in April 2018 to expand, improve, and complete the project as Digital Victorian Periodical Poetry. The SSHRC team includes, together with Alison Chapman as the PI, Martin Holmes (Humanities Media and Computing Centre, UVic), Dr. Caley Ehnes (College of the Rockies), Dr. Matt Huculak (Digital Scholarship Librarian, UVic), and Heather Dean (Associate Director of Special Collections, UVic).

A preliminary version of the Database will be available soon, in advance of the launch of an entirely new site.

Digital Victorian Periodical Poetry plans to provide metadata and page images for poetry and related illustrations in 30 complete runs of a wide range of Victorian periodicals, based on print material at UVic, which we estimate will number over 20,000 poems. A statistically representative sample of poems will be encoded into TEI to enable sophisticated searches that show any patterns and trends over time (in formal, historical, and material features). In addition, users will be able to export selected poems to generate their own periodical poetry anthology (in a variety of digital formats).

Digital Victorian Periodical Poetry is rapidly expanding to include new poems and authors, and to provide poet, illustrator, and translator identification and disambiguation. Currently we have over 9,600 poems and over 2,800 poets. 

For further information, please contact alisonc _at_

July 2018


The Database of Victorian Periodical Poetry aims to index and provide images for poems and illustrations published in a wide range of periodicals. To date we have included 16 periodicals, almost 7, 500 poems, and 2, 150 poets. Almost all the periodicals, with some exceptions, are indexed from print copies held in UVic’s McPherson Library. The database covers poems in English as well as translations

Why periodical poetry? In recent years, poetry scholars have turned to poems published in Victorian periodicals as more than mere “filler”, but rather as an important publication and advertisement venue for canonical poets such as Alfred Tennyson and Christina Rossetti. In addition, the periodical poetry gives a fuller sense of the range of poems published in the period, often by little known, pseudonymous and anonymous poets, and also provides fascinating information about Victorian popular taste, poetics and aesthetics. Periodical poetry was read by a vast audience at a time when serial print culture was expanding rapidly, and when the market for books of original poems was precarious at best. Including periodical poetry in assessments of Victorian poetry tells us crucial information, not only about the better known poets, but also revises and complicates the received models of Victorian poetics and poetry readership. In addition, the poetry has a deeply involved relationship with its immediate print context, participating in the periodical’s ideology, its page design and layout, its editorial agenda, and often indirectly and even directly with the other periodical contributions.

The database includes the following information where known: the name of the author as published in the periodical and the identity of any pseudonyms or anonymous poets, together with birth and death dates, gender, nationality, qualifications and honorifics; the name of the translator or illustrator where applicable; the original language of any translations; and of course full bibliographical information.

The Database indexes poetry in the following titles:

All the Year Round, 1859-1895 (full run)

Atalanta, vols. 1-10, October 1887-September 1898 (full run)

Chambers’s Edinburgh Journal (1832-1883)

The Chartist Circular, vols. 1-2, 28 September 1839 – 2 July 1842 (full run)

Dark Blue, vols. 1-2, January 1871-February 1872 (full run)

The English Woman’s Journal, vols. 1-13, 1858-1864 (full run)

Good Words, vols. 1-20, January 1860-1899

Household Words, nos. 1-78, 1850-1859 (full run)

Keepsake, 1828-1857 (full run)

Once a Week, vols. 1-13 (series 1), July 1859 – December 1865

Pageant, vols. 1-2, 1896-97 (full run)

Penny Magazine, 1832-1845 (full run)

Victorian Magazine, vol. 1, Dec. 1891- April 1892 (full run)

Waverley Magazine, 1856-1857 (partial run)

Woman’s World, vols. 1-3, 1888-1889 (full run)

The Yellow Book, vols. 1-13, April 1894 – April 1897 (full run)

The editors would like to hear from anyone with feedback about the database, and would welcome any missing information or corrections. Please contact alisonc (at)

The database began as a graduate project in Alison Chapman’s Victorian Poetry and the New Media course in Winter 2010. Thanks to students on that course for providing the inspiration and the initial bibliographical information (subsequently checked and inputted by a team of RAs). We are also grateful to HCMC for their support of the project, especially Martin Holmes (who built and continues to maintainthe database), Jamie Ney (who originally built the wordpress search plug-in), and Stewart Arneil (who continues to work on the search function and front-end coding). Finally, the Special Collections staff have provided invaluable help and assistance with the collections.


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