Expectations of darkness; the "blind poet" P.B. Marston

Kistler, Jordan (2017) Expectations of darkness; the "blind poet" P.B. Marston. Victorian Poetry, 55 (2). pp. 231-249. ISSN 0042-5206 (https://doi.org/10.1353/vp.2017.0012)

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If Philip Bourke Marston (1850–1887) is remembered at all today, he is remembered as a “blind poet”, a protégé of Dante Gabriel Rossetti in the later Pre-Raphaelite movement.1 This essay demonstrates that in his first volume of poetry, published in 1871, Marston actually fought to establish a poetic identity for himself that was distinct from his visual impairment. A consideration of the nineteenth-century pressures to “pass” as able-bodied or to “perform” his disability, pressures that I show to be compounded by Victorian ideals of post-Romantic poetic identity, demonstrates Marston’s engagement with contemporary debates over the role and remit of the poet.