Venice and the Poets
- Thompson, Stephen

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Commentary

Another expansion of scope for British photopoetry, Venice and the Poets capitalises on the popularity of ‘the glorious city in the sea’ for a number of nineteenth-century British poets including Wordsworth, Byron, Browning, Addison, Moore, Rogers, Clough, and Shelley, from whose works the editor and photographer Stephen Thompson has made appropriate excisions. The nature of the anthology again recalls practices of commonplacing and scrapbooking, in which choice elements of poetry and photographs were paired in domestic books along with other ephemera.

Like Fairylife and Fairyland, Venice and the Poets focuses not on picturesque landscapes but on architecture and urban scenes. These books are the earliest examples of photopoetry in which urban scenes are considered legitimate sites both of poetic and photographic art. Notably, they are both set outside the British Isles, thus suggesting while the landscapes of home were picturesque enough to be captured photographically, industrial Britain was perhaps not as enticing a subject as the palaces of Portugal and sea-city of Venice. Similarly, these photographic concerns may be seen as influenced by the interests of the Romantic poets in Italy, particularly, and again form a model for the potential legitimisation of photography as an art form.

Book Details

Author: Thompson, Stephen
Title: Venice and the Poets
Publication Year: 1870
Poets Featured: Wordsworth, William ; Byron, George Gordon ; Browning, Robert ; Addison, Joseph ; Moore, Thomas ; Rogers, Samuel ; Clough, Arthur Hugh ; Shelley, Percy Bysshe
Photographers Featured: Thompson, Stephen
Subjects: English poetry, Italy, Venice
Photographic process: Albumen prints

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