Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation

Subscriber Login

Forgotten your password?

Related Content

Related Overviews

Sydney Thompson Dobell (1824—1874) poet and literary scholar

W. E. Aytoun (1813—1865) poet

John Westland Marston (1819—1890) poet and playwright

Philip James Bailey (1816—1902) poet

See all related overviews in Oxford Reference »

 

Overview

Spasmodic school


Quick Reference

A term applied by Aytoun to a group of poets which included P. J. Bailey, J. Marston, S. Dobell, and Alexander Smith. Their works for a brief while enjoyed great esteem; this was largely destroyed by Aytoun's attacks and by his parody Firmilian (1854), which also satirized their critical champion, Gilfillan. Spasmodic poems tended to describe intense interior psychological drama, were violent and verbose, and were characterized by obscurity. pathetic fallacy, and extravagant imagery; their heroes (who owed much to Byron and Goethe) were lonely, aspiring, and disillusioned, and frequently poets themselves.


Reference Entries