Arthur O'Shaughnessy, A Pre-Raphaelite Poet in the British Museum

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Arthur O'Shaughnessy's career as a natural historian in the British Museum, and his consequent preoccupation with the role of work in his life, provides the context with which to reexamine his contributions to Victorian poetry. O'Shaughnessy's engagement with aestheticism, socialism, and Darwinian theory can be traced to his career as a Junior Assistant at the British Museum, and his perception of the burden of having to earn a living outside of art. Making use of extensive archival research, Jordan Kistler demonstrates that far from being merely a minor poet, O'Shaughnessy was at the forefront of later Victorian avant-garde poetry. Her analyses of published and unpublished writings, including correspondence, poetic manuscripts, and scientific notebooks, demonstrate O'Shaughnessy's importance to the cultural milieu of the 1870s, particularly his contributions to English aestheticism, his role in the importation of decadence from France, and his unique position within contemporary debates on science and literature.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Number of pages204
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016

Publication series

NameAmong the Victorians and Modernists


  • pre-raphaelite
  • heritage
  • museums
  • aestheticism
  • victorian poetry
  • victorian science
  • Marxism


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