submitted: Thursday, May 23, 2019
College of the Rockies University Studies instructor authors book

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College of the Rockies University Studies instructor, Caley Ehnes, was inspired to write her book after completing her Ph.D. dissertation.

Caley Ehnes provides a unique exploration of Victorian poetry

College of the Rockies English instructor, Caley Ehnes’ first book has been published by Edinburgh University Press (EUC). An undertaking that began as a requirement of her Ph.D. program, Victorian Poetry and the Poetics of the Literary Periodical became a passion project.

“I began to write it for me,” she said. “While I truly believe it is an important piece of scholarship in my field, it also represents the final chapter of a significant period in my life and I wanted to have something tangible to show for over a decade of work.”

Introduced to nineteenth-century periodical (magazine) culture through a series of essays in the second year of her Bachelor of Arts degree, Ehnes was fascinated. Though she branched out to explore other literary pursuits, she always returned to periodicals, and the idea for her future Ph.D. dissertation was born.

Twelve years later, after years of research, Ehnes successfully defended her dissertation in 2014, earning her Ph.D. She then sought out a university press to begin the process of publication. Once EUC signed on, she began revising, heavily editing most of the original text, and completely rewriting two chapters. Though the original manuscript was obviously successful, earning her a Ph.D., she feels her book benefited from the editing process.

“It reminded me of something I tell my students all the time – writing is a process,” Ehnes said. “It takes time and there is almost always room for improvement. My book is much better for the time I spent revising my previous work.”

Victorian Poetry and the Poetics of the Literary Periodical is an exploration of the role of popular, commercial poetry in the development of mid-Victorian periodical culture and poetry. Ehnes makes the argument that periodical poems should matter as much to all those interested in Victorian poetry as those written by Elizabeth Barret Browning or Alfred Tennyson.

Acknowledging the subject matter of her book is very niche, Ehnes doesn’t utilize her book in her classroom, but does incorporate some of the lessons she learned through her research.

“I like to teach popular literature in my English classes as much as possible, so I frequently reference the ideas developed during the course of writing my book,” Ehnes said.

Though Ehnes currently has no plans to write further books, she continues to write regular journal articles, often with a focus on how women’s writing is produced and received.

Learn more about College of the Rockies University Studies Arts program at: cotr.ca/university

 

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