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Late Victorian Poetry to some extent overlaps with the poetry of the early Victorian phase, especially that of Tennyson and Browning. Its most distinct features are:

Reaction to moral and literary Victorian standards;

Continuation and modification of Romantic trends;

The seminal movement, in this sense, was the "Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood", founded in 1848 by the young painters Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and the sculpture Thomas Woolner, so called because they advocated a return to the purity of late Medieval Italian art, before the stylisation that set in with Raphael and his followers.

Their watchword was "Back to nature!" by which they meant a return to the simplicity tempered with mysticism of the Middle Ages, when spiritual values were held high and mechanisation had not yet destroyed individual creativity.

Pre-Raphaelite painters reacted to the academic style by infusing their work with a note of languorous sensuality and a symbolism, the repetition of certain motifs such as lilies and stars, mainly derived from literary sources such as Dante's Vita Nuova.

The Pre-Raphaelites also believed in great technical ability as an antidote to superficiality of feeling and expression. They were obsessed with the detailed reconstruction of reality.


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