Veronica Alfano is a Research Fellow in the English Department at Macquarie University. She specializes in Victorian poetry and poetics, with particular interests in lyric theory, gender and sexuality, memory, and media studies.
Evaluating both textual and cultural patterns, Veronica's research taps into the current critical drive to reconcile historicist and formalist approaches to literature. She earned her doctorate in English from Princeton University, and her work has been supported by the European Commission, the William Morris Society of the United States, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
In her first monograph, The Lyric in Victorian Memory: Poetic Remembering and Forgetting from Tennyson to Housman (Palgrave, 2017), Veronica theorizes the links among mnemonic form, cultural nostalgia, and memory as a theme in lyric verse. She argues that lyric, an ideal vehicle for vague-yet-insistent recollection because of its concise repeatability, illuminates the Victorian era’s fascination with mourning and memorializing the past. Ultimately, Victorian poetry’s navigation between the longing for regressive atemporality and the reality of inevitable transience generates unstable forms of recollection that are shot through with impersonality and forgetfulness—and that embody the crisis of nineteenth-century amnesiac nostalgia.
Veronica has published articles and chapters in a wide range of venues, including Victorian Poetry, The Journal of Pre-Raphaelite Studies, Victorian Studies, International Journal of Humanities and Arts Computing, and the collections Victorian Verse (forthcoming) and Economies of Desire at the Victorian Fin de Siècle: Libidinal Lives. With Andrew Stauffer, she is co-editor of Virtual Victorians: Networks, Connections, Technologies (Palgrave, 2015); this book combines close readings of nineteenth-century texts, broad theoretical proposals about how we might consider virtuality in relation to Victoriana, and explorations of how scholars use specific digital humanities resources to reconstruct the literary past. With Lee O’Brien, she co-edited the summer 2019 issue of Victorian Poetry (on the topic of “Gender and Genre”). The North American Victorian Studies Association awarded her article “Technologies of Forgetting: Phonographs, Lyric Voice, and Rossetti’s Woodspurge” the 2018 Donald Gray Prize for the best essay published in the field. She also leads the NAVSA Poetry Caucus.
Her current projects focus on Tennyson's Maud, on Edward Lear's limericks, and on poetic neologisms in the context of Victorian philology.