In Battle Lines: Poetry and Mass Media in the U.S. Civil War, Eliza Richards places American Civil War poems at the intersection of mass warfare and mass media, making the case that we should understand poetry as one of the war’s crucial print genres. She shows how poets’ engagements with the news drove them away from the kind of emphasis on personal subjectivity we might generally associate with post-Romantic lyric and toward approaches that could express both the factual particulars of events and a sense of collective affect. As Richards analyzes in detail, Union and Confederate poets sought to invoke and adapt established poetic tropes and forms in order to place contemporary events in historical perspective as well as to communicate more readily with a mass public that was also reading the news, sometimes in the same publications as it read poems. In her account, even the wartime poetic...

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