atmore's Angel in the House appeared in two installments, the first of which was published in 1854 and the second in 1862. The first installment, the most commonly known part of the Angel in the House, which was also more popular in its own time than the second part, takes the form of two sections (or "books"), "The Betrothal" and "The Espousals." Similarly, the second installment of The Angel in the House, commonly referred to by critics as The Victories of Love, was also written in two separate sections — "Faithful Forever" and "The Victories of Love." These two separate installments published at different dates and different points in Patmore's life are essentially two different poems.
The first published version of the Angel focuses entirely on the story of Felix and Honoria. Written in the voice of Felix, a young poet who shares many resemblances to Patmore himself, this half of the Angel is structured essentially as a Kunstlerroman in verse — a long narrative poem that illustrates the moral and psychological development of Felix, the young poet. Much in the style of Victorian marriage plots, the poem follows the trajectory of Felix's courtship with his love, Honoria, and ends with the climactic union of the two lovers through the institution of marriage. The second part of the Angel, the Victories of Love, which Patmore wrote later and published in 1862, consists of the two major sections noted above and also further divides into smaller parts which relied mostly on the format of the letter. Thus here Patmore left behind his fascination with the prelude and focused more on letters between various characters. It is no surprise then, given the different structure of the second installment of the Angel, that in The Victories of Love we find no one protagonist, but rather an assortment of voices and characters equally weighted in the overall fabric of the poetic plot. Here, the central relationship is between the already married Jane and Frederick, whose somewhat less than blissful relationship is set alongside that of Honoria and Felix. Although Honoria and Felix remain secondary characters throughout this continuation, they provide the only connection between the two very different halves of Patmore's Angel in the House. Nonetheless, Patmore did decide to combine the two volumes of the Angel ("The Betrothal" and "The Espousals" and "Faithful Forever" and "The Victories of Love") into one complete revised edition in 1863.
Although the contemporary reviews of both installments sometimes distinguish among these four sections, they nevertheless group them together under the separate titles of The Victories of Love and The Angel in order to distinguish between earlier and later installments. My essays on Patmore focus chiefly on the first installment of the The Angel since I see it as the more significant of the two poems. I do, however, focus on "The Victories of Love," in an essay entitled "Jane and Lady Clitheroe: The Female Voice and the Gender Paradigm," and here I often refer to the poem including both of its separately titled books by its second name, The Victories of Love.
- Introduction to Poet or Ventriloquist?: Reinterpreting Gender and Voice in Coventry Patmore's The Angel in the House
- Felix: Masculine Sexuality and the Feminine Idol
- Jane and Lady Clitheroe : The Female Voice and the Gender Paradigm
Last updated 15 September 2004