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Abstract

The recent movement to revise and revive the works of nineteenth-century women poets had led to the rediscovery of the works of a Victorian botanist, geologist, philosopher, poet and atheist Constance Caroline Woodhill Naden. Most contemporary readings of Naden’s poetry are based on a feminist approach. This sometimes leads to regarding the philosophy that lied behind composing them as complementary to what is considered to be the main topic of her poetry: the position of a Victorian woman poet and philosopher in patriarchal nineteenth-century England. Naden’s poetic legacy consists of only two collections of poems. Despite the fact that she completely stopped writing poetry in the year 1886 to dedicate herself fully to philosophical pursuits, her verses, however, suggest that composing poetry was not merely a pastime activity. Although it ranked second to science and philosophy, she still used her poetry in many instances to spread philosophical and scientific awareness in the face of religious beliefs and superstitions. This article aims to illustrate the eminence of philosophy, especially Naden’s own theory of Hylo-Idealism, in her poetry, and the significant role her poetry played towards achieving Naden’s ultimate goal of illuminating the minds of Victorian women as well as men.