Welcome to The Gendered Personifications Index (G.P.I)! This website contains a digital index of the instances of gendered personifications in the poetic works of the British Romantic poets George Gordon Byron (1788-1824) and Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834). In this index, I have mapped out which personifications are deemed feminine, masculine, or gender fluid, by these two poets.
Although personification is a common stylistic and poetic device, my argument is that due to the consistency regarding the gendering of a given noun in the works of each individual poet, as well as the high degree of agreement between Coleridge and Byron on the gender of a given noun, gendered personifications should be read as containing significant information about how the British Romantic society might have internalized the notion of gender, as well as what it means to be feminine or masculine, and not merely as stylistic. Additionally, this index works against the notion that speakers of English enjoy a relatively gender-neutral linguistic experience, as compared to speakers of Arabic or French, for example, and instead, demonstrate that gender is very much ingrained in the English language. Finally, in the “Theoretical Implications” section, I offer a few possible explanations for this phenomenon of gendered personifications in English that can account for the patterns of consistency and agreement between Byron and Coleridge.
This website was created by Rawia Inaim with the help of Simon Fraser University’s Digital Humanities Innovation Lab and is a component of Rawia’s SSHRC-funded master’s research project “Gendered Personifications in the Romantic Unconscious.”