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‘The balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant qualities‘: political tensions and religious transitions in the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

‘The balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant qualities‘: political tensions and religious transitions in the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Beavers, Kathryn Elizabeth (2011) ‘The balance or reconciliation of opposite or discordant qualities‘: political tensions and religious transitions in the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge. PhD thesis, University of Greenwich.

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Abstract

My thesis considers the profound effect of the all-pervading late Eighteenth-Century revolutionary climate on the evolving religious and political views of the young Coleridge, and their expression through his published works from 1794-1800. I consider how Coleridge‘s continuing use of religious imagery evolved, following his transition from the established tradition of Dissenting religion, towards a more personal form of Dissent, grounded in Pantheism.

Chapter One considers how Coleridge‘s sonnets, lectures and periodical (The Watchman) of 1794-5 articulated his developing radical political and Dissenting religious views. Fundamental to Coleridge‘s views was a notion of the Establishment Anglican Church as a hollow Christian sham, needing a spiritually renewed form of religion to bring it back to God.

Chapter Two compares Religious Musings and Fears in Solitude, examining how Coleridge‘s political and religious views matured in the intervening four years. I also focus on iconic and archetypal figures featured in The Wanderings of Cain, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Christabel. A key figure is the Wanderer, who appeared in different guises in Coleridge‘s works of this period. I also examine the protean nature of Geraldine, from Christabel, as a rare female manifestation of the Wanderer, as well as the iconic and archetypal guises of serpent, Lamia, Lilith, and succubus.

Chapter Three considers Coleridge‘s exploration of the relationship between power, politics, and religion, in his translation of Schiller‘s Wallenstein trilogy, through a comparison of Wallenstein and the archetypal figures of Satan and Faust. I consider how Coleridge has used the vehicle of translation as a creative space, allowing him to articulate and develop his changing religious and political opinions. The notion of translation as creation has not previously been considered.

Chapter Four examines Coleridge‘s influence on second-generation Romantic Period writers, specifically Mary Shelley. I discuss the evidence for Coleridge‘s influence on her novels and short stories, also drawing attention to her religious and political expression in microcosm, compared with Coleridge‘s macrocosmic political views.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: uk.bl.ethos.547880
Uncontrolled Keywords: Samuel Taylor Coleridge, literary criticism,
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of Social, Political & Cultural Studies
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:19
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/7779

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