Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.560295
Title: Dryden and enthusiasm
Author: West, John Peter
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2011
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Abstract:
This thesis interprets the work of John Dryden in the context of the cultural, political and religious controversy that surrounded the concept of "enthusiasm" in later seventeenth-century England. It argues that Dryden is a more "enthusiastic" writer than is commonly thought, both in terms of poetics and of epistemology. It examines the tensions inherent in this enthusiasm when it is placed in the context of contemporary anxieties surrounding religious dissent and the memories of mid-century radicalism. Chapter One explores how "fancy", commonly a cultural signifier for fanaticism, was important in the formulation of an idea of poetic enthusiasm in Dryden's early critical works. In seeking to represent things beyond nature, this model of enthusiasm was underpinned by a concern that marvellous fiction could be mistaken for truth. Chapter Two pursues these ideas into the period of Plot and Exclusion. Dryden responded to a changed political culture with a renewed prioritisation of judgement, but the chapter will show how he sought to retain some aspects of his "enthusiastic" style. Chapter Three discusses Dryden's use of the later seventeenth-century Pindaric ode, a form in which cultural debates about religious enthusiasm and poetic inspiration took place. Chapter Four investigates Dryden's understanding of providence in some of his late work and considers how the mysteries of the divine, that had previously been a source of literary inspiration, began to suggest suffering after the political losses of 1688. As well as positing a revised view of Dryden as an imaginative writer, then, this thesis suggests ways in which the relationship between politics and literature in the later seventeenth century was less oppositional and more a fluid process of contest for, and appropriation of, key ideas. It also outlines Dryden's place in a larger narrative of the development of poetic "enthusiasm" in the eighteenth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.560295  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature
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