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Title: Satanic rebellion in the seventeenth-century English epic
Author: Green, N. L.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2002
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My thesis is that many political events and developments of the seventeenth century were subject matter of varying degrees of directness for the demonic scenes of many English epic poems. Also, a number of crucial antithesis - such as those between God and Satan, Heaven and Hell, good and evil, light and dark, virtue and vice - could be used by epic poets to structure their contemporary references. I consider how and why the rebellious forces of evil in certain poems - principally Satan and his servants - were connected to the century's political and religious controversies and polemics. In the Introduction I set down my aims and methods of procedure, and the areas in which I hope to make an original contribution to scholarship. In Chapter 1 I discuss the connections made between the demonic and politics in a number of epic poems written before the seventeenth century, as many of the features and techniques of seventeenth-century epic are prefigured in the earlier tradition. For example, I discuss Claudian and Tasso and how their poems provided models for later writers as regards the interaction of humans and devils in real conflicts. In Chapter 2 I focus upon Phineas Fletcher's Locusts, or Apollyonists (1627) and a number of other epics, such as Sir William Alexander's Dooms-day (1637), which deal briefly or at length with the Gunpowder Plot of November 1605 and, crucially, emphasize its infernal origins. In Chapter 3 I use Thomas Heywood's Hierarchie of the blessed Angells (1635) as a way into discussing biblical epics, such as Lucy Hutchinson's Order and Disorder (1679), and their relation of the underworld to contemporary concerns. In Chapter 4 I deal with three epics of the English Civil War - Joseph Beaumont's Psyche (1648; 1702), Edward Benlowes's Theophila (1652), and Abraham Cowley's unfinished Civil War - and a number of epics of the Restoration and after, such as Andrew Cooper's Stratologia (1660) and Sir Richard Blackmore's Prince Arthur (1695). In Chapter 5 I probe the relationship between the satanic scenes of Milton's Paradise Lost (1667) and the Civil War and Restoration years, with frequent recourse to Milton's own prose controversies.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available