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Title: Tennyson and Goethe's Faust
Author: Baynes , Thomas Gordon
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 267X
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2014
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The influence of Faust on Tennyson begins around 1824, reaches a remarkable level of intensity in 1833-34, and continues, intermittently, until 1855. This can be demonstrated by drawing attention to the numerous verbal echoes of Goethe's drama - and the close thematic links to it - that are discernible in at least two dozen of Tennyson's poems, including several of the greatest. The 'Introduction' argues that in nineteenth-century Britain, Faust was a central text, which influenced dozens of authors from Shelley to Wilde. However, the widespread perception of Goethe's drama as immoral and irreligious fostered a deep-seated desire to modify or re-interpret it. This twofold response is also broadly characteristic of Tennyson's engagement with Faust, so my six chapters fall into two contrasting groups of three. Chapters One to Three are concerned with the ways in which his deep admiration for Goethe's drama shaped many of his poetic responses to the death of Hallam. Chapter One examines the link in Tennyson's mind between the loss of his friend and the Gretchen tragedy in Faust: Part One. Chapter Two deals with 'Ulysses', which expresses a Faustian need for forward movement. Chapter Three considers the influence on Tennyson of Part Two (most notably, in The Princess). The remaining chapters are concerned with the more negative side of Tennyson's response to Faust. An increasing ambivalence towards Goethe's drama can be detected in his three major poems on religious doubt (which provide the subject of Chapter Four), as well as in some of his Nature poetry (Chapter Five). And in a small group of works about saints and sinners, his attitude towards Faust is overtly antagonistic (Chapter Six). The 'Conclusion' notes that Goethe's drama was a source for at least three of Tennyson's long poems, and that it also left its mark on all four of his earliest dramatic monologues. Faust can be said, therefore, to have exercised a far-reaching influence on Tennyson's achievement.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available