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Title: Shelley and the problem of Wordsworth's influence
Author: Blank, Gregory Kim
ISNI:       0000 0000 8143 0598
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 1983
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The subject of my thesis is the influence of Wordsworth on Shelley. The study is divided into two parts. In Part One I show how Shelley was concerned with the problem of influence, and that he was also greatly concerned with Wordsworth. After reviewing various theories of literary influence in the first chapter, in the second chapter I discuss Shelley's theory of influence (in the prefaces to The Revolt of Islam and Prometheus Unbound, and in the Defence): for Shelley, the poet cannot escape the spirit of the age, and thus he must work with it in order to join it. Chapter Three traces Shelley's developing interest in Wordsworth and documents his familiarity with the older poet's work. The fourth chapter examines Shelley's poetry about Wordsworth: To Wordsworth, Alastor, Verses on a Celandine, An Exhortation, and Peter Bell The Third. Shelley's reaction towards Wordsworth is one of ambivalence: he revered Wordsworth's early work, but the older poet fell from favour after The Excursion. Shelley's poetry about Wordsworth tends to portray the older poet as if he were dead. This figurative death allows Shelley to hold on to the early Wordsworth, to punish him for his failing, and to inherit the place of the dead leader. Part Two of this study offers speculative readings of some of Shelley's major poems. Chapters five to seven trace the development of Shelley's engagement with the figure of the poet (in Alastor, The Sunset, Prince Athanase, Julian and Maddalo, and Prometheus Unbound): aspects of this figure represent Shelley's problematical identification with some of Wordsworth's poet figures and with Wordsworth himself as a figure of poetic authority. Chapter Eight examines Shelley's engagement with Wordsworthian ideas and poetic experience (Mont Blanc, Hymn to Intellectual Beauty, The Cloud, ode to a Skylark): while using Wordsworthian tropes, Shelley often challenges the stance of restoration, permanence and immutability. The final chapter is a reading of the ode to the West Wind as a poem about Shelley's deep desire to be both influenced and influential.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Shelley and Wordsworth