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Title: Historical Sources and Literary Influence in the Cromwell of Victor Hugo.
Author: Wren, K. P.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3572 9465
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1974
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It is habitual for Hugo's 'sources for Cromwell to receive little more than a passing word in works of criticism, an attitude which has permitted the accumulation of misconceptions about this important piece. Sources, and a writers use of them, can be invaluable for our understanding of any work: all the more so for Cromwell, standing as it does at a turning-point in Hugo's career. My purpose has been briefly to place the play in the literary context of the Restoration, and thereafter to achieve an exegesis of the various influences perceptible in it. This in turn has necessitated an interpretative study of the play gua play, in which I have tried to show that Royalist and legitimist ideology predominates, rather than the Bonapartist and republican views ascribed to it by current trends in criticism. It is the distinction, not the identity, between Napoleon and Cromwell that must be stressed. The study of both historical and literary sources reveals two salient points: the restricted number of works exerting real influence, and the proportional depth of the influence exerted. In the literary sphere, a significant discovery has been the extent of the influence exerted by foreign writers - Scott, Schiller, Shakespeare - which overshadows that of French ones, Vigny excepted. It is demonstrable, moreover, that Hugo's Cromwell has been affected by these influences far more deeply than has been previously suspected. In every sense, these influences have conformed with the conclusions to be drawn from the interpretative study, underlining Hugo's fundamental hostility to Cromwell. A selective use of the Bible by the poet shows this still further. It is my contention that the evidence presented justifies a profound reappraisal of the place occupied by Cromwell in Hugo's literary and political evolution •
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available