Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The Victorian poetic imagination and astronomy : Tennyson, De Quincey, Hopkins and Hardy
Author: Daw, Gillian Jane
ISNI:       0000 0004 2718 5674
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2012
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
This thesis investigates the effect of astronomy on the Victorian poetic imagination. It centres on four writers of the period: Alfred Lord Tennyson, Thomas De Quincey, Gerard Manley Hopkins and Thomas Hardy. To date this subject has received surprisingly little critical focus. This study redresses this lack, by revealing how these writers engaged creatively with the possibilities and limitations of contemporary astronomical science and its technologies. It argues that astronomy gave all four writers important metaphors and analogies, enabling them to project a sense of self-discovery in their writing. It shows how their interest in scientific texts, their association with prominent astronomers of the period, and their own astronomical observations, had a profound effect on their creative imagination. This thesis uses their texts, personal diaries, notebooks, letters and library collections to reveal their interest in the science of astronomy. Likewise, it researches the astronomical texts they studied, including those of the leading scientists of the day such as John Frederick William Herschel, John Pringle Nichol and Richard Anthony Proctor. The argument places Tennyson, De Quincey, Hopkins and Hardy's interest in astronomy within the period's cultural fascination with the science, and establishes them as both consumers and producers of astronomical knowledge. Each of the writers studied avidly watched the night sky through the telescopes he owned, had access to, or by the naked eye. Important to this enquiry, is a discussion of the optical technology of the telescope as a transparent framing and mirroring device, and how its use results in intense and visionary experiences in the work of these writers. This study crosses the traditional divides of science and literature, to show how these four writers achieved a synthesis of scientific and poetic thought in their writing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR0500 Poetry ; PR3991 19th century, 1770/1800-1890/1900