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Title: The notion of nature in Coleridge and Wordsworth from the perspective of ecotheology
Author: Kim, Paul Chi Hun
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis aims to examine the idea of nature in the works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and William Wordsworth from the perspective of ecotheology. Its intention is not to identify their works with ecotheology, but it will be suggested how Coleridge’s search for the unity of the universe and Wordsworth’s yearning for dwelling relate to recent developments in ecotheological theory. Ecotheology can thus help us understand their ideas on nature. There is a historical and disciplinary gap between the works of the Romantic Period and ecotheology, and, in Romantic criticism, the idea of nature is often misunderstood as a mere projection of the mind. Moreover, Coleridge’s poetry has been the subject of an unjustified ideological criticism that has misrepresented its theological viewpoints, and Wordsworth has also been read in terms of a secular narrative about nature and consciousness. However, both Coleridge and Wordsworth to some extent perceive nature as an environmental landscape, and therefore nature can be understood as an independent reality as well as a creation of the mind. They develop ideas of God in their literary works in a way that needs to be understood not in a secular way, but in a religious sense. Just as ecotheology attempts to articulate the value of the non-human natural world, so Coleridge’s notion of unity and Wordsworth’s idea of dwelling affirm similar values throughout their works. Focusing in Chapter 1 on the writings of a number of twentieth-century theologians, including Jűrgen Moltmann and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, I will outline the development of key ideas in ecotheology in terms of three main elements, the interrelatedness of the universe, the independent sacred value of nature, and a cosmic eschatology, which will be used as a conceptual framework for exploring the works of Coleridge and Wordsworth. Chapter 2 will show that Coleridge’s lifelong search for the unity of the universe reveals the interrelatedness of the universe, and the sacredness of nature as an independent value. Chapter 3 will see that Wordsworth’s idea of dwelling also implies these two elements. Chapter 4 will show that their eschatological visions are associated with a cosmic eschatology, of which the non-human natural world constitutes a crucial part.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature