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Title: '[T]hese seemingly rival spheres constitute but one cosmos' : Constance Naden as scientist, philosopher, and poet
Author: Stainthorp, Clare Georgina
ISNI:       0000 0004 6063 1170
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
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Through her poetry and essays Constance Naden (1858-1889) sought to create an interdisciplinary philosophy predicated upon finding unity in diversity. By providing close-readings of Naden’s poetry, essays, and unpublished notebooks, and thus considering the full breadth of her intellectual pursuits, this thesis demonstrates the extent of her secular world-scheme which attempted to synthesise science, philosophy, and poetry. I begin with an intellectual biography that situates Naden’s scientific education, philosophical ideas, and poetic output in their nineteenth-century contexts. This creates a framework for understanding the trajectory of Naden’s endeavours as scientist, philosopher, and poet. The subsequent chapters demonstrate how these three strands of her life were fundamentally intertwined. Chapter Two focuses upon Naden’s engagement with scientific ideas and the scientific imagination, specifically examining the importance of light as it manifests in the study of botany, astronomy, physics, and physiology. Chapter Three turns to Naden as philosopher, teasing out the details of her childhood faith (newly demonstrated by the notebooks) and analysing the development of her relationship with the freethought movement and wider philosophical discourses. Chapter Four analyses Naden’s equivocal relationship with poetic tradition, focusing on her shifting engagement with Romanticism, and her use of the lyric ‘I’ and the comic mode.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature