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Beautifully damned: Religious imagination in Coleridge and Byron.
Matt Slykhuis (author)Kevin Hutchings (Thesis advisor)University of Northern British Columbia (Degree granting institution)
Master of Arts (MA)
Number of pages in document: 113
This thesis is an exploration of damnation as it appears in Samuel Taylor Coleridge's The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and Christabel,' and in George Gordon Lord Byron's Cain: A Mystery,' The Giaour,' and Manfred.' The concept of imagination is central to each of these texts, and in each case the damnation of the respective protagonists is precipitated by those characters' inability to rightly perceive the world around them--a failure of imagination. While modern criticism has tended to sideline discussion of the theological aspects of the imagination, this thesis joins a recent movement in recognizing that the divorce of religious concerns from Romantic criticism can only result in an incomplete understanding of the texts in question. Christianity played an important role in the lives of both Coleridge and Byron, and the cosmology, ontology, and eschatology that appear in their works are intimately connected to a form of Christian theology (whether orthodox, heterodox, or heretical). For both Coleridge and Byron a theological conception of the imagination--what I call religious imagination'--lies at the heart of the human experience. Each of the protagonists discussed herein experiences a living hell, yet in each case, it is the degree to which those individuals exercise religious imagination that determines whether their experience will be an endless suffering, or whether it will lead to redemption and thus mark that individual as beautifully damned.' --P. ii.
English poetry -- 19th century -- History and criticism.Imagination in literature.Coleridge, Samuel Taylor, 1772-1834 -- Criticism and interpretation.Byron, George Gordon Byron, Baron, 1788-1824 -- Criticism and interpretation.Romanticism -- Religious aspects.