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The Religious and the Secular Mythology in Idylls of the King

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title
The Religious and the Secular Mythology in Idylls of the King
author
Kirkendall, Jensen Armstrong
abstract
Idylls of the King is primarily a mythical poem, not only in its genre as a King Arthur retelling, but also within the world of the poem itself. Analyzing the mythological dimensions within the poem reveals a complex relationship between the secular and the religious priorities of Arthur’s Court. This mythological mode arises primarily through a constellation of mythical symbols, the problematizing of time in the narration and structure, and the frequent use of mist and shadow imagery. Through these aspects, the poem presents the mythological undergirding of Arthur’s authority as a necessary, legitimizing, cohering force for both individuals and societies. The dual role of secular and religious mythology in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s work suggests its importance for recent postsecular studies. Bringing postsecular questions to the poem reveals how it resists the flattened secularization narrative and suggests the need for more nuanced narratives of the project of modernity. Ultimately, Idylls acknowledges mythology as an undergirding force for any meaningful system and insists on the necessity of inhabiting this mythology, while also presenting the danger of doing so uncritically.
subject
Idylls
Mythology
Postsecular
Secularization
Tennyson
Victorian Poetry
contributor
Holdridge, Jefferson (committee chair)
Sigal, Gale (committee member)
Jenkins, Melissa S (committee member)
date
2022-07-11T19:17:38Z (accessioned)
2022-07-11T19:17:38Z (available)
2022 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/101020 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
type
Thesis

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