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Visionary Poets of Doubt and Unspeaking: A Study of British Romanticism and Apophatic Discourse

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abstract
This study is an examination of apophatic discourse as utilized by three major writers of the British Romantic movement. The poetry and prose of Samuel Coleridge, Percy Shelley, and John Keats features various iterations of the unsayable from the liminal to valorizations of the negative sublime. Apophasis is traditionally associated with negative theology, but I intend to demonstrate how Romantic poets borrow from both classical and Christian tradition in the deification of their art, and subjects, beyond representation. This thesis will analyze selected poems and prose through motifs of absence, silence, and the unnameable. Ultimately, this method of unsaying ushers in modernity and celebrates potentiality wherein Romantic conceptions of sublimity, identity, and infinity are demonstrative of a language that is shrouded in a “mist” and “veil” of doubt and the ineffable beyond ordinary perception, semantics, and nominalism. Romantic apophasis results in a language that engages with the self, the Natural world, and the eternal and literature becomes a divine entity in which it “extends beyond itself” (Ferris 67).
subject
Apophasis
Coleridge
Keats
Romanticism
Shelley
contributor
McCracken, Kaitlyn Lauren (author)
Wilson, Eric G (committee chair)
Holdridge, Jefferson (committee member)
Shirey, Ryan (committee member)
date
2021-01-13T09:35:31Z (accessioned)
2020 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
2022-01-12 (liftdate)
embargo
2022-01-12 (terms)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/97962 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
Visionary Poets of Doubt and Unspeaking: A Study of British Romanticism and Apophatic Discourse
type
Thesis

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