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ID 32285
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Byron's Quintessential Images in the Heavens from Manfred to Cain
creator
NDC
English and American literature
abstract
The purpose of this paper is to elucidate Byron's literary and moral process of change reflected in some symbolic heavenly images in his two poetic dramas, Manfred (1816-1817) and Cain (1821), which were written at intervals of about five years.

In the first place, we take a general survey of Newton's and Newtonians' enormous influences on the social and cultural spheres as well as on the scientific one in 18th and early 19th century Britain. Newton made it clear that there exists a universal mathematical principle which can explain exactly the rule of movements throughout the universe, including the solar system. His theory was so convincing that Newtonians thought this kind of rule could be found not only in the macrocosm but also in the microcosm of this earthly human society. As time went by, however, Romantic poets began to criticize the Newtonian way of thinking because it was too rational, analytic, and inhuman. We take into consideration Blake, Frankenstein, Wordsworth and Byron as concrete examples.

Secondly, we discuss a symbolic heavenly image, a comet wandering out from the regular course of the solar system, which Byron describes in his first poetic drama Manfred. This image represents the destiny of the leading character Manfred, who ceaselessly feels deep remorse for what he did toward his late sweetheart Astarte in the same blood relationship. The protagonist's consciousness reflects Byron's state of mind in 1816 when he had to leave Britain after his separation from his wife, mainly because of his relationship with his half-sister Augusta. 'A pathless comet' seems to symbolize the poet who was socially and morally deviating from the regular course of British social system.

In the third section, we examine the second act of Cain, the most original and creative part of his fifth poetic drama, in which the main character Cain flies into the outer space led by Lucifer who promises to show him the world of death. Byron repeatedly makes Cain look back at the earth from the outer space and talk of its 'littleness' and 'smallness' compared with the vast and limitless universe. Through these descriptions, the poet tries to give a relative viewpoint concerning religion.

In the conclusion, we summarize a process of Byron's poetic development reflected in his quintessential images in the heavens of Manfred and Cain.
journal title
Studies in European and American Culture
issue
Issue 18
start page
71
end page
84
date of issued
2011-12-31
publisher
広島大学大学院社会科学研究科国際社会論専攻
ncid
language
jpn
nii type
Departmental Bulletin Paper
HU type
Departmental Bulletin Papers
DCMI type
text
format
application/pdf
text version
publisher
department
Graduate School of Social Sciences
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