|Return to Table of Contents|
RICHARD III (WITH REFERENCES TO NIETZSCHE AND HITLER)
AND PARADISE LOST
|I. To identify Byron with the Byronic hero tradition is an error. Of course Byron himself repudiated such an equation, but the very nature of the gothic craves the sensational, and certainly Byron's life was sensational. His letters, which we will examine, reveal sensibilities that seem calculated to shock, much as "Monk" Lewis' novel dramatizes excess. It has been remarked that all gothic fiction is "Sunday School literature" next to The Monk, and the same may be said for Byron's life.
II. GOTHIC PERSPECTIVES IN THE RENAISSANCE AND SEVENTEENTH CENTURY:
Miltons view of free will
Study the opening lines carefully--Satans soliloquy
The hubris of Satan
in medias res to Book I--the expulsion from Paradise
God on free will and the Timaeus
the relationship between passion and reason
study the temptation scene very carefully--note Satans tactics
note how evils spreads
note the result of original sin--and recall Miltons beliefs
4. NOTE THAT THE NORTON EDITION OFFERS SELECTIONS FROM SOME ROMANTIC PERIOD WRITERS WHO EVALUATED THE POEM (PP. 477 ff.), plus commentary on themes and philosophical concepts relevant to the poem, pp. 461 ff.
III. We will examine Romantic period criticism of Satan's character.
I. Romanticism as paradox : Martin Luther King and Adolf Hitler.
A. Recall the introductory lectures from the British Literature Index.
II. What are its common elements?
A. philosophical idealism
III. So romanticism cannot be defined--it has to be felt, experienced. Note that how Marlowe's FAUST is not tempted as Goethe's FAUST is.
A. reconciliation of opposites
IV. On what would the gothic persona focus?
V. The romantic / gothic perspective
VI. Who is the hero?
A. the child of nature--Rousseau and the "noble savage"
VIII. Evaluate these quotes...
A. "The world is indeed full of perils, and in it there are many dark places, but there is still much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled in grief, it grows perhaps the greater." (J.R.R. TOLKIEN)
Just as a lustful pauper bites and kisses
Packed tight, like hives of maggots, thickly seething,
If rape or arson, poisons or the knife
IX. The Byronic hero in literature and life:
A. Robin Hood
X. Terms and concepts:
XI. WEB RESOURCES:
A. (Click here for a full list of terms relevant to gothic fiction from
B. Click here to find a directory of best web sites for the romantic period / gothic literature.
C. From LITERARY GOTHIC, This subdirectory offers a detailed account of "gothic psychology" with primary and secondary source references.
By examining some of the prose criticism and poetry of the Romantics, focusing especially on Coleridge and Byron, we will come to understand the expressive theory and its implications the gothic genre:
SOURCE: RETURN TO THE SJC BRITISH LITERATURE PAGE INDEX AND SCROLL DOWN TO THE ROMANTIC PERIOD LISTINGS. YOU WILL FIND ESSAYS AND LINKS CONCERNING:
FOR ADDITIONAL SOURCES, CONSULT:
Abrams, M.A. The Mirror and the Lamp. London: Oxford Univ. Press, 1971
Bowra, C. M. The Romantic Imagination. London: Oxford University, 1969.
Doherty, F. Byron. N.Y.: Arco, 1969.
Lowes, J. The Road to Xanadu. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1964.
Marchand, L. Lord Byron: Selected Letters and Journals. Cambridge: Harvard U. , 1982.
Tarnas, R. The Passion of the Western Mind. N.Y.: Ballantine, 1993.
Thorslev, P. The Byronic Hero. University of Minnesota Press, 1962. (A must read for this class.)
West, P. (ed.) Byron: A Collection of Critical Essays: Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice -Hall, 1963.