Romantic Satanism: Myth and the Historical Moment in Blake, by Peter A. Schock PDF

By Peter A. Schock

ISBN-10: 0230513301

ISBN-13: 9780230513303

ISBN-10: 1349510858

ISBN-13: 9781349510856

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Honouring his gifts in other men each according to his genius and loving the greatest men best, those who envy or calumniate great men hate God, for there is no other God’ (22–3; Erdman, p. 43). Yet in English Romanticism the Satanic apotheosis and its rhetorical functions are often more complicated than this: recreations of Milton’s Satan assimilate not only his heroic qualities, but his more conventionally evil traits as well. Criticism since the 1960s has been more attentive here, correcting the earlier misapprehension that Romantic readings of Milton’s Satan flatly idealized the figure.

600–15; pp. 32 The influence of Burke’s Miltonic typing is apparent in one of Cruikshank’s prints, ‘A Picture of Great Britain in the Year 1793’ (1794; Figure 2). Here the forces of good and evil – that is, God and William Pitt versus Satan, Fox, and Richard Sheridan – struggle over the temple of the British Constitution. ’ Underlying the forces of good, a caption to the left presents God the Father’s first speech in Paradise Lost III, in which He confidently foresees both the initial success and final downfall of Satan; thus God looks down on the temporarily dangerous but ultimately ineffectual English Jacobins.

The latter group constructed propagandistic readings of the epic (anticipating those of the 1790s), in which Satan’s rebellion figures the evil either of the Tory or Whig causes. But relatively few such interpretations appeared, and as Milton became a cultural symbol, his reputation as a prophet, biblical poet, and spiritual guide eclipsed that of the pamphleteering ideologue and republican, and the political meaning of Paradise Lost was largely suppressed. 52 With the political significance of Paradise Lost thus obscured, contradictory responses to Satan’s character and role emerged.

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Romantic Satanism: Myth and the Historical Moment in Blake, Shelley, and Byron by Peter A. Schock

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