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William Gilbert and Esoteric RomanticismA Contextual Study and Annotated Edition of 'The Hurricane'$
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Paul Cheshire

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9781786941206

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781786941206.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
William Gilbert and Esoteric Romanticism

Paul Cheshire

Liverpool University Press

This chapter starts by describing the impact of Gilbert’s ‘strange poem’ The Hurricane on Gilbert’s friends and contemporaries: Coleridge, Southey, Wordsworth, and their circle in Bristol, and then follows its critical reception. Romanticist critics John Livingston Lowes, Paul Kaufman, John Beer, and Jonathan Wordsworth drew on the views of Gilbert’s contemporaries to assess The Hurricane. Later culturally based scholarship has brought wider perspectives on the 1790s radical underworld, and its population of visionaries, prophets, and millennialists. Marsha Keith Schuchard’s identification of Gilbert’s pseudonymous writings on magic and astrology has made possible a better-informed assessment of Gilbert’s use of esoteric traditions – Hermeticism, astrology, theosophy, Neoplatonism – that are brought to bear in The Hurricane.

Keywords:   The Hurricane, William Gilbert, Romanticism, esotericism

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