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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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‘My astrological friend’

‘My astrological friend’

Gilbert and Southey

(p.74) Chapter Four ‘My astrological friend’
William Gilbert and Esoteric Romanticism

Paul Cheshire

Liverpool University Press

Southey’s poem Joan of Arc, published at the end of 1795, had, in Joan, a female saviour divinely inspired to be an instrument of change. Southey’s Joan has common elements with Elmira, the female saviour figure in The Hurricane. Both are millennialist poems showing how spiritual agencies intervene in history at decisive epochs, and both were intended to reflect and comment on the momentous period their authors were living through. Southey’s friendship with Gilbert is but one instance of his attraction to figures who claimed prophetic power or divine inspiration. This chapter also argues that Southey was in the vanguard of the ‘One Life’ poetic movement that celebrated direct experience of the divine through Nature.

Keywords:   Southey, Nature, Millennialism

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