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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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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 07 December 2021

Esoteric Romanticism

Esoteric Romanticism

Chapter:
(p.219) Chapter Nine Esoteric Romanticism
Source:
William Gilbert and Esoteric Romanticism
Author(s):

Paul Cheshire

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.3828/liverpool/9781786941206.003.0010

This chapter views two particular forms of English Romanticism from the perspective of the history of esotericism, as defined by Antoine Faivre. First, Gilbert’s portrayal of Nature in his Bristol poems shows his receptivity to the ‘One Life’ vision propounded by the West Country Romantics. If, as this chapter argues, passages from poems such as ‘Tintern Abbey’ are records of visionary experience, their underlying philosophy belongs within the history of esotericism, which – according to Faivre – prioritises imagination as an ‘organ of the soul’. Second, Coleridge’s unpublished ‘compass of nature’ diagrams from 1814 onwards combine the traditional elements of Gilbert’s Hermetic diagrams with the newly discovered scientific elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. After Coleridge (and the German Nature philosophers who influenced him) the attempt to integrate scientific discoveries and esoteric wisdom has come to be viewed as a subcultural activity.

Keywords:   Antoine Faivre, Compass of Nature, One Life, Imagination

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