Mystical Themes and Occult Symbolism in Modern Poetry: Wordsworth, Whitman, Hopkins, Yeats, Pound, Eliot, and Plath

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9780773437807: Mystical Themes and Occult Symbolism in Modern Poetry: Wordsworth, Whitman, Hopkins, Yeats, Pound, Eliot, and Plath

This study argues that esoteric ideas of Friedrich Nietzsche and James Frazer provide answers to ontological questions about the origin and substance of poets looking beyond the established rationalist codes of the industrial society. The ideas also give comprehensive critical insight into creative bases on which the poets' various mystical or occult ideas work to produce their distinct creative characters. Romantic and modern English poets endeavored to embody the ancient mystical lore and visions of ecstatic primordial unity in their distinct prescriptive responses to the needs of the times. Mysticism and occultism were philosophical reactions against the intellectual and social process of the Enlightenment and religious inquiries into the tranquil reaches of metaphysical speculation and spiritual fulfillment. Counter-Enlightenment assumptions are applied both to explore romantic poets' reactions against the pre-epochal Enlightenment rationality and schematism, and to illuminate modern poets' interest in ancient myths and religions as a spiritual convalescence out of the absurdity and futility of modern existence.

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"In relating mysticism, sacramentalism, Dionysianism and even Puritanism to occultism [the author] shows the complex nature of this literary phenomena. He shows how occultism went hand in hand with modern psychology's exploration of the unconscious and the search for a renewed understanding of the self." - Prof. Timothy Materer University of Missouri-Columbia "By bringing under a spotlight the hitherto underappreciated role of Nietzsche in the development of literary occultism and mysticism in the modernist era, Professor Kim, in effect, contributes a fascinating insight to the ongoing discussion on the relationship between Romanticism and modernism." - Prof. Jongsook Lee Seoul National University"

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