Apocalypse and Millennium in English Romantic Poetry

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"The interrelationship of apocalypse and millennium is a dominant concern in British Romanticism. The Book of Revelation provides a model of history in which apocalypse is followed by millennium, but the major Romantic poets question the possibility of a successful secularization of this model. Is history developing towards end time and millennium, or is it cyclical and purposeless?"
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"This book excels by its sound scholarship, lucid style, and exact argumentation."--Religion and the Arts

"The overall process indicated in professor Paley's study, by which the imaginary of Revelation dissolved over a few years from an organized biblical pattern of the understanding of current events to a range of images for less coherent subsequent interpretations emerges as a fascinating phenomenon, for which he has provided the first-- and definitive--guide."--Notes and Queries

"There is much that is familiar in these analyses, yet much that is new, subtle, and unsettling. It provides an admirable example of what careful schlarship, untainted by tendentious purposes, can unveil both in the poems and in previous schemes of their interpretation....Paley has encyclopedic knowledge of the particulars of literary and political history; and he has imagination to arrange them in revealing patterns. Anyone interested in the historical location of these works, in their responsivenes to and echoes of the discourses of their day, and in their answerability must mine this book."--The Wordsworth Circle

"An informative introductory overview setting out biblical sources of apocalypse and millennium, seventeenth-century millenarianism in the English Revolution, catastrophist theory in writers like Thomas Burnet, and the gathering millennial excitement among eighteenth-century Illuminati and the Swedenborgians...Paley reveals for the first time and in impressive detail the extraordinary diversity of millennarianism in English Romantic poetry. He commands the full range of biblical references to apocalypse and millennium, and his close reading elucidates echoes of and allusions to biblical sources which saturate the poems." --Nicholas Roe, The Times Literary Supplement

"This book makes a major and timely contribution to Romantic studies...Political philosophy and aesthetics are both given a hearing: connecting apocalypse and millennium is a matter of success or (mostly) failure for these poets, but Paley is careful to distinguish between the kind of failed philosophical endeavor that produces great poetry and the failure of imagination that produces second rate work." Christianity and Literature

"This study is as lucid as it is engaging. Paley brings into sharp focus the attitudes of six Romantic poets on the intricate and at times elusive subject of prophecy. Apocalypse and Millennium in English Romantic Poetry is a seminar that challenges students of the period to wrestle with a genre of Romantic poetry that has often seemed inscrutable."--European Romantic Review

"Paley...is at his best in his thorough documentation of the radical apocalyptic and millennial environment constructed by Biblical and political English Enthusiasts for the French Revolution.... The anxiety of apocalypse constellated and sustained is the subject of Paley's elegantly argued intertextual analysis."--Studies in Romanticism

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198185000
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford
  • Publication date: 10/28/1999
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Professor in the Graduate School, University of California at Berkeley
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Table of Contents


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