1st Edition

British Poets and Secret Societies (Routledge Revivals)

ISBN 9781138796218
Published December 7, 2015 by Routledge
202 Pages

USD $24.95

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Book Description

A surprisingly large number of English poets have either belonged to a secret society, or been strongly influenced by its tenets. One of the best known examples is Christopher Smart’s membership of the Freemasons, and the resulting influence of Masonic doctrines on A Song to David. However, many other poets have belonged to, or been influenced by not only the Freemasons, but the Rosicrucians, Gormogons and Hell-Fire Clubs. First published in 1986, this study concentrates on five major examples: Smart, Burns, William Blake, William Butler Yeats and Rudyard Kipling, as well as a number of other poets. Marie Roberts questions why so many poets have been powerfully attracted to the secret societies, and considers the effectiveness of poetry as a medium for conveying secret emblems and ritual. She shows how some poets believed that poetry would prove a hidden symbolic language in which to reveal great truths.

The beliefs of these poets are as diverse as their practice, and this book sheds fascinating light on several major writers.

Table of Contents

Plates; Preface;  Acknowledgements;  Frontispiece;  1. Introduction: Creative Underworlds  2. Christopher Smart  3. Robert Burns  4. Percy Bysshe Shelley  5. Rudyard Kipling  6. William Butler Yeats;  Bibliography;  Index

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