Bulwer-Lytton's mystic novels : on the margins of the invisible

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dc.contributor.advisor Prof. R. Ryan en_US
dc.contributor.author Montgomery, John Henry.
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-17T06:29:38Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-17T06:29:38Z
dc.date.issued 2012-08-17
dc.date.submitted 2000-11
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/6068
dc.description M.A. en_US
dc.description.abstract Sir Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803-1873) was a prolific writer in many genres. This dissertation takes the major works of his occult genre and examines them in the backdrop of the scientific and religious paradigms informing the mid-Victorian reading public. In response partly to the increase in materialism, popular Victorian novelists such as Dickens and Thackeray were writing in a realistic style which Bulwer-Lytton found not suited to convey his mystical ideas. Instead, he made use of the metaphysical novel — a sub-genre of the romance novel — well-suited for his purposes but antithetical to critics often not willing to explore new territory. Although always alive to developments in Spiritualism, Bulwer-Lytton's life-long interest lay in the study of the occult and secret societies. The works chosen for this dissertation indicate how the boundaries between science, religion and the occult are permeable. In his works, these three discourses conflate instead of being kept discrete by artificial means. His passion for the mystical aligns Bulwer-Lytton more with the Romantics than the Victorians. Through a close friendship with John Varley (1778-1842), an inner-circle friend of William Blake, Bulwer-Lytton came to learn of aspects of Blake which reflect particularly in A Strange Story. W B Yeates and Rider Haggard, both admirers of Bulwer-Lytton, would incorporate his ideas into their works, and Madame Blavatsky would shamelessly plagiarise him in her Isis Unveiled. Unwittingly, Bulwer-Lytton’s wholly-fictional novel, The coming Race, would serve as “proof” to Hitler that a secret master race actually existed. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Occultism in literature. en_US
dc.subject Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron, 1803-1873 - Criticism and interpretation en_US
dc.title Bulwer-Lytton's mystic novels : on the margins of the invisible en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US

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