In Omnia Paratus: a study of the influence of the Classics on two Balliol poets of the Nineteenth Century.

Gregson, John Robert (2000). In Omnia Paratus: a study of the influence of the Classics on two Balliol poets of the Nineteenth Century. The Open University.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.21954/ou.ro.0000ff82

Abstract

This thesis examines the validity of the usual assumptions and generalisations about Classical reception in the Victorian period with specific regard to the ideas and writings of Matthew Arnold and Gerard Manley Hopkins. These poets have been selected for the similarity of their intellectual backgrounds and the dissimilarity of their poetry: the principal concern of the thesis is to emphasise the variety of educated Victorians’ attitudes to and uses of the Classics, despite the apparent homogeneity of their experience of ancient literature. After outlining, from their own backgrounds and comments, some of the general ideas about antiquity held in the nineteenth century, it compares and contrasts the versions of the Classics which the two men adopted (including the way in which these may have changed over the years) and the uses they made of them, examining the contents, styles and origins of their principal relevant poems and, to a lesser extent, their other writings on the subject. As an important part of the thesis is the setting of the work of these poets in the context of that part of Victorian culture which concerned itself with attitudes to antiquity, it also, where appropriate, considers the degree to which their ideas conformed to the expectations of contemporary critics.

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