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Theses

Eros et Uranie : passions animales et végétales dans la poésie d'Erasmus Darwin et de William Blake

Abstract : In the poetry of Erasmus Darwin, as well as in Blake’s, appears a singular vision of nature: flowers are pining for love, whales and tigers are revolutionary animals, and trees merge with polypi. Erasmus Darwin was Charles Darwin’s grandfather: in his scientific poems, he develops what one might call an Epicurean “theory of natural seduction” at the heart of which are love and pleasure, under the aegis of the Muse Urania. William Blake, who illustrated Darwin’s poems, articulates the Darwinian imagery with his own prophetic poems, with Vala, embodying a discursive nature subjected to materialism. The present work aims at observing how a new vision of nature is imagined at the intersection of the Enlightenment and Romanticism from Darwin to Blake. This nature, teeming with passions, is in the wake of the age of sensibility of the long 18th century: plants and animals are endowed with emotions and sensations. It is also remodeled by the transition from the classical episteme to the modern episteme, according to Michel Foucault’s terminology: natural history becomes biology and opens itself to transformism, which arouses a mixture of terror and fascination in Blake’s imagination. The reinvention of the codes of poetic representation goes along with this epistemological transition, which is also a political one: indeed, the passions of nature reflect the revolutionary passions in Blake’s and Darwin’s radical poetry, in an original ecophilosophical system reinventing the relationship between human and non-human in a surprisingly modern way.
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Submitted on : Thursday, December 16, 2021 - 11:57:09 AM
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Caroline Dauphin. Eros et Uranie : passions animales et végétales dans la poésie d'Erasmus Darwin et de William Blake. Littératures. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle - Paris III, 2021. Français. ⟨NNT : 2021PA030004⟩. ⟨tel-03482942⟩

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