Hidden mutualities : Faustian themes in the postcolonial
Mitchell, Michael, Ph.D. (2000) Hidden mutualities : Faustian themes in the postcolonial. PhD thesis, University of Warwick.
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Official URL: http://webcat.warwick.ac.uk/record=b1374463~S15
Hidden mutualities link the work of major postcolonial writers with Marlowe's drama of
the Faustian pact - the manipulation of the material world in exchange for the soul -
written as the 'scientific' world view was emerging which accompanied the imperial
expansion of Europe and has determined the economic and social structures of the
colonial and post-colonial world.
This comparative study brings together researches in widely different fields to show
how Doctor Faustus reflects a Gnostic / Hermetic tradition marginalized within the
dominant European power structures. It shows initially how these ideas were crystallized
by Ficino and Pico from the available texts of the Corpus Hermeticum, and how they
relate to what has become known about Gnosticism and Simon Magus. Combined with
the alchemical and cabalistic traditions they form a basis for the study of Renaissance
'Magus' figures such as Trithemius, Reuchlin, Agrippa, Paracelsus or Dee, who are
reflected in Faust and in Shakespeare's Prospero in The Tempest.
The second part investigates the dual legacy of the Magus. A counterpoint between a
law-governed objective material world and an occult visionary pursuit of the divine
potential of the human imagination, in which the Gnostic / Hermetic tradition ironically
became marginalized by the technological science it had inspired, is traced through the
examples of Kepler, Fludd, Newton, Blake, Kipling, Crowley, Yeats, Pauli and Jung.
In the third part, textual analysis reveals how attention to these Faustian themes
opens new critical perspectives in appreciating the works of postcolonial writers, in
particular Dimetos by Athol Fugard, Disappearance by David Dabydeen, Omeros by
Derek Walcott, and the novels of Wilson Harris, all of which stress the importance of the
creative imagination over mimesis.
|Item Type:||Thesis or Dissertation (PhD)|
|Subjects:||B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
|Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH):||Marlowe, Christopher, 1564-1593. Doctor Faustus -- Criticism and interpretation, Gnostic literature, Hermetism, Postcolonialism in literature|
|Official Date:||November 2000|
|Institution:||University of Warwick|
|Theses Department:||Centre for British Comparative Cultural Studies|
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