This work discusses the prevalence of psychic androgyny in the Romantic poetry by male poets such as Blake and Shelley. An analysis of the link between the Androgynous Sublime and the style used to convey it is presented through close readings of the poets' structural techniques. This book studies and articulates the emergence from the poetical subtext of the six major English romantic poets of 'the androgynous sublime', which conflates elements of the myth of the androgyne, as told by Aristophanes in Plato's Symposium, with the mode of sublimity, first discussed by Longinus, who cited the account of the Creation in the Book of Genesis as a prime example, and much debated from the 18th century onward. The androgynous sublime may be distinguished from the 'terrible sublime' of Edmund Burke and the more recent 'phallic sublime' of scholar Thomas Weiskel, who before his sudden demise poignantly implied the need for something more durable. Characterized by a flexuous, limber style -associated with androgynous subject matter, the androgynous sublime subverts conventional notions of sublimity while offering a more comprehensive model with which to supplement, if not supplant them.
Examples of the androgynous sublime are Blake's "Jerusalem", Coleridge's "Christabel", Shelley's "The Witch of Atlas", and Byron's "Don Juan". Interestingly enough, each of these four master-works was neglected during the romantic period, but they have all begun to come into their own during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.
Publisher: The Edwin Mellen Press Ltd