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Bentham in love : skeptical philosophy in Arthur Hugh Clough's Amours de Voyage


Bentham in love : skeptical philosophy in Arthur Hugh Clough's Amours de Voyage

St. Onge, Jeffrey (2009) Bentham in love : skeptical philosophy in Arthur Hugh Clough's Amours de Voyage. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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MR63056.pdf - Accepted Version


In Amours de Voyage, Arthur Hugh Clough responds to his dissatisfactions with his position as an unmarried Lecturer and Head at University College in London by modeling the poem's antihero, Claude, on law reformer and founder of utilitarianism, Jeremy Bentham. Drawing primarily from John Stuart Mill's portrayal of Bentham as an epistemological skeptic, Clough, through his poem, investigates the consequences of reliance on particular, as opposed to general, forms of knowledge in relation to language and love, in order to approach irresolvable questions about the grounds of truth and how to enter into a marriage that is corporeally and spiritually satisfying. Thus Claude, a conflicted Benthamite figure, is incapable of communicating his experience of the first War of Italian Independence, and resists abstract love as the sort of vague generality that Mill's Bentham deplored. As part of its largely satirical method, Amours de Voyage links its criticisms of Benthamite epistemology to Jeremy Bentham's status as a preserved corpse, referred to in Bentham's writings as his Auto-Icon, which arrived at University College at roughly the same time as Clough. By providing evidence for Clough's interactions with Benthamite philosophy, I aim also to revise our contemporary views of Clough as a primarily autobiographical poet, and to better appreciate his creative method that allows him to handle themes central to mid-nineteenth century intellectual culture in engrossing and compelling ways.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:St. Onge, Jeffrey
Pagination:v, 90 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Thesis Supervisor(s):Miller, John
ID Code:976560
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:28
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:42
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