Journal Article

James Thomson’s <i>The Castle of Indolence</i> and the Allegory of Selfhood

Sebastian Mitchell

in The Cambridge Quarterly

Published on behalf of Cambridge Quarterly

Volume 35, issue 4, pages 327-344
Published in print October 2006 | ISSN: 0008-199X
Published online October 2006 | e-ISSN: 1471-6836 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/camqtly/bfl019
James Thomson’s The Castle of Indolence and the Allegory of Selfhood

Show Summary Details

Preview

The Victorian poet and critic James Thomson, ‘B. V.’, was an ardent admirer of The Castle of Indolence (1748), the last poem by his eighteenth-century namesake. B. V. regarded The Castle of Indolence as a persuasive account of the pleasures of retirement, and as a means of criticising the industrial spirit of Victorian England. This essay considers the poem in the context of two of its significant literary and cultural resources: its Spenserian antecedence, and its allegorical use of eighteenth-century accounts of healthcare. The author contends that the poem should be seen primarily as a work of art, rather than as a piece of historical evidence. The Castle of Indolence still provides affecting and disturbing images of repose: it offers a significant account of the nature of artistic creation, and produces a compelling allegory of unresolved selfhood.

Journal Article.  8000 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Art ; Film ; Music

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.