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"No doubt a consolation to his dust:" ecological consciousness in Lord Byron's works and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials

Macioce, Adeline M (2021) "No doubt a consolation to his dust:" ecological consciousness in Lord Byron's works and Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. Undergraduate Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Having studied the major works of the Romantic poet Lord Byron and contemporary children’s literature author Philip Pullman, I have become familiar with their re-visions of the material world and their understanding of the human soul on its journey through that world. In my thesis, I put Pullman’s and Byron’s worlds in conversation with each other in order to access new insights about each author and their respective projects. The first part of my thesis resituates the Byronic hero in his original environment, the material worlds which Byron writes. His heroes are self-exiled figures casting an ultra-critical eye on their society, while simultaneously looking inward at the faults of the self. I contend that Byron’s poetic project is to create a new morality, which I call embodied morality, as distinct from that of his social milieu; one that seeks knowledge of the self and the soul in the natural world.
The second phase of my project explores the legacy of Byron’s embodied morality in Philip Pullman’s young adult fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials. Published in the 1990s and early 2000s, Pullman’s trilogy explores the possibility of multiple worlds, considers the human soul in the physical manifestation of a dæmon, and offers a revolutionary interpretation of the Biblical story of Adam and Eve. As a Romantic scholar, Pullman shares an organic ideological connection to the intellectual heritage born from the minds of Romantics such as Byron. However, scholars often ignore or dismiss the Byronic roots in Pullman’s characters and his philosophy. Pullman’s texts acknowledge Byron’s work and, more importantly, expand upon his introduction to embodied morality. In His Dark Materials, Pullman deconstructs Christianity by reimagining the human soul and opening up the scope of life in a multiverse of equal worlds. The result is an ecological ethics meant to instruct citizens of Pullman’s Republic of Heaven.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Macioce, Adeline Mamm474@pitt.eduamm474
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorMurray Twyning,
Committee MemberBest,
Committee MemberBoone,
Committee MemberSchweizer,
Committee MemberWhitney,
Date: 23 April 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 16 April 2021
Approval Date: 23 April 2021
Submission Date: 20 April 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 74
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: University Honors College
Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: BPhil - Bachelor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Undergraduate Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lord Byron, Philip Pullman, morality, ecological ethics, embodied morality
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2021 13:53
Last Modified: 23 Apr 2021 13:53


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