Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Comparative Literature


Tilottama Rajan


This thesis analyses three versions of the Absolute in romanticism as it moves towards modernism. First, the system in Hegel's writing and the Promethean Age in Shelley's Prometheus Unbound demonstrate the dissolving positive Absolute. Prometheus Unbound, in conjunction with Athenaeum Fragemente, is also an example of the literary Absolute. Second, the overthrown Titans in Keats's Hyperion exemplify a negative absolute fraught with Freudian melancholy and Benjaminian allegory due to the loss of the ideal. Finally, the dynamic Absolute unfolds in Keats's The Fall o fHyperion, which attempts to accept the loss of the Absolute through Moneta’s productive melancholy, as defined by Kristeva, and the dreamer-poet’s recognition of his humanity. The Fall o f Hyperion also presents an art that creates a bridge between an art couched in negativity and an art that must soothe the world. In contrast with the lingering phantasm of the Absolute in modernism, of which the incomprehensible ruins in Eliot's The Waste Land are an example, the Absolute persists in The Fall of Hyperion. This thesis, therefore, defines romanticism as the movement which, despite changing definitions of the Absolute, still clings to the ideal, while also opening up the discussion of modernism's difference from romanticism.



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