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Durham e-Theses
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Scientific and religious aspects of the poetry of Beroalde De Verville

Bamforth, Stephen John (1979) Scientific and religious aspects of the poetry of Beroalde De Verville. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The thesis takes as its subject three long poems by Beroalde de Verville (1556-1629) - Les Cognoissances Necessaires (l 583), De L'Ame et de ses facultes (1563), and De I'Ame et de ses excellences (l593). On the evidence of these three texts, but with reference also to Béroalde's other writings, it shows that the scientific and the religious are allied themes which play a central part in Béroalde's work. Les Cognoissances Necessaires is situated in the tradition represented by the Microcosme of Scéve and the Sepmaine of Du Bartas. At the same time its individuality is demonstrated. Order is its constant theme, and order is itself associated with function and mechanism. We suggest that throughout the poem Béroalde prefers the analytic to the pictorial, and that this is in keeping with an initial emphasis on active enquiry. But enquiry is kept within the framework of a universe superintended by God, in a way that suggests a Calvinist ethic. We go on to show that in De L'Ame et de ses facultes the emphasis remains firmly on function. Béroalde uses the model of medieval and Renaissance treatises on soul, but in order to explain the operation of the cosmos seen as a totality. The accent of the poem is more properly scientific, and in it the alchemical, the medical and the psychological each play their part. In De L'Ame et de ses excellences the accent shifts to the ethical. We argue for a connection with a current of neo-stoic writing. But a central concern for the place of enquiry remains. Béroalde makes knowledge the basis of a code of conduct, and stresses that it is positive and practical value. The thesis ends by arguing that Béroalde's reputation is unjustly limited to that of the author of Le Moyen de Parvenir alone, and that he should be given credit as properly scientific writer.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1979
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 15:37

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