Robert Browning's Decoding of Natural Theology in "Caliban upon Setebos"

Peterfreund, Stuar
September 2005
Victorian Poetry;Fall2005, Vol. 43 Issue 3, p317
Academic Journal
Literary Criticism
The article presents information on those arguments that can be used on incursions into the scientific sphere to justify the enterprise of natural theology in Robert Browning's "Caliban Upon Setebos." Browning's poem argues along lines not very different from those ascribed to Dr. Newman's "Apology," and those mobilized by poets Robert Boyle and Robert Chambers, if only to show the limits and ultimate irony of any attempt to express such convictions. "Caliban Upon Setebos" is shot through with allusions to Darwinian discourse--both Darwin's natural history and his theoretical work on evolution. Many of the poem's fauna and their environments are discussed at some length in "The Voyage of the Beagle."

Tags: CALIBAN upon Setebos (Poem : Browning);  NATURAL theology;  POEMS;  BROWNING, Robert;  PHILOSOPHY of nature;  NATURAL history;  IRONY


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