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Selective affinities and poetic appropriation: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Willem Kloos

Steyaert, Kris Omer Eli Antoon Sebastiaan; (2000) Selective affinities and poetic appropriation: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Willem Kloos. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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In this dissertation, I examine the reception and appropriation of Percy Bysshe Shelley's works in the Low Countries during the period 1880-1940. This period roughly coincides with the writing career of Willem Kloos (1859-1938), the Dutch poet-critic who monopolised his admiration for Shelley and proclaimed himself to be his only poetical heir. I demonstrate how Kloos's own poetics and political beliefs made him misrepresent and manipulate key facts in Shelley's life and literary output during his never-ending promotion of the artistic, as well as spiritual, bond between himself and the English writer. More particularly, Kloos showed great determination in advancing Shelley's works as a comprehensive endorsement of his own artistic tenets. However, Kloos was not the only Shelley devotee and when the 'school' of De Beweging began to claim Shelley for themselves, Kloos, in his periodical De Niemve Gids, attacked what he considered to be their illegitimate annexation attempts. This is most noticeable, I argue, in the translation battle between the two literary camps: Willem Kloos, Karel Herman de Raaf (1871-1948), and Hein Boeken (1861-1933) on the one hand, and Albert Verwey (1865-1937), Alex(ander) Gutteling (1884-1910), and Pieter Nicolaas van Eyck (1887-1954) on the other. The first chapter shows Kloos's interpretation of Shelley's work to be firmly rooted in high-Victorian scholarship. The starting-point for this contextualisation is a number of unpublished notes which Kloos made in his early twenties and which have never been examined before. The second chapter demonstrates how a number of dissident voices in the Netherlands took issue with Kloos's depoliticisation which glossed over an integral part of Shelley's art. The third and fourth chapters are devoted to Alastor and Prometheus Unbound respectively, and interpret the highly critical and partisan reviews triggered by the rivalling translations of each camp. The fifth chapter examines a series of twelve sonnets in which Kloos describes a visitation of Shelley's ghost confirming the Dutch poet's self-proclaimed status as Holland's principal bard. The ideological assumptions underlying the sonnet cycle are typical of Kloos's appropriation tactics. The final chapter deals with Shelley's drama The Cenci, De Raaf's translation of it, and the first performance in the Low Countries, which has been completely ignored so far by Shelley specialists.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Selective affinities and poetic appropriation: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Willem Kloos
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Language, literature and linguistics; Shelley, Percy Bysshe
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10100020
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