Date of Award

4-30-2010

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Tanya Caldwell - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Malinda Snow - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Dr. Murray Brown - Committee Member

Abstract

The following Thesis is a survey of seventeenth-century uranography, with specific focus on the use of the Pleiades and Charles's Wain by English poets and pageant writers as astrological ciphers for the Stuart dynasty (1603-1649; 1660-1688). I then use that survey to address the problem of irony in John Dryden's 1685 Pindaric elegy, "To the Pious Memory of Mrs. Anne Killigrew," since the longstanding notion of what the Pleiades signify in Dryden's ode is problematic from an astronomical and astrological perspective. In his elegiac ode, Dryden translates a young female artist to the Pleiades to actuate her apotheosis, not for the sake of mere fulsome hypberbole, but in such a way that Anne (b. 1660-d. 1685) signifies for the reign of Charles II (1660-1685) in her Pleiadic catasterism. The political underpinnings of Killigrew's apotheosis reduce the probability that Dryden's hyperbole reserves pejorative ironic potential.

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