Robert Southey's original Madoc : a transcript of the 1797-99 manuscript, with a detailed analysis of its development and sources
When Robert Southey published his second epic, Madoc, in 1805, he had already been working on the poem in various stages for a decade. His first complete draft of the poem was composed between February 1797 and July 1799, and this version differs substantially from that which Southey was to publish six years later. In this thesis I have published, for the first time, what I call MS.2A in full, complete with all its deletions and emendations, transcribed from the original in the Keswick Museum in Cumbria. In my Appendix I have also provided detailed explanatory notes to each of the fifteen books. These not only elucidate textual references but trace many of Southey's ideas, descriptions, etc. to the numerous sources that he had consulted for the composition of MS.2A, several of which he was never to acknowledge in the notes to the published poem. My introductory chapter examines the critical problem which commentators have encountered (and in many ways exacerbated) by paradoxically recognising Madoc's accretive compositional process while refusing to engage with any of the earlier manuscripts. The chapters which follow recontextualise Southey's long-held interest in the Madoc legend, from his latter years at Westminster School to the publication of the poem in 1805, within the wider Southeyan biographical framework. Particular attention has been paid to that period when he was composing MS.2A - a period which he himself was to recollect as being the happiest and most productive of his life, and during which he produced many of his most enduring shorter poems. My penultimate chapter examines some of the political and religious issues arising out of MS.2A, while arguing that a true critical understanding of these issues can only be achieved by our willingness to engage with, rather than - as has traditionally been the case hitherto - merely dismissing Southey's selection (and even rejection) of source material. My final chapter explores in depth ten of Southey's major sources for the writing of MS.2A, and provides the reader with information relating to their origin and make-up, details concerning the editions which Southey might have used, and a feeling for their author's wider aims and ideological tenor. A number of minor sources are also discussed, so that this chapter paves the way for a fuller understanding of Southey's borrowings.
- Theses