Date of Award

Spring 1928

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




The ever increasing popularity of the poet Francis Thompson has induced us to make this study. Thompson wrote his greatest poetry at the close of the Victorian Age. His work comprises two volumes of poems, a volume of critical essays, and biographies of St. Ignatius of Loyola and St. John Baptisti de la Salle. There is, perhaps, no one among the late Catholic poets who regarded the vocation of a poet so highly as did Thompson. He considered the writing of poetry as a divine gift, and he held that the mission of a poet was to lead men to a realization of their interior life. Despite the inconsistencies in his life, his obscurity, his strange mannerisms, his work possessed qualities of beauty, imagery, and loftiness of thought characteristic of great poets. The prose work of Francis Thompson mirrors the social conditions of the latter half of the nineteenth century, and reveals the influence of the Catholic Renaissance which sprang up during his time. His poetry reflects an intense religious atmosphere that has, undoubtedly, kept him from universal acceptance. Heretofore, the research work done in Thompson has consisted largely in a study of his religious moods, style, meter, prose, philology, and of the influences of Shelley, Patmore, and the poets of the Elizabethan period. The present study will be directed towards four ends: first, the life of the poet, his place in the Victorian Age, and his philosophy of life, love, and religion: second, his poetry in general, - including his use of words, - reflecting the influences of the great English Masters: third, his religious poetry, embracing mysticism and symbolism: fourth, the religious and secular influences on Thompson.



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