James Thomson, The Castle of Indolence

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The Castle of Indolence

(1748) is, as the rest of its title―“An Allegorical Poem, Written in Imitation of Spenser”―indicates, a poem in Spenserian stanzas, and one of a number of eighteenth-century examples, including, for instance, William Shenstone’s

The School-Mistress

(1737) and James Beattie’s

The Minstrel


The Castle of Indolence

is also comparable on its own terms to major developments in what can be termed the Romantic revival of the Spenserian stanza, particularly evident in works by Lord Byron, Percy Shelley, and John Keats (whose use of the stanza in all cases post-dates Thomson’s, and may well have been influenced by his).

The Castle of Indolence is a peculiar blend of the moral and the imaginative in a stanza that is regarded as one of the most difficult

3243 words

Citation: White, Adam. "The Castle of Indolence". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 18 July 2013 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/sworks.php?rec=true&UID=1355, accessed 22 June 2024.]

1355 The Castle of Indolence 3 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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