Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The Myth of the Fallen Angel in English and French Romantic Poetry

Ardin, Clémence (2022) The Myth of the Fallen Angel in English and French Romantic Poetry. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101305) (KAR id:101305)


Once the most powerful archangel of heaven, Lucifer, together with an army of angels who supported him, rebelled against God. He attempted to overthrow his creator but was defeated by Michael's legions. As punishment for his rebellion, he was cast out of heaven, and sent to hell with his army, doomed to eternal darkness. The curiosity about this archetypal story of a dramatic fall is the starting point of this project. Many Romantic authors, both from England and France, were fascinated with the figure of the fallen angel, and especially with 'Satan' or 'Lucifer' (to use two of his many names), the so-called leader of the fallen. Romantic writers including William Blake, François-René de Chateaubriand, Lord Byron, Alfred de Vigny, and Victor Hugo wrote poems or plays dedicated to the former archangel. Some of the key texts in which the fallen angel features include Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1793), Chateaubriand's Les Martyrs (1813), Byron's Cain (1821), Vigny's Eloa ou la soeur des anges (1824), and Hugo's La Fin de Satan (1886).

This thesis explores the reasons why the figure of Lucifer appealed so strongly to the Romantic imagination. Beginning with an analysis of the influence of John Milton and his emblematic Satan figure in Paradise Lost (1674), it charts the distinguishing features of the Romantic representations of the fallen angel, and explores the specific socio-cultural differences that shape the distinctive treatment of this figure in English and French Romantic texts. Based on detailed comparative close readings embedded in analyses of the respective historical contexts, this thesis illuminates the ways in which influence and intertextuality have shaped the Romantic literature dedicated to the figure of the fallen angel. It sheds light on the visions of God offered in these texts in a century undergoing dramatic political and cultural change, explains the diverse representations of the dynamics of the relationship between God and Lucifer, and determines how a broader and specifically Romantic myth of the fallen angel emerges.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Schaffner, Anna
Thesis advisor: Duffy, Larry
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.101305
Uncontrolled keywords: Romanticism, Poetry, Fallen Angel, Milton, Byron, Blake, Vigny, Hugo, Chateaubriand, Satan, Lucifer
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of Culture and Languages
Funders: University of Kent (
SWORD Depositor: System Moodle
Depositing User: System Moodle
Date Deposited: 16 May 2023 11:10 UTC
Last Modified: 17 May 2023 10:13 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Ardin, Clémence.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.