Those Who Wander Are Lost: The Rosicrucian Wanderer in Godwin’s St. Leon and Bulwer-Lytton’s Zanoni
This thesis researches the use and description of the Gothic Rosicrucian wanderer, which is a cursed figure who used forbidden knowledge, the elixir of life and transmutation of metals, to become autonomous from God’s order, effectively cursing himself into a Second Fall and exile from society, in two Rosicrucian novels: William Godwin’s St. Leon and Edward Bulwer-Lytton’s Zanoni. British Gothic writers used the Gothic wanderer to reflect and comment on the fall of the French monarchy and the rise against authority during the French Revolution using Milton’s Paradise Lost as inspiration. Whereas generally the Gothic authors saw the French rebellion against the monarchy as a rebellion against God, Godwin and Bulwer-Lytton considered it necessary to create a better society, had the rebels not overstepped their mark. Godwin focuses mainly on social consequences, while Bulwer-Lytton discusses the spiritual consequences and reinstates the Rosicrucian from a cursed wanderer to an elevated Christian.
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