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An Image of Mysterious Wisdom Won by Toil: The Tower as Symbol of Thoughtful Isolation in English Art and Literature from

Milton to Yeats Author(s): Katarzyna Murawska Source: Artibus et Historiae, Vol. 3, No. 5 (1982), pp. 141-162 Published by: IRSA s.c. Stable URL: . Accessed: 26/02/2011 03:05
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The Tower as Symbol of Thoughtful Isolation in English Art and Literaturefrom Miltonto Yeats








When in 1918 Yeats in the dialogue between Robartes
and Aherne in The Phases of the Moon1 summed up the

long line of tower images, which had been called up for almost three centuries by poets and artists, as 'an image of mysterious wisdom won by toil', he meant it mockingly, and the inexorable solemnity of the tower image with its lonely lamp at the top illuminating some scholar in search of Wisdom had been seriously deflated. The questions at the heart of the following deliberations are: first, what were the origins of the tower motif understood as a symbol of philosophical isolation, as it functioned in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in both literatureand the visual arts; and second, how was this motif portrayed. The narrative nature of the visual arts in the nineteenth century, as well as their mutual influence, inspiration, and rivalry2,justify all the more undertaking research into successive metamorphoses of one motif in various fields, al-

though this obviously carries with it - like most interdisciplinary studies - the danger of dillettantism. The tower is one of those images which constantly recur in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, evoking varied associations, some of which to a considerable extent derive from an older, medieval repertoire of symbols, while other, new meanings had subsequently developed out of this tradition. Though very popular in the Middle Ages, the tower plays a lesser role in sixteenth and seventeenth century architecture, while it constitutes a permanent motif of both Northernand Mediterraneanlandscapes of this period. At the beginning of the eighteenth century it again returns to architecture - a development connected to a great extent with the Gothic Revival - and very soon the motif of the tower had spread through to the other branches of art and it did so with an unheard of speed. Thus the tower became an indispensable component of country houses built at that time, whatever the style they

of Thispaperis a partof myPh.D.thesis on the symbolism the tower in the eighteenthand nineteenthcenturieswhich is being to writtenunderthe supervision Prof.J. Biatostocki, whom I am of greatlyindebtedfor his valuableadviceand encouragment. I would also like to thank Dr. DonaldPiriefrom Cambridge of examination the text and his inestimable for University his critical Harrisits help in preparing Englishversion,and to Mrs.Geraldine son who revisedtranslation.

Jeffares,London,1974. Poetry',editedby A. Norman 2 On the links between literature and painting,see for instance, J.H. Hagstrum,The Sister Arts. The Traditionof LiteraryPictorialism and English Poetry from Dryden to Gray, Chicago, 1958; M. Praz, Mnemosyne: The Parallel Between Literatureand the Visual Arts, Princeton, 1967; Images of Romanticism. Verbaland Visual

1 W.B. Yeats, Phases of the Moon, in: W.B. Yeats, 'Selected

NewHaven,London,1978. Affinities,


Lon- p.H. It is notable that he also calls on literaryexamples. That the towermotif could be isolated as characteristic of English preRomantic poetry was first suggested in The Haunted Castle by Eino Railo. or even an Italianvilla. which distinguished it from other buildings.. Summers. The Haunted Castle. and even more often in engravings showing 'antiquities'. The importance of the tower-motif in architectural setting in English literaturewas established by WarrenH..this time as a ruin. I. the best illustrationof this development in 'reading' the significance of the tower can be seen in Beckford's Vathek. as an illustration of mystery the image of Satan. where innocent heroines are usually imprisoned in a tower9.L. Summers gives a whole list of titles of Gothic novels in his Gothic Quest where the tower motive is recurrent. 1934(reprinted don. Whateley. At times it also attains independent status. associations that could be attributed to it. as an autonomous theme. Previous symbolic readings had grown out of the structural attributes of the tower. or in topographical watercolours.1974. 8 (Memoir).AnEssayon the Picturesque. it turns up very rarely4. From about the second half of the eighteenth century on. pp. Yet at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. 1927. and thus creating the at that would often accompany graveyard stereotyped setting poetry or the numberless Gothic novels. 5 He above hte rest In shape and gesture proudly eminent Stood like a tow'r. 62.were in: whether a Neo-Gothic castle. the popularity and the enormous significance of this motif in nineteenth century novels and drama. 11-17. 161. 4 A. pp. 7 E. pp. London. A history of the Gothic novel. with an owl hooting rmorbidly its top. including. on two occasions makes use of the tower as an illustration of his argument. as well as a development of new. a building type reproduced in countless numbers in various landscape parks. A Philosophical Inquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas on the Sublime and the Beautiful.1794. 1826. Many literarycritics have pointed out. the tower-motif was often interpreted as a symbol of pride and vanity. The tower's height.p. as a pavillion set in parkland as a prospect tower. W. London.See also Ch. In the guise of a monument it encroaches on the field of sculpture3.. and especially of the English variety.Hirschfeld.. were still associated with social prestige and power. 'TheBridgein the Middle Distance: symbolic elements in Romantic landscape'. and ofter becomes an extension of the nineteenth-century country house or residence.. Because it was regarded as deriving from the myth of the tower of Babel. Smith. 1958.London. see roughnessand suddenvariation. Observations on Modern Gardenning. Onan 'expression'of the towerin a London. The ubiquitousness of the tower image in eighteenth century art comes from the newly formulated aesthetics of that period. 1938.M. 72. 6 TheGothic and oftenruined towerhas been distinguished by 142 E. A study of the elements of English Romanticism by. which in turn is related to the tower as a reduced sign for the castle.Holcomb.New York. Oxford. and more particularly of the upper floors. one which had caused God to punish man for attempting to usurp God's secrets. in direct relation to the growing imfeaturesconsideredas indications the 'picturesque' of irregularity. and the privileged position of those at the top of it. London. and the tower's association with prisons lasted well into the period of the Gothic novel.pp.]7. U.C.p.. In painting.. At the beginning of the nineteenth century Ann Radcliffe is still wondering: 'Why is it so sublime to stand at the foot of a dark tower and look up its height to the sky and the stars? 8' The return of the tower to both the literaryand architectural imaginations of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries brought about the revival of the earlier symbolic interpretations accepted in the Middle Ages. and seen in the moonlight. 20-22. more secular. when explaining the category of the sublime. The inaccessibility of the area enclosed in the tower's walls. 98 .though it does appear in pictures with some frequency in combination with churches or castles. New Haven.p.Leipzig.I. 124. According to its tenets the tower is both adequately picturesque and evocative enough of various emotions to fulfill the demands of the 'sublime'6..TheArtQuarterly. (Paradise Lost. Architecture in English Fiction. The Gothic Quest. M. Radcliffe. London. a palace in the style of Franpois I. though not studied in any depth.IV. covered with ivy. p. Railo. 365367. Spring.Meudon). landscape: T. A. Price. der tenkunst. 50. the tower does again find a home in literature. Burke. Gaston de Blondeville. Smith in Architecture in English Fiction5. 1970). compared by Milton to a tower: 3 For instancethe Monument labourdesigned in 1898 by to Rodin(Mus6eRodin. Edmund Burke. Theorie Gar1770.589-591) Architecture is called on when he writes that 'greatness of dimension is a powerful cause of the sublime' and that 'an hundred yeards of even ground will never work such effect as a tower an hundred yards high [. 31-58. 1782.

almost a nuance according to the tastes of the time. T. The eighteenth century developed yet another meaning for the tower.H. Ein Beitrag zur politischen Ikonographiedes Zweiten Kaiserreiches'. see E. Holcomb. It now gradually became identified as a symbol of the past. but merely for its antiquity testifying as it does to the antiquity of his family"'. 12 A. These two figures often combine in such a way that it is often difficult to tell which of the two is in fact dominant..p. and is thus linked to the evidence of one's ancestors' undefeated courage and heroism12. Warszawa-Poznarn. 1979 (on the basis of Polish architecture). and therefore implying a forced isolation from the world . Z{irich-Fribourg. M. as it was pointed out by Smith. 143 . Poznan'.Turm Bollwerk. 11 W.'Historyzm w architekturze XIXwieku'. cit. 13 The Complete Poetical Works of Lord Byron. The lonely tower dweller. while on the other the same tower in ruins reminds one of the passing of time.that old tower. at first functioning only as a variant. These two aspects are represented respectively by the figure of the lonely searcher after ultimate knowledge. the tower as a secure place of shelter for a disaffected misanthropist does not appear until the end of the eighteenth century when it has decidedly secular characteristics.until then associated with their being held captive. As with the towers of the castles on the Rhine from Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage.even if imprisoned .. p. Jakimowicz. is the most honourable testimony to the antiquity of the castle. a new meaning was developed for the tower. see J. its sublimity.portance of history. on the religious symbolism of a tower. p. op. 41. This is in accord with the parallel development of attributing a similar meaning to the motif of Gothic castles and ruins. Den Haag 1953. Dwor murowany w Polsce w wieku XVI. the tower becomes a universal symbol of der. or a hero in a novel .(Whythe nineteenth century chose the tower at all to express such a crucial concept remains a question that lies beyond the limits of this article). Ostrowska-Kqblowska. and thus a record in stone of historical tradition in general. as well as a witness to the antiquity of the particularbuilding with which the tower is connected as a motif which satisfies the demands of nineteenth century historical thinking14.was from the end of the eighteenth centurytransformed into self-imposed isolation. are of remarkable significance as 'he does not praise it for its beauty. "Childe Harold's Pilgrimage". Beeh. Baldwin-Smith. XL.see M. cit. Zeitschriften fur Aesthetik. 67.WarszawaPoznan. Skuratowicz.1974. or its picturesqueness. 1978. on the the passing of time. 177-206. Canto III. Wallraf-Richartz-Jahrbuch.M. of which you are pleased to speak so slightingly. toweras a symbolof a power. and yet at the same time conquered by it. see T. His words. see Z. op. Arndt. VI. Studia i Dyskusje.. 1956. in particular. p. Traces are left on the tower of both Nature and History as conflicting forces battling at the place of the tower's localisation. This isolation from the cares of this world has two different aspects: one of retreat. This can however be achieved perhaps. 70.LVIII. und Jakimowicz. the motif expresses permanence and lastingness on the one hand. or to analyse them fully. 11. A Tower of Victory! from where the flight Of battled foes was watched along the plain But Peace destroyed what War could never blight And laid those proud roofs bare to summer's rain On which the iron shower for years had poured in vain 13 Opposed to force of History. pp. whether an eccentric nobleman. standing up to the destructive force of History. Mr. This also causes problems in our attempt to follow up the developement of either. the vanity of man's achievements. 10 of 9 Onthe generalsymbolism a tower. pp. and by that of the dreamer. op. in relation to Polish nineteenth century architecture. Der Turm als Symbol und Erlebnis. 14 For the nineteenth century historical thinking. 1976. Smith.R6v6sz-Alexan- On the tower as a sign of a medieval castle. cit. The inaccessibility of its upper levels and the isolation of its occupants . by tracing their origins. a 'sign of nobility and gentry'. Princeton.. 98 there of his own free will. and of the aristocratic genealogy of the owner.see S. 75-127. 'Das Kyffhauser Denkmal. New York 1927. 1961. von Moos. very proud of the residence of his ancestors announces: . retreating from the world. W. the other of escape. reaching far back into early Christian iconography as a symbol of Divine Wisdom. in which the key element is of course the remnant tower10. and he retreats from public life of his own accord for the cause of the vita contemplativa in order to devote himself to his own fancies and obsessions in contemplative isolation. Architectural Symbolism of ImperialRome and the MiddleAges. and noting that one preceded the other: the escapist aspect developed on the basis of the former. Deville in Fanny Burney's novel Cecilia (1782). Beitr~ge zu einer politischen Ikonographie der Italienischen Renaissance-Architektur. Dwory i Palace w Wielkim Ksiestwie Poznariskim. While the tradition of the tower conceived as a symbol of philosophical retreat is very old. 'Zur Bedeutungsgeschichte des Turmes'.1981. in: Interpretacja DzieMaSztuki.

Edinburg.1) Bernardino Butinone. The Christ-child disputing with the Doctors. 144 . National Gallery of Scotland.

33. Der Babylonische Turm. B. and on into our own century. Kirsopp. and a meeting point of Heaven and Earth19. At the summit of a ziggurat.see W. pp. In early Christian iconography representations of the Tower of Babel appear in the form of the sedes sapientiae. cit.S. called the Round Tower.g. Studies in Comparative Religion. II. Hauptmann. reproduced in H. 4]24. namely as an equivalent of the Divine. Baldwinsee . closer to the secrets inaccessible to common people. for the religious symbolism and its philosophical interpretation derive from these. Smith. Colorado. with the ascending and descending ladders of his art.was always held in very high esteem. 21 E. Heckscher. 1912-1913. Legend and Law. Journal of the Society of ArchitecturalHistorians. in: Lake. Zeitschrift fOrKunstgeschichte. p. MCinchen. 1977. 145 of might be consideredas an architectonicfulfillment a cosmic mountain archetype. Forthe originof a churchtowersymbolism. Hence the tower. 'Melancholia (1541). Occasional Publications in Classical Studies published by und Sternwarte'.Romanticism. London. 1975. The Shepherd. Ost. W. author of Liber de ascensu et descensu intellectus.As a symbol of God 15 Th. 'Borrominis rbmische Universitatskirche S. 2]. The Christ-Child Disputing with the Doctors (Na- tional Galleryof Scotland collection). From the time the tower was first build.D. a spot from which to observe the ordered movements of the heavens. as a science related to theology.Forthe links betweenzigguratesand cosmic and Zigguratsas the Armountain. Klamt. 1919. Honour. 101-142. 76. 'The Art of Ramon Lull: An Approach to it through Lull's Theory of the Elements'. called e-temen-an-ki or house at the breach of heaven and earth. 1979. 16 The tower as a point where 'sacrum' and 'profanum' meet and religious virtues the tower appears next to other symbols in the mystical visions of the Shepherd of Hermas20. for example from the time when the ziggurats of Mesopotamia (regarded as prototypes for Babel)15 appeared. p. 1944. An image of a huge.1930. A fourteenth century illumination from the Landesbibliothek in Karlsruheshows Rajmundus Lullus. and it almost automaticallyarrogated to itself the importance of the discipline that had caused it to the built astronomy. the tower was held to be a holy place where contrasting elements met: the terrestrial and the extraterrestrial. 18 19 of Museum Anthropology. was the archetypal lighthouse of Alexandria. This is the context of the Tower of Babel in a picture by Bernardino Butinone.J. see F. Ivo della Sapienza'. pp. 1974. A New Source for the Spire of Borromini'sS. Leipzig. Yates. Zeitschrift fOrKunstgeschichte. and here the tower is a symbol of Divine wisdom. and guarded by God Himself. London and New York.A similar reading of its meaning lasted into the nineteenth century. where Babel serves as Christ's throne [Fig. Friedrich or in a watercolour by Turner21 assert this idea of the mediation between the Divine and earthly worlds in a way that reduces the image to a sign. and occasionally called its handmaiden 17. In a woodcut accompanying Lullus' treatise published in Valencia in 1512. the heavenly and the earthly. E. London. vol. the human and the divine. p. 24 After W. Dombart.Folk-lore in the Old Testament. Hauptmannassumed that the source for this spiral-shape spire. related practically to the astronomical observatory was the place farthest removed from the Earth itself. Wiercirnski. '<<Luceat Lux Vestra Coram Hominibus. Beitrige zur Geschichte des Humanismus im Zeitalter der Reformation. University Northern 'DerRundeTurmin Kopenhagen Kirchturm als 17 J-C. 1967. 1]. in: Joachim Camerarius(1500-1574).The Tower as Image of Philosophical Solitude Let us first consider the earlier forms of the tower. 38. 115173. Journal of the Warburgand Courtauld Institutes. 156. one of which is leaning against a tower [Fig. as the case of Trinity Church tower in Copenhagen.G. Towers which were intended for astronomical purposes.see A. The Apostolic Fathers. An Essay in the Rhetoric of Description by Joachim Camerarius'. 'Pyramids chitectonicRepresentations the Archetype the CosmicMounof of tain'. As far as Goethe was concerned. 365-372. Ivo'. Ibidem. 163.. as observers of the heavens. A Church Steeple. illustrates18 The complex medieval symbolism of the tower is to a great extent a continuation of the meaning lent to it by the classical world. 22 For further discussion on the significance of the spire of S. Baron. the tower serves in turn as a gate through which the House of Wisdom is accessible [Fig. Ivo della Sapienza. Frazer. the tower of Strassbourg cathedral celebrated God's glory. 23 For further information. XVII. in the British Museum Collection. 20 Hermas.. p. see H. 1978. 93. might even at a later period be connected with religious practices. p. 3]23. The Middle Ages also gave birth to the legend of St. thereby bringing some men. fourteen-storey 'Turris sapiencie' appears also in an anonymous woodcut printed and published in Nuremberg (?) about 1475 [Fig. Similar symbolism is found in the spire of the University Church of San Ivo della Sapienza in Rome22 Not only the Tower of Babel was applied as a symbol of Divine wisdom. temples were constructed. of 1. op. The topmost storey was the equivalent of the seat of the Divinity16. while church towers shrouded in mist in the pictures of C. 30. Fig. herausgegeben und eingeleitet von F. Astronomy.

Panofsky. conveyed by means of a rigorously observed convention of placing three windows in the tower. or unsphere The spirit of Plato to unfold What worlds or what vast regions hold The immortal mind that hath forsook Her mansion in this fleshly nook.i ~p4~c~~t~ I F~rl~i-??r :2'? "?'i *r i~ r 1 If z I: r. i '. . i - 1 3?P~lIF i 1.: '? ?r. resembling a model held in her hand. i iii. rather the tower is reduced to the dimensions of an attribute. ?-i fam's t- irr rff ~i i ` ?.?. or less commonly.*rirr ?* ?.a : j f*r i E"j i? 1 J ?:a ~r4? i .c 'I i Y L ~~ J s i 1 I b` :? I ~ ?tu .I 'i i ~ i v? F i I: P R J. Valencia 1512. that in Milton's II . and occupied by a philosopher in search of ultimate knowledge first appears=25.i I 'f a . and keeps a late night vigil at the top of his tower by observing the stars and pondering on the mysteries of immortality: Or let my lamp at midnight hour Be seen in some high lonely tow'r Where I may oft outwatch the Bear. With thrice great Hermes. ?t r iiii i i il~ . Cod.L 2) Raimundus Lullus with the ascending and descending ladders of his art. ---. as a building looming in the background. St. imprisoned in a tower. i ?. ~I 1 1?Jj jr -- ??~~! ~t? r:~~i . 25 'In Defense of the IvoryTower'.j 4n rl! i ~*'. 5 3I i Q3 r f i r rCr d~ ii ri t .. who intentionally calls for the inspirations of Melancholy. Liber de ascensu et descensu intellectus.. Barbara is now superseded by the voluntary solitude of the figure of the Penseroso. 146 .n : "'"3-:. pp. ~ iit. i~~ 5 'P~~ r .f. As far as I can ascertain. ~I dw mow ?. in no picture is the saint actually portrayed inside the tower. air. Landesbibliothek.i ~EL. thus symbolizing the doctrine of the Trinity.-? ITZ j t -?I t: '* *: r *u 3. Peter. Whose power hath a true consent With planet or with element26. It is not until the seventeenth century. p~. E~i . tower built for solitary meditation. ii.C ? ~ClrrA I I?. !4 .I. In the traditional iconography St. Report of the ThirdConference. The enforced imprisonment of St. *' 1. though the idea of lonely communion with God is given expression here. Princeton 1953. 5]. And of those daemons that are found In fire.! ~gc tirtcrsr~~uur~. Karlsruhe.Penseroso the unusually suggestive literary image of the Forthe originsof the ivorytowersymbol. where under such enforced confinement she was converted to Christianityby inspiration [Fig.--?? ? ????? "~E~I"~?P1-~II~A~~-EI - ?---? . woodcut in: Raimundus Lullus. or under ground. Barbara's tower is primarilythe place of her imprisonment.see E.xrn40 i ~J?u? I ?. Association of Princeton Graduate Alumni. 3 -' i?iE i ~ * " 3 t I . ' i~ rF ~ 'j.? ?i. 3) "House of Wisdom". 77-84.-nmE~~E~d~l~. Barbara.. ??* .

fapinint 1Mi rPbl4 C r (dr(19 blr r1nm 1 1?r alp\lk-l 4) "Turris sapiencie". Nuremberg. It may be a ruined fragment of some building.Divine illuminatio permeates inwards from the beyond. Gottfried Wals. in isolation and uncluttered by such a nocturnal setting.p. UPC ! O 1111Ubust U rbJ arqt tr4ms uea tul t*1Wuarum~rrCMM a Itrm JSet hn~ t I . London- . lamp of the studious philosopher inside that shines out.. '~ l~ 'I ful ibno LAIDu. 61. i 1 lh A t Ij wk.. Cl1io60tus a gas heot tjobrhn=Fu5 it a MLC n DOOfuU Ot IA ld l ianlit ?:O rat n mitV flu ti te r fus WAlr bu ads slr (it It 1 omrt tha -Tumbl. prams tW myteU cuou Li Mun 10 jr Ot fis 4%.the tower motif after all stands as a sign of the legend. t ola U Is Z~~ C7' V ythe Is~lo ItWML or1C . while in Milton's image it is the 5) Jan van Eyck. whether of the Dutch or Italian variety) in which the motif of the lonely tower appears very often. Barbara.k qb L-Ilts P. The Poetical Works of.%. Some influence in the creation of this vision may have been exerted by seventeenth century landscapes (in particular those in the tradition of marine painting.or else the watch-tower guarding the entrance to a port. Germanisches Museum.C s ewapr~tu f mas gs Mu11 lgais n Iromqu! gm o "mhuM Il uo t (Ia14 Ua I1 A a U MO 0 M tUDD JYgqltkt r..1901.'% ]Odh oilan "t futj~ ~slrlgauaufsosa amtut xat AmslautanD n ~t MUmaItasuatUatrvt lyana it t hit a P?F~Lnl rOoIL afhuribit a rdn~ ~t~vn aft tr~ -CaM.a Or rn#o q111414A0n o idi CD.Mh tod h a 0 *i tos P1 ouran .-Ota &VO utbuli on cbrobt at utrl ) I ptvtnala Ar It it- Co. Mus6e Royal des Beaux-Arts. Milton. Filippo Napoletano. Saint Barbara. ca.M . rwlu 1 MI o jr arias abrl Itb:. at times even being a central element in the composition. Quoted from J. or Antonio Travi. 1475. i 0oreslem Odount flintu fulno I (L c 4u~lnhw B hX ivurA Rnm uU %lot nd twit s PICILa Vislt \~" t Imimsipa" 1trtr ti ilkr fimo. Furthermore.1ju 11"PLcta u cv 9'c4mr~i jpa:I v LllFc fb? but 16 LO Ls WC A~g&' lqtb rim. The most 147 26 NewYork. What then are the sources of this image? What are the artistic inspirations that aided the poet in defining it? In the depictions of St. Anvers. fis N nd . as in the pictures of Agostino Tassi. woodcut.

. 2nd ed. 1974.. Meditation at the tower's top rarely takes on a purely intellectual aspect30 .. premonitions of the unknown.. . . 2i:l .• • :=i-•-.Salerno. . but rather philosopher or astrologist. This latter version is also found in seventeenth century emblematic handbooks. • " ?r-i*. for instanceL..... or the approach to the unattainable. Roma. His tower.. where it is disclosed that the judgements of Fate may be gleaned from the top of the tower.. which are seized upon towards the end of the eighteenth century. New York. has both philosophical and theological implications. rather than with reason based on pure logic. or the Sacrum of the heavens was always more closely associated with mystical experience. . and assume gradually the more obvious features of futurology and fortune telling. .. of which Milton may have made use during his studies in Cambridge.. • h . 1975.. _.. 233f.:'-. ." ......... Connected with this are the figure's astrological interests which echo the traditional associations of the tower with the extraterrestrial area and of course with astronomy. ... in: Hermann Hugo... Psalm 119.the proximity of the heavenly spheres. 1... 29 See note 38..*l~acc~ .. before the poet journeyed to Italy28 [Fig.p.. 1948. though the element of reflective solitude is still missing.. . Antverpiae. 1632.. Barbara.??. .. 30 Warszawa.• irtcidwnts tuijs 107 ... s.:::. and was interpreted in this way even in the eighteenth century... La terre et les reveries du repos. 6].. vol.i .E . . d IN Aii ?"=' I be publishedin the proceedingsof the conference in Bulletin du Musee National de Varsovie... I1.o.. . All this is close to Neoplatonic ideas of the contemplative approach of the soul to the Supreme Being..... ~ .. . ... .... 31 Bachelard.. ...5.. ti . makes clear his relationship to the Platonic tradition as well as to Neoplatonism: the idea of the soul liberated from matter and raised to a higher level of cognition.... . Despite the fact that the tone of 'devotional seclusion' dominates in the poem29.. . 309..Pittori 27 6) "O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes".p.. ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ -.•.....The figure of the Penseroso.... .. Milton's visual imagination than has hitherto been supposed. Forthe wide accountof the seventeenthcenturylandscape see di paintingwiththe tower-motif. One may presume that these handbooks may have had greater influence on the development of young 148 Paesaggio del Seicento a Roma.... 28 I tried to develop this theme in 'Milton'sTower'. ... . the occupant of the tower is neither priest nor saint.:.. ::i :. '•.. 1977-78. .. ... Windelband.. Pia Desideria.A History of Philosophy.... See e.. 1982. The emblem of vigilance in the face of threatening danger is redrawn in Milton's work as a symbol of philosophical vigil.... especially if we take into account that II Penseroso was written in 1631. in Polish edition: An intellectual value of an attic has been suggested by G. radical alternative is where the motif is presented as a light house with the light on top27. as in the legend of St.g...~. in calling on Plato and Hermes Trismegistos.... .. possible only beyond the exercising of reason 31." • = . the papergivenat the conferenceson 'ArsEmblematica' organized by the National in Museum Warsaw PolishAccademy Science at and of in Warsaw 1981.t--•-:.q...•-:' - . W. . This is clear in a whole series of works.

Vathek. Radcliffe's The Italian. p. Four Essays.. is the image created by Milton.S. 'Archetypal Criticism'.. with a lonely lamp lit at its top..Such an interpretation strongly coloured by the tone of escapism is presented on a number of occasions by the great connoisseur of towers at the turn of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Even if one cannot totally agree with Eliot. 35 Ibidem. Frye. from its top. p. when he states that 'at no period is the visual imagination conspicuous in Milton's poetry'35 nevertheless it is a fact that the career provided by Milton for his then original image of the tower does indeed justify Eliot's opinion of it.. In Mrs. whose mind was capable of being highly elevated. by scenes of nature.the suggestive image of a sublime tower located in a nocturnal setting. and in some way even compensates for her being locked in the convent against her will: The consciousness of her prison was lost.. Hoppner. A Study of WilliamBeckford by. 'Milton I'. the discovery of this little turret was an important cir34 T. p. The caliph Vathek builds a tower. he writes: At midnight. New York. London 1962. 158.000 steps. repeated so often in horror stories at the end of the eighteenth century and even later. in this case one of 11. the room in the tower is Ellena's favourite refuge. Anatomyof Criticism. 156. [Fig. Neoplatonism and astrology too. identification with a precedent seems to us today both overly schematic and banal. see 1975.]. where he describes an imagined tower dedicated to meditating. because of which 'the bad verse of the eighteenth century is so bad'34. 36 N. Alexander. 7]. In a letter to Cozens. while the marvellous view beheld from it strengthens the sensitive melancholy in her heart. The success of this particular image is one of the causes of Eliot's later criticism of Milton. who designed and in two cases actually constructed such buildings as well as built them on the pages of his own literary works. To Ellena. 153. England's Wealthiest Son. 1786. The Tower motif.. William Beckford. We will then hazard our conjectures of their destination and audaciously wing towards them our imaginaryflight32. while her eyes ranged over the wide and freely sublime scene [. as has already been emphasised. 33 W. such automatic 32 Quoted from B.. or sweetly soothed. and our eyes shall wonder among the stars. 149 . 7. Salford City Art Gallery. we will recline on stately couches placed on the roof of our Tower. secretive. that he was guilty of producing an artificial and conventionalised language and that with it he popularised a certain type of stereotype. 1957. The exceptional popularity of Milton among the poets and painters of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries caused Northrop Frye in his description of the stages in the development of the Gothic novel to call that which is unusual. Polishedition:Krak6w. accompany the variations in the tower-motifs which occur in literature through three centuries. Beckford. On Beckford's 7) Portrait of William Beckford by J. 152. to compel the stars to reveal his fate to him33. 1957. in: On Poetryand Poets. that touches the firmament so he may be able. and even if it is consciously related to the idea of meditative isolation. But what affects the imagination of the following generations. also p.p. appears there in an extremely stereotyped form. melancholic or gloomy the Penseroso Mood36.

1977. Rutter includes some lines of Milton's poem in his description and quotes a part of a treaty on the picturesque by Uvedale Price . 93. thro' the persecutions that might await her37. of people who have discovered her escape.. and when we behold above its turretssome dim at elevation.London-Oxford-New 1971. in p. 60-61.i.op.H. cit. Sud- recalls memories of Such scenery evoked. pp.Valancourt and composes the yearning ode To Melancholy while sitting on the steps leading to the ruined watch-tower built on a rock above the sea38. Warszawa. incline him to such interpretations as he discerned in himself more and more clearly as the years passed an utter indifference to things religious. though it collapsed two years later [Fig.op. The same imageis repeatedin Mrs.e. In Radcliffe's novels. in: Penitents. 194-195. one often encounters a description of a tower which is silhouetted against a midnight landscape with a single flickering light at the very top. Romanceof the 90.TheItalian. Price. p. op. 1977. A Radcliffe. Radcliffe. would acquire strength to bear her. 40 U. Hither she could come. but here it has not the same significance as the lamp in Milton's image. Mickiewicz. DzieJa. to the symbolism of the Penseroso by John Rutter in 1823 in his description of Fonthill Abbey.. but the fact that he considered this gigantic tower' in Grakyna. Particulary effective is Milton's use of the motif of a lamp lit at a tower's top . by A. then as suddenly its twinkling vanished.Smith. The Italian or the Confessional of the Black poetry. An Illustrated History and Description of Fonthill Abbey.. however. ca. and in the numberless W.a sign of the lonely vigil and philosophical meditation of its occupier.we forget the common light glimmering a prodigious of inhabitants a moderndwellingand fancythatthere is the cell of whose the pale votary hour lampat midnight Is seen in some highlonelytower'. 9]. 159. which had a vast tower of three-hundred steps at the crossing point of its wings.op. The Mysteries of Udolpho 1794. Rutter. 88-89. J.. 1807. London. PowieM6Litewska. Polishedition:Krak6w. II. cit. III.. 39 Idem. 340. 79-158. adds to the Abbey tower the power to evoke a sense of 'devotional seclusion'1.the one describing a massive tower seen at the end of a gloomy avenue denly a light appeared in this tower.pp.Rutter. 41 'Such a scene at Fonthill bringsto mindthe times of devotional seclusion. 17. 8) Interior of the Great Octagon in Fonthill Abbey by James Wyatt. 'lampseen in Litavor's appearedalso in Polishromantic Forest [1792]. Beckford's own attitudes did not. 8.PowietciPoetyckie.Smith.a symbolof supernatural appearsvery often in Gothicnovels. and her soul refreshed by the views it afforded.]. however. 38 A.II. however.p. with equanimity. I. A motif of a light seen from far off at the tower window 150 1955. .. pp.Radcliffe's Gothicnovels. Clair.see W. while the lamp lit in the tower by the Baron betrays his evil contact with the forces of the supernatural39 Direct reference is made. p. A mystery lightseen at midnight the towerof an forcesuninhabited wingof the castle. William Beckford's extraordinary mansion. Polish edition: Puszcza czyli Opactwo St. In The Italian it represents the presence. 1829.H.see Warszawa. 96.. cit. cit. Polish edition: Warszawa. in Ellena's recent hiding place. York.1823. cumstance.. p.. II. p. according to Price 'a grand mysterious effect' and forcibly called to his fancy the era of fairies and chivalry40. vol.[1797]. Emily in The Mysteries of Udolpho 37 half lit by the uncertain beams of the moon [.A Romance. and only the quiet silvery rays of the moon prevailed.

1890]. from the drawing by J. de Axel [Paris. Rutter. engraved by T. although revised and reevaluated will return once again at the beginning of the twentieth century in W. 1823. where the solitary light. Ax61. from religious experience.Paris. Such an interpretation of Milton's vision. The nineteenth century produced also a large number of pictorial representations of Milton's image. Villiers I'lsleAdam. published by J. View of the West and North Fronts. Echoes of Miltonare also very striking in Villiers de L'lIsle Adam's play. Higham. and equally how difficult it was to depart from the traditions of the religious associations of such an image. situated in a 151 . Martin.9) Fonthill Abbev.B. while entirely disassociated 42 A. is nonetheless symbolic of the hero and his attempts to scale the heights of hidden wisdom42. extension to correspond to 'devotional seclusion' in itself indicates how strongly Milton's image lingered in the consciousness of writers and artists of the eighteenth century. In subsequent editions of his works the same scheme of illustration is always repeated in connection with the Penseroso: a dark silhouette of a tower with a light at the top. Yeat's poetry.1960.

. who between 1865 and 1879 was comissioned by his patron to put together a cycle of drawings to illustrate Milton's lesser works (which fascinated him with its seven fold inwardto 43 See the illustrations 'IIPenseroso'in Milton's 'L'Allegro' and 'lI Penseroso' illustrated Birket Foster. e. Dixonchester.10) The Lonely Tower by Samuel Palmer.London. Man152 bridge.1973. 1970. Sellars. 1895.g.Milton and EnglishArt. London. 'Milton's Illustrators'. A large numberof illustrations Milton's workswas analysedby M.'L'AIby legro' and 'II Penseroso' by John Milton with drawings by William ness'44). contemplating the tower and the flickering discussionon that theme. Victoria and Albert Museum. in: John Milton: Introductions. 128. The simple scheme is enhanced by the figures of shepherds lying in a field in the foreground.1974. Samuel Palmer. Such a scheme was used also by Samuel Palmer. London. 44 See. 280-325. 10]. nocturnal landscape lit by the rays of the moon43. Pointon. 1879.p. see J. Forfurther Hunt. Cam- to Hyde.1855. J. a silhouetted tower against a midnight landscape in the moonlight [Fig. On one etching entitled The Lonely Tower there is to be seen.pp.

B. Palmerto The MinorPoems of 45 Nature. Palmer. watchingtheir flocks. the chapter 'Shelley. yet Keeps up her love-lament.from Laian's turret gleam. pp. who was a convinced atheist. In St.. among which can be seen an hour-glass. but a secluded spot in a genial. when speaking of the lamp lit by the hero Thisetchingwas thus interpreted S.'PrinceAthanase. 29. The illustration for II Penseroso by J. 1889. Perkins. Irvyne's Tower Shelley uses the somewhat predictable element of the owl hooting at the top of the tower to intensify the sense of gloom in his image. The light is seen . Piercing the stormy darkness like a star..A Prefaceto Yeats.. ing quotations 49 Idem. and the young stars glance Between the quick bats in their twilight dances50 Besides the lamp-motif. such as those so-called of "Druidic" stones uponthe distanthill. p. and Zonoras.51 46 John Milton. and all Those instruments with which high spirits call The future from its cradle. Shelley The tower symbol in Shelley's poetrywas analysedby T.The constellation the "Bear"mayhelp to explainthat the buildingis the tower of I1 Penseroso.. Eyre Spottiswoode.p. Books serve the same purpose in Epipsychidion: I have sent books and music there. 47 John Milton with illustrations by S. Malins.lonely light at its top45. As far as the philosophical aspect is concerned.the alchemist's studio. Two shepherds. and stands 'apart from men as in a lonely tower'48 reminds one in part of the figure in II Penseroso. in the embowering ivy. 51 Ibidem. less ambiguous symbol of the tower-dweller's intellectual interests. though diverging from the stereotyped repetitions of the tower image in II Penseroso. PartII. 177. Harvard-Cambridge-Massa- 153 . an oil lamp. namely books.. for Permanence. the followfromShelleyderivedfromthis source.1974. cit.op. and go back a hundred years. haunts the hill. chusetts. whose soul had already been called up by the lonely dweller of Milton's tower. The ringdove. Gilbert made for the Art Union edition of Milton's twin poems46 is based on another well known motif . though in the interpretation of Shelley. to trace his conceptions of the tower.. In Prince Athanase Part II Shelley repeats almost exactly the Miltonic image of a tower with a torch lit at its top. and implies that astronomical observations are being done at their top.'with soul sustaining songs of ancient lore I and philosophical wisdom'. pastoralcountry. many connections with the Miltonic precedent can be isolated in Shelley's early works.'Epipsychidion' [1821]. 1959. 11' 50 Idem. a globe and telescope.. and the escapist image47. The etching shows an inner room of a tower and a man in a meditative pose looking through the window. The Symbolism of and Keats. the loneliness of a desert. his friend . London. and the owl flit Round the evening tower. 182-189. The table and floor are scattered with a mass of volumes and papers. Fragment' [1817]. a single moonbeam piercing through an opening into the hermit's tower momentarily illuminates the books from which the sage has culled his knowledge. London. we must abandon our chronological view of the development of the Miltonic image.. p. 320.. 'L'Allegro'and 'II Penseroso' by.. a salamander inserted in a bulb. It re-occurs repeatedly in Shelley's poetry. is of course Percy Bysshe Shelley and to consider his alternative view. Which pours beyond the sea one steadfast beam. A of short interpretation the same etching was given also by F. Man's EternalHome'. I am gratefulto DonaldPirie for callingthis bookto myattention. which is the sign of a vigilant mind. and the past Out of its grave. the knowledge he seeks no longer has any divine dimension.H..Fragment [1817]. 172. in The Boat on the Serchio. getherof the mysterious Quotedfrom the preface by A. 1848. with all her children. with thirty illustrations designed expressly for The Art-Unionof The and PoeticalWorks All of. or Epipsychidion: The Escapist Aspects of The Tower Another poet in whose works the tower plays an important role.'PrinceAthanase. Shelley furnishes his tower with a different.. which is a compound of both the philosophical. speak tolightabovethem'. He too places towers in midnight locations. A 48 P. Prince Athanase who isolates himself from the world in his quest for knowledge. cit. The Quest Wordsworth.op. Whilst all the constellations of the sky Seemed wrecked 49 Furthermore the following lines of the poem reveal the name of Plato. enriched also by antique relics. Shelley. In his later Revolt of Islam. Palmer: by not 'Herepoetic lonelinesshas been attempted.

This tone. belong to longstanding literary or iconographical traditions. and while they both express a form of separation 52 Idem. better. as indicated in the introduction to this discussion. 16. tinged alsb such poems where the tower is used as a symbol of the quest for knowledge. unknown world.IV. Despite the identification of the tower with the intellectual or philosophical solitude in most of Shelley's works.op. is associated directly with the motif of an island. Both these images. cit. the dominant aspect of Shelley's towers is the escapist alternative so popular in that period.11) Broadway Tower (Worcestershire) by James Wyatt. Now we must consider it as a point or place on the frontiers of that other. In fact this aspect is so strong. while the tower as a place of escape and hiding for lovers. in poetic terms it is physically close to the land of dreams: 154 Where musing solitude might love to lift Her soul above this sphere of earthliness52 Shelley treats these two aspects as different images. .'QueenMab'[1813]. one of longing for a far off. p. when he links the meditating occupant of a tower with the image of the lonely hermitage. world. 1797 (Courtesy of National Monuments Record).. that it provides a second reading for the symbol of the tower. of the hermitage and the island.

1. from the world. the most perfect expression of the concept of secluded contemplation..D. or Warton as an easily legible symbol of the concept of philosophical solitude. and transferred to the heart of the countryside. Phot. As Hunt writes in his book The Figure in the Landscape. The hermitage. Poetry. Hunt. such as Pope. to the landscaped garden.PaintBaltimore-Loning and Gardening duringthe EighteenthCentury. albeit in rather general terms. and thus in turn extend the implicit escapism embodied in the tower symbol. The image of the hermitage also appealed to the imagi- 13) Volta Tower (Northhamptonshire). They were evidently designed to announce. A hermitage set in the heart of a natural landscape was. Murawska. which in parallel to the tower underwent a gradual "secularization" leading to the elimination of its original purpose as a place 53 See. the idea of solitary meditation.12) Hadlow Tower (Kent). 1864 (Courtesy of National Monuments Record). J. by K. where he devotes one whole chapter to this problem: No landscape garden of the eighteenth century was complete without a hermitage or even its hermit. or more particularlyin the eighteenth century. Wordsworth..53.p. as a traditional image of the vita contemplativa was derived from the medieval commonplace of the hortus conclusus. 155 . nation of eighteenth century poets. 1976. TheFigurein the Landscape. don. ca. 1840. as far as the eighteenth century was concerned. they are both taken up by art and literature in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

61 For the iconography of an island..A.Y. A. This land would have remained a solitude58. Roi de Despite the final crystallization of the escapit tradition of tower symbolism in the eighteenth century. Parreaux. in which a small room has walls covered in moss. which in Shelley's work is often saturated with eroticism. and undreamt of sensual pleasures bestowed upon lonely sailors charmed onto the island's shores by its female occupants only strengthened the erotic suggestiveness of the image.] is the foundation of a triangular tower [. Roi de Damas.]". 330. The hermit in The Fourth Canto of Revolt of Islam retreats to a half-ruined tower standing on a lonely island. 56 J. while in Nennius's History of Brittons an unassailable tower of glass rises from the sea inhabited by people undistracted by the calling of the world62. Shelley. It is an isle under Ionian skies Beautiful as a wreck of Paradise. Tindall.R. I-VI. for the harbours are not safe and good.'Epipsychidion'. 1974. Among the countless towers erected in the eighteenth and nineteenth century in English parks.. Jones. Fabliaux. 271-272. 1823. p.. called 'Beacon Hill' or 'Cliff' [. Bloomington. Shelley.Y. The Other World. for delight. Ibidem. London. but the solitude of cheerfulness. but. not of gloom'56. 57 See B.Cambridge-Massachusetts. Tindall in Literary Symbol as that of the tower. Ballads. though with its height It overtops the'woods. 156 . is where the poet has taken away his heroine Emily imprisoned in a convent. The LiterarySymbol..Jest-Books and Local Legends.]59 The island theme. He dreamt of isolating himp.Paris. Etude de la creation litt6raire. Itwas barely twenty five feet high. distinguished by W. Histoire de Kebal. P..g. see e. the present and the future. s8 59 60 See W. cit. Patch. and the hermitage became a tower structure. to meditate on the past. Consequently . II.for true meditation54. cit. which the poetic imagination would place on a sliver of land in a wide open sea.B. dona in KonradWallenrod A. is one of the 'Contes Arabes' written by Beckford in Fonthill in 1780-83. conducts a hermit's life . Here the solitary hermit might retreat from the busy world. AlIll. cit. reaching back as far as the romances and allegories of the Middle Ages. Mickiewicz.pp. people's mind so many varied associations and feelings that it was impossible for them to be relegated merely to the status of a hermit's dwelling. On occasions. East Tower constructions evoked in Sussex by Mad Jack Fuller57. Medieval Romances. 232. The association of such a building with the image of Eternal Bliss. op. according to B.B. Myths. as well as the sense of the tower enclosing within itself an even more closed and secret world. The tower now represents a place of pleasure. its appearance in the context of the Other World confines has a long-standing literarypedigree. Graphical and Literary Illustrations of Fonthill Abbey. 62 AfterH.'Revoltof Islam'. op. and was built in about 1820 in Brightling.CantoFourth. has its own place amongst those literary motifs endowed with archetypal force60.. 1950.situating the tower on an island surrounded by water only serves to emphasize the tower's isolation and solitude from the rest of the world by an unsurpassable barrier. In Shelley's Epipsychidion a tower overgrown with ivy and wild vines looming solitary over an Arcadian island in the middle of the ocean. 84.The theme of the tower. In 1823 Brittondescribing Fonthill Abbey mentioned that on "the highest point of ground. 318. the two images of the tower and the hermitage were superimposed on each other. while a bed is made of strewn grass and oak leaves55.. It seems the poet's and painter's solitude. a hiding place for the lovers to attain the transcendent world. Thompson. Follies and Grottoes in England. 63 S. 1960.A Classification of Narrative Elements in Folk-Tales. following her beby trothedto the foreignlandsshuts herselfup in the lonelytowerand 55 54 This not a tower of strength. 130. as indeed is the case in Epipsychidion Damas 61. According to Description in Medieval Literature. 1932-36. Ibidem. p. and its charms. p. Auteur de 'Vathek' [1760-1844]. located in some far-off plentiful land of bliss and happiness appear in Stephen Have's Pastime of Pleasure. p. 1955. P. which lifts man to the frontiers of the Other World. Some wise and tender Ocean-King. or even Beckford's Histoire de Kebal. Britton. London.59-68. op. And. contee par Mamalbeb.. 'Konrad Wallenrod'... [. Fables. only one of them was really intended as a hermit's house. was identified by Thompson in his Motif-Index of Folk Literature. with all its cares.63 All the towers encountered in Beckford's works have this escapist quality about them. p. and its jealousies.. de Vries. William Beckford.. Dictionary of Symbols and Imagery. 8. after A.. p. 319. Mickiewicz. Motif-Index of Folk Literature. Wiltshire with Heraldical and Genealogical Notices of the Beckford Family by. Amsterdam-London. ere crime Had been invented. Towers of Music and Geometry built in gold. Jones's catalogue.. Copenhagen.

152-161.65 The ideas of escapism and of philosophical solitude as interwoven in the Romantic slogan of the 'return to nature' are embodied in the viewing towers built in great number in landscape parks all over Europe.. and when she does. but which would be totally unattanaible to other. Alexander.. or a leader. honouring some dead member of the family. bored by their somewhat conventionalized appearance. 71 B. where even the secret treasure of the 'Lady of the Tower' can be found. 155. a fact that would be scrupulously boted by a local guide-book71. p. and the total number of countries visible. in a situation so far above the Race from whose incursions you shrink. pp. or on an island. 73. the view from the terrace or the top room through its strategically placed windows encouraged a melancholy atmosphere and sublime ruminations. cit. 70. cit. Alexander. These were not intended for any particular purpose. and sham castles. These buildings in fact were on the whole Neo-Gothic in style. 92. pp. if the latter was not already occupied with a predictable replica of Rousseau's tomb. See B. pl. novels. and repeated the idea constantly in his letters. In the second half of his letter to Alexander Cozens. evoking in it a setting derived directly from the land of fairy-tales. op.. ordinary mortals.. towers were commis69 70 was indicated also by A. 67 For exampleVictoria Stand. 68 I give several examplesof the eighteenthand nineteenth in in centurytowermonuments England a paperat colloquyon the 'Nineteenth Monument' Rogalinin 1981. he writes: I seem already to behold the joy and animation of your countenance. p. Druids Circles. already mentioned above. Beckford describes the interior of his imaginarytower. deals with them only in passing in her Follies and Grottoes in England. figures is even using a telescope..the prospecttowerin MatlockBath'Derbyshire'. and the chapter op. At times. Not surprisingly. exulting. Jones..It is to be pubat Century lished in the proceedings the conference. there was a whole series of rooms built one above the other..pp. 1-7. pagodas. 299. p. and when viewed from afar. though this was rarely the actual reason for their being built.orSolomnon'sTemple in Buxton'Derbyshire' Jones. Jones. of C. Besides these 'prospect towers'.A. for in describing the secret room at the tower's summit.. but again particularly in England. Stieglitz. 1843. L. 309].. from the middle of the eighteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. when you stand freed from the embarrasments of the world in this lofty Tower. Id'kowski's de designentitled'Maison campagnepour the the la Crimee'. while at other times. Idikowski. 1884[B. cit. B. 326.Oneof the 157 . he admits that this is a fairy-tale for men only.. op. and building projects64. artistaddedsome figures. they themselves in turn became a picturesque addition to the surrounding countryside. one who triumphs in the reflection of imbibing an air uncontaminated with the breath of wretches. Warszawa. Jones. or cylindrical. the so called 'follies'. XIIV. with one all [of] whose feelings and sentiments vibrate in unison with your own. Zeichnungen aus der sch6nen Baukunst oder Darstellung idealischer und ausgef0hrter Gebiude mit IhrenGrundund Aufrissen. This observational functionwas also partof the purposeof raisingtowersas a wing of a country house. Sometimes the interior was simply a staircase which led up to the top floor. Parreaux. 308]. One of Stieglitz's sheets published in 1805 representing both existing and ideal buildings for a garden park includes a full page illustration with a design for a Gothic hermitage in the form of a tower crowned with battlements [Fig. set far apart from the country house. and usually topped with a terrace covered with battlements or even a low roof with a spire. 1805. His interest in astrology was mixed with a hope to find among the stars another world reachable for him. but most ing 64 See B. it is not without stating that they are 'architecturallyextremely dull' or 'unspeakably ugly'69 Their very location underlined the contemplative frame of mind they were supposed to evoke.. built in stone or brick. either in the shape of a polygon. They belong in fact to the same category as sea shore grottoes. p. Some towers were erected with the intention of providthe unemployed with some form of work67. InA.engaged in examining landscapewhile standingon the terraceof a squaretower which constitutespartof a somewhatstylistically eclectic villa. as in medieval keeps. 14]70. to place there a water container. p. Yet at the same time. 85. cit. p. the objects of our contempt and detestation. . 'The Originof Fonthill'. [B. p. op. that Barbara Jones.. So many sprang up in England.. or even a notable historical event68. 66 QuotedfromB. Leipzig.Jones. cit. 364. The value of the view was measured by means of the tower's height. underground labirynths. 135. Plany budowli obejmuiace rozmaite rodzaje dom6w.Beckford's tower obsession 65 commonly they had a commemorative function. but served a purely aesthetic purpose. This attitude can only partly be explained by his retirement from active social life as a result of his condemnation by public opinion for his overt homosexual preferences. op. op.. being usually the result of a caprice of some rich patron66.self from the world at large by locking himself away in a tall tower throughout his life. hermit cells. cit. often on a hill top. Virtuallyall the towers constructed at that time were intended to open out a whole panorama. advantage was taken of their top.

Thomas Wright72. 1822-27. Bath. sioned in the eighteenth century for various English parkscapes which are traditionally related to astronomical observatories since they were provided with room for such extension and to house these. The seven floor Perrot's Tower built in Birmingham in 1758 was also intended as an astronomical observatory.14) Gothic Hermitage. 1844. set up as a real working observatory. by S. . View from the South-East. 319. op. Zeichnungen. dating from the middle of the eighteenth century and designed by the mathematician and astronomer.. Views of Landsdown Tower. The exception is the tower in Westerton. 1805. Jones. p. Maddox.. but which Beckford eventually turned down in favour of the designs for FonthillAbbey. 15) Landsdown Tower. cit. Goodridge. Stieglitz. That was possibly the purpose of the tower designed in the year 1796 by James Wyatt... in: C. on the top of Stop's Beacon. Fig. Leipzig. and is from 158 72 B. Bath. 73. the same period as the Belmont tower which is a castellated square building. from W.L.

see e. The Ivory Tower as a Cliche of Contempt In the middle of the nineteenth century. This particular reading of the tower mirrorsa manner of intepretation taken to extremes. 76 QuotedfromBeebe. Here the tower is again refuge from the world. 159 . 1963 . Beebe follows this line in analyzing novels about artists from Goethe to Joyce. pp.The traditional association of the tower with philosophical isolation was therefore realized in both poetic and architectural form.op.Zeitschrift for Deutsches Altertumund Deut- 73 William Beckford.the concept of the IvoryTower developed. especially when a study took place of an astronomical workshop. The last heir has spent his best years in vigilance high in the tower night after night. 14. pp. 'IvoryTo'Der Elfenbeinerne Panofsky..withthe Baron'sdesk placedat the middlepointof the tower'saxis at whichhe workedon his editionof the 'Monumenta Germaniae On Historica'. or poring over manuscripts in the company of his tutor. One he terms the 'Sacred Fount' which states that art is a reflection of experience.. 74 On the Ivory Towerconcept.. which he had built near Bath. who said in 1853 (in terms strongly reminiscent of the words of Beckford writing to Cozens): The only refuge left to us was the poet's ivorytower. The House of Usher. Ivory Tower and Sacred Founts.292-294. 1955.conceivedas a roomof reminiscence. Completed in 1837.Itwas 50 approximately feet high. 16] (see footnote 73) one can still speak of a conscious adherence to the idea of philosophical isolation. in a garden of rather exotic plants. pp. as time passed the scheme of linking a study to the archetypal image ossified. 1937. and in his Ivory Tower and Sacred Fount he distinguishes two approaches to art. But while in the case of Bath and Nassau [Fig. to isolate ourselves from the mob. as well as the search for dreamland. Axel: here the action takes place one wild stormy night in the Romantic setting of an old castle belonging to the von Auersperg family. Oliver. the top floor. 1978. London. sche Literatur. which is a clich6 functioning even today74.' in: G. R. Bergmann. his lamp lit over his books. the tower itself may take on various forms: Tennyson's Palace of Art. See B. Eimer. p. This also occurs in Villiers de I'Isle Adam's play. as a wholly sublime concept. the building is reminiscent of the turrets of an Italianvilla. Recol- the only tower in whicha study was builtas an integralpart. through which an extensive view of the surrounding park and landscape was visible in all directions73. and where he moved after selling Fonthill Abbey [Fig. 9]. into which no uninvited guest could intrude. cit. Finch. cit. it stood high on the slope of Lansdown Hill.op. withdecoration relatedto the greatevents in the history the German of Nation. and was surmounted by an ironcast model of Lysicrates's Monument in Athens. 23-37. XXV.Lansdown. which we climbed. William Beckford and his Tower. ever higher. Lifeof The op. enticed by the dichtnishalle. J. In appearance. the tower now loses its physical dimension and exists in an idealized space. New York. high above palaces and villas was general practice with nineteenth century architects. R. 1974. and we got drunk on poetry and love'76 As Beebe points out. Hamburg.therewas the so-calledGe- Friedrich und die Gotik. whileon the nextfloorwerethe combinedlibrary and study. and the other he typifies as the 'IvoryTower' in which art is elevated far above daily life. we drank oblivion in the legendary cup. Descriptions of the lections of the late WilliamBeckford. The room intended for a study with books was gradually replaced by an office used for administrative tasks. Alexander. Landsdown Tower is not Tower its interior Lansdown and weregivenbyCh. 75 M. the groundfloor werethe archives. all emphasizing the owner's participation in the narrow world of family and estate rather than implying any intellectual pretentions.a German had historian built an eight-sidedNeo-Gothic towerbeside his castle in Nassau. 14. 8.D. Biatostocki pointed wer'.Prof. On the very top was a large room with twelve windows. was conceived as an intellectual retreat. The tower. already mentioned. Bath 1893. Beebe. in the framework of literature. or Faust's alchemical workshop. and the artist compared to God75. Bath. Designing of studies in towers. of 'Zum Patriotischen des vom Stein. 292-332. At last. p. which housed Beckford's library as well as a unique collection of prints. Millington. In those novels relating to the tradition of the Ivory Tower. and such practice became a mere sterotype. This in turn is an image connected to yet another aspect of tower symbolism: the tower as a symbol of power. pp. both in terms of the solitary search for knowledge. E. How far poets identified themselves with this second concept is clear with G6rard de Nerval. It was 120 feet high.J. and its conceptualized design was intendedto reflect meansof national On the renewal. Turmin der Deutschen Literatur'.1963/64. Kunstprogramm Freiherrn out this exampleto me. University of Toronto Quarterly.see G. That was indeed the purpose of Beckford's next tower. 226-232. cit. Led by our masters to those high places we breathed at last the pure air of solitude. Formoredetaileddescription Nassautower. M. yet it very rarely materializes in its proper form.g.Between 1815and 1819BaronvomStein. The Artist as Hero in Fiction from Goethe to Joyce. books and manuscripts.

the study of astronomy. From this perspective. 1929. Hardy. Villiers I'lsleAdam. Oxford.pp. Dorset. cit. Harris. study astronomy at once. In the novel. And the punishment is no longer. The dizzy height of the tower which is part of Solnes's home signifies the moral norm that he himself is unable to live up to.1974.see D. 127. though defended by Panofsky78.. ture. cit. 83 Yeats. Dorset.Between the Lines. 77. 34. and then rebuilt after the fire of 1839 as a five-storey Neo-Gothic tower80. The idea of the IvoryTower also contains within itself one other facet: that of the moral attitude of the artist who intends to break with the world. 78 E. as with Beckford's Vathek the collapse of the tower. op... Panofsky. 17]. 82 A 95-96.' Country Life.prospect of unravelling the secret of his family's past..As Beckford and vom Stein a hundred years previously had done.. The building of very high towers ceases to be an act of pride. p. by reducing the importance of everything"981 77 'Vivre?Les serviteurs ferontcela pour nous [. pp. but rather an 'ancient image'. Yeats has hidden a study fitted in the upper levels. p. J. Cleve. 79 Ibidem. Yeats' Poetry in Making.. Prefaceto Yeats. and at the same time it becomes the scene for the key events in the course of the narrative.D. op. 1963. the Eiffel tower had already been standing on the Champ de Mars in Paris for three years. published in 1882.also B. where he wrote his historiosophical tract entitled A Vision.p. In Thomas Hardy's novel Two on a Tower. 169-170.op. For Yeats the tower is not an empty sign reflecting a certain concept. But all these themes do come to force one last time in the poetry of WilliamButler Yeats. who. 205-207. frustrated as he is by the rising fortunes of the young and his own personal cares. and characterized it as ambiguous and elusive. London. J'ai trop de pens6e pourdaigneragir!'. In 1917 Yeats bought and commenced the restoration of a fourteenth century tower to which he gave the Old Irish name of Thoor Ballylee [Fig. 1974. when the builder cannot live up to the high ideals he had set up. Critics have even said that 'the tower symbol has gathered associations like a snowball'. Malins. But your study will reduce them in a singular way. Oswald.? Our servants can do that for us. 1935. so that in the end he falls from the top of the tower. 80 "If [. The author provides a rather unambiguous judgment of Swithin St.]. This accusing tone is already present in the work of SainteBeuve. he descends from the tower having given up hope of ever attaining power equal to that of God. pp. Hardy has the tower readapted by a promising young astronomer for the purposes of scientific observation. For him. at the same time these latest technological innovations demanded the revision of the whole 'Babel complex'. which yet 'dwarfs all critical structures'83. in words that could be the maxim for any IvoryTower enthusiast: Living.pp. This rather moralizing flavour associated with the IvoryTower was then extended to accompany the tower-motif whatever its other implications towards the end of the nineteenth century. 322-327. 249. When Ibsen's play was first published. 94. the construction of which had broken through all the barriers of the impossible. it is a long way back to the ideal of philosophical isolation. there was a never totally restored Guest Room82 The poet himself emphasized on more than one occasion the role that towers played as a symbol in his work. I have spent too much time thinking to want to do anything77. Jones.. Your troubles will be reduced amazingly. 379. Harris. It is described with great precision. For furtherdescriptionof Thoor Ballylee. on the top level. and above this. and guilt now only comes into play. Baltimore and London. but rather the builder falling from the tower's top to his death. as far as Hardyis concerned concentrates rather egoistically on his exclusively scientific interests.A. . since its prototype is supposed to have been the Charborough Park tower near Morden. He moved into it hoping that isolation from his too time-consuming public engagements might help in rekindling poetic creativity..also F. in Ibsen's play of the same name.. the tower plays a key role. p. possessing the 81 T. or longing for an ideal world. as it does for any IvoryTower dweller. built about 1790. cit. Stallworthy. an attitude consistently and commonly condemned. p.] you are restless and anxious about the fu- This moralistic judgement can also be seen in the author's attitude to the towers built by Solnes. who first formulated it in 1839 when contrasting Alfred de Vigny's rejection of life with Victor Hugo's active participation in it79. Coole Park and Ballylee. the master builder. op.Two on a Tower. for in the end he states. 'Charborough Park. provides an escape from the worries of this world. cit. 160 See A. though he is not tempted by the illusory delight of an active lifestyle either..

1815-1817. In The Tower. 87. for instead of providing the poet with the ultimate wisdom which he expected to find.Yeats. integrates.0 WET?~ 16) Gothic Tower in Nassau. London.B. [. is in fact found in the majorityof his works dealing with that theme. and still belonging to that group of symbols. which have numberless meanings besides the one or two the writer lays an emphasis upon. by Johann Claudius von Lassaux. . one that echoes the condemnation of the idea of shutting oneself up in an Ivory Tower.] any highly subjective art can escape from barrenness and shallowness of a too conscious arrangement into the abundance and depth of nature4. p. activity and historical of 17) Thoor Ballylee. D. cover design by T. representing strength. Meditations in Time of Civil War a knight ap- pears as the original owner of Thoor Ballylee. and thus con- 84 85 and Introductions. Yeats. A detailed analysis of the occurrence of the tower symbol in Yeats's poetry has been supplied by D.Studies in the Poetry of W. London. Harris. Harriswho singles out the group of so-called 'Tower poems' and follows in them the process wherein the ideal of the tower disW.THE TOWER I-er TQ WLFR-- 5-Yi-kBy--W. 161 . Tower. 1961. cit. Sturge Moore in the collection of Yeats' poems..A.R.also T. or the half-score he knows of. The Tower. Henn. 1965. 113-134.B. 1927.'ThePhilosophy Shelley'sPoetry'. depth of an archetype..TheLonely op. MACMILLAN-AND. London. it gives him an understanding of his own ignorance and the limits of his capabilities 85 Yeats's mistrustful attitude to the whole concept of isolation in a tower. 132 ff. p. pp. - i ! []- II EA~i g ..

These 'gyres' allowed Yeats to define his own concept of the tower. 86 W. entangled. 'in search of wisdom. Yeats manages at the very same time to deflate it.That proves that he is reading still. while the motion upwards through the spiral. Nevertheless. In Blood and the Moon. an empty ornamentation which hides a void. What is striking here is the conflict never solved by Yeats that troubled him all his life. on which his spiritual predecessors had walked: I declare this tower is my symbol. and to bring it entirely into doubt. Robartes. Its most permanent occupants have been those that lived in the world of spirit: philosophers.. 162 . idem. a result of the poet's strong commitment to the cause of the struggle for Irish independence on the one hand. He has found. though not with the static image having a light at the top. The image of the tower in art. or Shelley's visionary prince: The lonely light that Samuel Palmer engraved. all these return again and again in Yeats's successive works. unconnected to the numerous literaryprecedents of the tower image. An image of mysterious wisdom won by toil. Mere images. The tower is then realized in the form of a particular building made of stones or bricks.B. the staircase is patterned on the Neo-Platonic concept of the wandering of the soul. It posed the problem of choice between the 'heroic tower' and the 'contemplative tower'. 87 Idem. 'The 'Ego Dominus Phasesof the Moon'[1918]. which in turn derived it from the seventeenth century iconographical traditions. and the convinction still strongly held. during which the sacred space previously inhabited only by God has been invaded by the imagination and reason. He perceived the shallow nature of the tower image with its solitary light. the inspired mystic already in posession of secret knowledge. was created by literature.. the poet finally identifies himself entirely with the tower. op. while at the same time defining the symbolic content of Milton'stower as 'an image of mysterious wisdom won by toil'. And now he seeks in book or manuscript What he shall never find. the inhabitants of the tower have changed. until they are finally superseded by a new image: that of the spiral staircase. that he will never find'86. and its relation to the 'gyres'. and become the equivalent of a theatrical prop. as presented by Milton. cit. derides the Poet working under lamplight until late at night at the top of a tower: shadow is the tower the light And. gyring. whirling cones which create successive phases of the world's history are described in his mystical tractate A Vision.. .trasting with the poet himself 'timid. which leads to the summit of the tower. though constantly revised that the tower somehow enclosed truly sacred space. understood ad a symbol of philosophical isolation. cit.. I declare This winding. after the manner of his kind. of the candle-light From the far tower where Milton's Platonist Sat late. Yeats does battle with the tower and the clich6 that developed from it. scientists and the like. In providing this final norm. which together led to the reading of that tower as a symbol of the lonely quest for wisdom. it may be. 'laborious pen'. even the Penseroso figure himself. to unclothe it. [1927].87 Thus over a period of three hundred years. and the 'glimmering light'.Yeats. only to undergo once more a change under literature's influence into the abstraction of the IvoryTower. empty and abashed'. Tuus'. poets. the 'sleepless candle'. spiring treadmill of a stair is may ancestral stair.op. but rather a new one dynamized by the spiral staircase motif.. which since Milton's first use of it had been too often repeated. and thus faded and withered. with its study and room for meditation at its top. the conflict between the perfection of art or that of life. 'Blood and the Moon'. In the Dialogue of Self and Soul. artists. racked with doubts. In Phases of the Moon. cit. chosen this place to live in Because.[1915]op.