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Open Access Knowledge and Scholarship

Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

English: English Studies: M.A.




College of Liberal Arts

First Advisor

Judith Dorn

Second Advisor

Sharon Cogdill

Third Advisor

Glenn Davis

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

Eighteenth-century, British, Mystic, Mercantile, Falconer Sea-poetry


The title of this thesis, British Mercantile Mysticism, explores the relationship between the rising mercantile outlook among the newly evolving middle and merchant classes in England during the seventeenth century into the later part of the eighteenth.

It examines the rise of the new science used in the navigation of the great fleet of the merchant marine. These ideas combined with British culture at the time and other influences such as religion, the world of letters, politics and aesthetics are depicted in William Falconer’s poem The Shipwreck (1762). This simple poem can be seen as a microcosm or a reflection of the mindset, aspirations and inspirations that powered the modern and progressive thinking of the eighteenth century in Great Britain. These ideas have since spread to much of the English speaking world (particularly North America, Australia and New Zealand) even to this day.