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Title: Saint-John Perse and the sacred
Author: Lastennet, Pierre
ISNI:       0000 0001 3605 3575
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2001
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The aim of the thesis is threefold. First, it endeavours to define the sacred in general, using concepts from different fields such as anthropology, philosophy and ethnology in order to present the sacred in human experience, and to offer an operative conceptual framework indispensable to guide the analysis of the sacred in Saint-John Perse's poetry. Then it proceeds to demonstrate that this notion constitutes the very essence of Saint-John Perse's approach to poetry since fundamental religious, symbolic and mythological patterns of the sacred can be found in the very structure and images of his early works. The second part proposes to examine the evolution of the sacred in Saint-John Perse's subsequent works. Linked to the forces and elements of the natural world, in particular the wind and the sea, the sacred is presented by the poet as a conscious and pagan response by man to the mystery of his creation. Having created a poetic ritual of the sacred and defined himself as a divine medium, Saint-John Perse embarks on a quest for transcendence through his poetic powers. Yet his Promethean humanism remains marked by an unbridgeable gap between human and divine worlds. In the third part, it is argued that Saint-John Perse attempted to deconstruct the sacred itself in order to allow the ontological investigation of the human condition. The concepts of Being and time then prove to be instrumental to the new vision of the sacred, then prompting a critical approach to language. The thesis demonstrates that Saint-John Perse's poetry of the sacred echoes the quest for religious fulfilment of a man who could not reconcile himself with the ethical and spiritual demands of any given religion, and Christianity in particular, thereby offering a genuine and unique contribution to the universal question of man's destiny.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature