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Title: Nijhoff's symbolism
Author: Woods, William James
ISNI:       0000 0000 6785 8344
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1978
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Nijhoff's symbolism develops from a close orientation to the fringe world of the French Symbolists, with Christian culture and contemporary Dutch Post-Symbolists providing further sources of influence. A study of psychological and literary background and of Nijhoff's own poetic theories helps to determine what his symbols mean. A change of attitude which Nijhoff underwent between the publication of the volumes 'Vormen' (1924) and 'Nieuwe Gedichten'(1934) as a result of which he starts to express a belief in and liking for the real world, though retaining an amount of counteraction between real and ideal, brings his symbolism to an orientation in the real world and makes it more complex and extensive, while maintaining its function of conveying correspondences with another life, another world, a distant universe or imaginary ideals. He abandons a mood of reluctant withdrawal and drops former imitations in order to deal with his own personality and situations directly, to expand the narrative element and make poems symbolic for their story, and to give figures a more independent characterisation. Definite patterns of consistency throughout his poetry are found in recurrent major symbols such as mother, child, martyr, street, journey, bird and boat, and themes of death, dualism and religion. Basic wish impulses are continued, but become transposed to new surroundings, and eventually no longer related to an 'I-figure', but to other people. With the extension of symbolism into common surroundings, it becomes less monolithic and less comparative in type, not so predominantly a projection of the poet's own mental state, but more ambiguous and suggestive, relying more on inducing ideas in the reader, whose own capacity for symbolic determination is given increased scope.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: German Literature