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Title: Symbolism in modern English drama
Author: Worth, Katharine J.
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 1953
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The resurgence of symbolism in modern literature is no accidental phenomenon, nor is it prompted exclusively by the attempt to, formulate new techniques. As we know, the symbolising instinct is as old as mankind: symbolism is ’no mere idle fancy or corrupt degeneration: it is inherent in the very texture of human life'. The human mind functions symbolically, Whitehead tells us, ’when some components of its experience elicit consciousness, beliefs, emotions and usages, respecting other components of its experience.’ And it appears that man has, from time immemorial, felt the need to relate the components of his personal experience, as part of the attempt to understand something of the organisation of the universe itself. A symbol is ’a sign by which one knows or infers a thing’, 'a material object representing or taken to represent something immaterial or abstract'. In his study of religious symbols, Bevan distinguishes two main kinds, those behind which we can see, and those behind which we cannot see. The first kind are, essentially, an aid to understanding of the idea represented, it being possible, however, to present the idea in other ways, perhaps in the form of abstract statement. The symbol here is a kind of shorthand, or a device by which the idea is brought home in more familiar or dramatic terms. We might instance the symbols of the ship, representing the Church, the cornucopia, representing fertility, the crown, representing Kingship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Theater