The transcendental symbol.

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This thesis constitutes a preliminary consideration of the artistic creative process in Romantic transcendental art, whereby chaos is transformed into cosmos. Tt deals with the disintegration of world orders and the Romantic crisis of consciousness, at the discovery of process in a world which was earlier thought to be static. In the face of a chaotic environment, a world in flux, the language of art experienced some radical transformations, both from the standpoint of what it was called upon to do in establishing order in the world, and in its organic relationship to the artist as creator. There is consideration given to the nature of the transformation of consciousness, and to the Word as a "transcendental symbol" which both makes use of and resolves the dialectical nature of process in the creative act. Consideration is given to the Word as the symbol which unites Being and becoming. For the Romantic poet to shape chaos into cosmos, it was necessary for him to discover the significance of himself both in relation to the ground of order in Being, and his place in relation to the flux of the world. Hence considerable attention is given to the creative character of the artist, and to the -IV- artist's use of his creative tools. In this context I have dealt with three figures who were 'avowed' transcendentalists - Carlyle, EmersOn, and! Thoreau - but kept ray discussion open enough so that the consideration nay also be extended to other Romantic poets. In considering these three, I have selected works where the concern for the discovery of the right relationship of nan to Divine Being and to the world of phenomena is uppermost. In each instance the central question of the activity of the Creative \ Word, the tool of creation, in bringing a True cosmos out of chaos is uppermost. In each case the artist finds that the reorient-ation of consciousness frora the world of process to a Centre in Being, brings new resources of language, a discovery of the significance of the act of creation, an appreciation of the True value of the external creation, and a restored sense of order in a dynamic universe. I deal with the work of Carlyle for the purpose of considering the rhythms of the Romantic revolution of consciousness, Emerson for the discovery of the nature of man's relationship to Divine Being, and Thoreau for his application of the creative process in the actualization of the Divine Word in forn. The central value of the thesis centers in its consideration of the root question of Romanticism, which is the discovery, in the face of external disintegration, of a Divine Centre and source of order within the human being which, through the activity of the Creative Word in the creative process, could be made flesh, so brin^inr order into the flux of the external creation.


Thesis (M.A.) - Dept. of English - Simon Fraser University

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Copyright remains with the author
Subject headings: 
Heroes in literature.
Symbolism in literature.
Senior supervisor: 
Robert H. Dunham
Arts and Social Sciences: Department of English
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) M.A.