The Motif of Metamorphosis in Nineteenth-Century Scottish Fiction

Peprnik, Michal (1993) The Motif of Metamorphosis in Nineteenth-Century Scottish Fiction. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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The purpose of this dissertation is to study the treatment and the development of the motif of metamorphosis in the works of three major Scottish writers of the nineteenth century. The selected works represent important milestones in the development of the concept from the folk diabolic tradition to the Romantic subjective treatment (internalization) of supernatural phenomena. Metamorphosis, conceived as a fall into a lower order of life, usually madness, becomes a symbolic counterpoint to the transcendental conceptions of spiritual transformati- on and the idea of mankind's progress in the nineteenth century. Metamorphosis reflects both fear and fascination arising from this radical transgression of natural order' and from the loss of one's own identity or one's own physical shape because the sense of identity and habitual shape can be regarded as a restriction and confinement, as well as a source of one's acceptance in human community. In James Hogg and R.L.Stevenson metamorphosis operates within this definition; it is presented as an image of the fall and has a significant ethical function, from the means of a rise it becomes the means of a fall. In George MacDonald's work, however, metamorphosis goes along with spiritual transformation, and expresses a vision of spiritual progress and transcendence. Since MacDonald's fantasy can be taken as a symbolic space of mind, metamorphosis becomes a metaphor of mental processes. In all the selected texts metamorphosis plays the central structural role. As a major dramatic event, it generates conflicts and unifies the texts thematically.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Douglas Gifford
Keywords: British & Irish literature
Date of Award: 1993
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1993-74979
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2019 14:48
Last Modified: 27 Sep 2019 14:48

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