Outside the Gates of Eden: the travelling figure in the works of Walter de la Mare

Murphy, Carol (2024) Outside the Gates of Eden: the travelling figure in the works of Walter de la Mare. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

Full text available as:
[thumbnail of 2023MurphyMLitt(R).pdf] PDF
Download (874kB)


My thesis is about the extraordinary author and poet Walter de la Mare. In it, I seek to draw attention to his singular and mostly neglected talent. The thesis concentrates on an important aspect of his work, that of the travelling figure. Through this medium, I endeavour to illuminate the manifold aspects of his work, which symbiotically produce a holistic and coherent whole. It is necessary to distinguish de la Mare’s place in English literature and to read his prose and poetry as a whole, as one accentuates and drives the other. Through the traveller, we become aware of the author’s utilization of the ‘quest’ form in literature. De la Mare uses this form to raise concerns of a metaphysical nature, asking existential questions about, among other things, the value of human life, its significance and the possible destination of the traveller who travels through life, dream and the human mind while passing many signposts which the author has set up in his work as guidelines for the reader who instinctively shares these concerns.

The thesis also undertakes to show the significant influences on de la Mare, his sphere of influence and his critical place in English literature. The author wrote through the reigns of three monarchs, yet despite this longevity, his work always had a fresh appeal while retaining his distinctive style. I have employed a close critical interpretation of this style as this is necessary for a poet so interested in the technique of poetry. As de la Mare left no autobiography or memoirs, the thesis employs many quotes that help establish a personal and lucid expression of his writing.

Therefore, the travelling figure represents de la Mare’s literary journey through his oeuvre as well as the metaphorical journey of his characters. Through the traveller, we find the author’s ambiguity, his ambivalence, and the other side of his literature – pure enchantment. The traveller emphasizes the need to discover more about this undervalued and unique writer.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Creasy, Dr. Matthew and Radford, Dr. Andrew
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84376
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2024 13:43
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2024 13:43
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84376
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/84376

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year