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Author COLAHAN, EMILIE N
Title VILLIERS DE L'ISLE-ADAM: METAPHYSICAL CONSTRUCTS AND SYMBOLIC MODES
Descript 248 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 41-01, Section: A, page: 0271
Thesis (Ph.D.)--City University of New York, 1980
This study examines Villiers de l'Isle-Adam's metaphysical preoccupations and illustionary constructs of the Ideal and of the occult in relation to occult and mystic traditions which reappeared in the nineteenth century. Villiers' idealistic heros and heroines, imbued with the eternal attributes of mythical archetypes, are the defenders of a spiritual idealism against the positivists of his century who pulmugated myths of technological progress and scientific knowledge as a panacea for man's ills. An examination of Villers' major works from his earliest poetry to Axel reveals a consistent effort on Villiers' part to evoke the illusionary constructs of the mind as the only true reality. Villiers posits the existence of a hidden reality beyond the visible in two ways. The first is to trace the spiritual itinerary of his idealists in search of the Absolute. The aim of the quest is to obtain gnosis or to re-establish the divine fusion of the masculine and the feminine. The hero's search for the Absolute is often presented in terms of the ritual of initiation. The hero must overcome the obstacles which bind him to his terrestrial existence -- his own desires for earthly wealth, love, and life. Villiers' symbolic incarnations of superior beings seeking true Being are represented by the poet, the seer, or the magus. By following their spiritual journey the reader has the impression of having had a glimpse of their vision of the Ideal. The object of their quest often takes the form of the Eternal Feminine, who is symbolized by the various incarnations of the archetypal woman from Isis to the future incarnation of a new Eve. Ultimately, Villiers succeeds in fusing the great mysteries of Gnosis and Eros. The quest to re-establish the primordial, androgynous Godhead is tantamount to fusion with divine Being. The quest usually ends in failure for true union is only possible in death
The second way in which Villiers posits the existence of an occult reality is to present his characters with the manifestation of occult forces which they cannot understand due to their spiritual blindness. This type of story is usually presented in the form of the fantastic tale. The incursion of occult forces provides no illumination or gnosis, only a sense of ambiguity and inadequacy for the protagonists who are characterized by their lack of spiritual awareness and their bad faith
School code: 0046
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 41-01A
Subject Literature, Romance
0313
Alt Author City University of New York
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