Morton, Sylvia (1970)
Marcel Schwob and English literature.
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The thesis surveys the most important aspects of the work of Marcel Schwob (1867-1905) on English literature: the imaginary lives of Cyril Tourneur and Dante Gabriel Rossettir the talk on John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, the translations of Hamlet and Defoe's Moll Flanuers, with their prefaces, and the essays on George Meredith and Robert Louis Stevenson. The first chapter gives an account of Schwob's contacts with living British authors, notably Oscar Wilde, W.E. Henley, Charles Whibley, Edmund Gosse and Arnold Bennett, his wide reading and his projects for further studies. The second places him in his literary background, seeking new modes of prose narrative and finding in English writers confirmation of his theories on the representation of reality in art, and illustration of the themes and techniques he practised in his creative work. There follows a series of chapters devoted to his treatment of individual authors, which trace the development of his interest and bring out, by comparison with prevailing critical attitudes and the preoccupations of his milieu, both the originality of his approach and its conformity to the trend of his times. They underline also the common traits of his studies: the perception of recurrent themes in the literatures of diverse civilisations, admiration at the change wrought by the artist on motifs from folk-art, awareness of the power of language to convey a particular vision of the world (a significant element in his theory of translation), the illumination of a writer's work by relating its various features to his one central concern. The conclusion shows that these traits derive from his methods in creative writing, and sees in their application to criticism the reason for the impact of Schwob's work.
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Institution: University of London, Bedford College (United Kingdom).