UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

A discussion of some aspects of the English visionary novel Smith, Marion W. A.

Abstract

This thesis is an investigation of the thematic and stylistic similarities in three novels: Wuthering Heights, Moby-Dick, and Women in Love. The most outstanding similarity is that all the novels focus on the idea of the Unity behind all created things, a Being above, through and in all created beings. In Wuthering Heights this Unity is described in terms of the Eternity of Love; in Moby-Dick, it is Infinity; in Women in Love, it is the Reality which lies beneath the surface manifestations of all things. In each of these novels, also, the protagonist gains knowledge of this Unity through love. Inspired by love, he moves from perception of unity, through purgation of the self, to union with Being. The visionary novels express essentially the same ideas as many philosophic and religious works which deal with the union of man with the Infinite, or with man's attainment of the eternal Ideals. But the visionary novels contrast with such religious or philosophic works in that they present the way to union in purely human, purely material terms. In the visionary novels, also, characteristics of poetry, such as symbolic language and heightened rhythm, are used to focus the reader's attention on the infinite which shines through the finite world of the novel. In the visionary novel, both in theme and technique, the infinite and the finite become one.

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