The Echo of Solitude in the Romantic Representations of the Sea: Multivalence of a Motif in Romance Literatures

by Hassouna, Djehane Abdel

Abstract (Summary)
Writers have relentlessly acknowledged the influence of water on their poetic vision. The Romantic malaise found its solace in the proximity of a body of water. Offering the same ambiguity as the human character, the influence of the sea can be both beneficial and detrimental. My dissertation discusses the multivalence of a Romantic Sea in French, Italian and Spanish Literatures. Through a thematic as well as a comparative approach, I study numerous transnational examples revolving around the importance of the sea in the lives of a series of protagonists. The vicinity of the sea induces either an implicit or explicit dialogue between the character and the liquid element, triggering a deeper understanding of self, and providing an alleviation of the pressures burdening the psyche of the protagonist. Since the sea can represent death as well as salvation, the first chapter describes its ambiguity in the representations of a series of writings. Holding in its depths the power of Good and Evil, the sea can either save or threaten. The second chapter indicates how the unrestrained freedom of the waves could motivate the characters to liberate themselves from the burden of social constraints while recovering their own identity. The liquid element, assuming the role of a mentor, guides the character on the path of an emotional recovery. The third chapter focuses on the reflective properties of the water, which at times leads to a symbiosis, highlighting the communion between the character and the sea. The fourth chapter shows how the sea appeases the nostalgia of exile by filling the void left by the destierro from ones native land, thus bridging the gap of memory. The fifth and last chapter studies the sea as an agent of transcendence, going beyond the limitations of mortality, perception, as well as cognition. The human being and the Sea have a lot in common: depth, ambiguity, and ultimately, irrationality. Just like humans, the sea represents a mysterious realm, whose incommensurable depth triggers endless suppositions.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Giuseppina Mecchia; Gerald Martin; Yves Citton; Francesca Savoia; Phillip Watts

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:07/07/2006

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