Recent Ph.D. Dissertations Concerning Hermeticism or Hermetism


Title: The second paradise of the world: Mythic themes in Robertson Davies' Cornish Trilogy

Author(s): Thomas, Lawrence Adrian Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2001 Pages: 00120 Institution: The University of Texas at Arlington; 2502 Advisor: Supervisor Tom Porter Source: DAI, 62, no. 03A (2001): p. 1027 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-19723-0
Abstract: In this dissertation, I focus on Robertson Davies' use of mythic themes, symbols, and patterns to structure the narrative and illuminate the development of the characters in his Cornish Trilogy. In chapter 1, I delineate the four methods employed: allusions that connect characters to mythic systems, discovery and appropriation by the characters of mythic motifs, personification of mythic figures on a penultimate plane, and the structuring of the action and narrative through a comprehensive mythos. My method of procedure is to analyze the diverse ways Davies uses myth in each volume of the trilogy. Considering each novel in turn, I identify the primary mythic themes, images, and patterns Davies employs. Second, I trace how myth is used to illuminate the development of each character and to structure the evolution of the plot. Third, I identify ways that Davies uses particular images and themes to connect and unify the three diverse narratives of the trilogy. In chapter 2, the analysis concentrates on the use of various mythic metaphors and motifs in The Rebel Angels (e.g., the predominant theme of alchemical transformation and rejuvenation, various uses of feminine archetypes such as the Great Mother, Sophia, and the vessel of wisdom, tarot symbols, and the quest for wisdom as the second Eden or paradise). In chapter 3, the focus is on What's Bred in The Bone, in which the symbols of Christianity, Hermes and the Grail legend provide much of the mythic patterning of the story. I discuss the protagonist, Francis Cornish, as one who attempts to understand his art and his life in terms of the Grail quest and, in particular, how he embodies his inner vision in a painting, The Marriage at Cana. In chapter 4, the discussion focuses on how Arthurian motifs gather intensity and focus in the third novel of the trilogy, the Lyre of Orpheus, in which the plot revolves around the completion and performance of an opera, Arthur of Britain, attributed by Davies for fictional purposes to E. T. A. Hoffman. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, CANADIAN (ENGLISH) Accession No: AAI3010054

Title: Sculptural patronage and the houses of late Hellenistic Delos (Greece)

Author(s): Sanders, Helen Marina Degree: Ph.D. Year: 2001 Pages: 00276 Institution: University of Michigan; 0127 Advisor: Chairs Elaine K. Gazda John Griffiths Pedley Source: DAI, 62, no. 01A (2001): p. 8 Standard No: ISBN: 0-493-09712-0

Abstract: In this dissertation I investigate the selections made by patrons of sculpture for the late Hellenistic houses of Delos. Previous work by Martin Kreeb established the corpus of domestic sculpture, focused on their settings and range of functions, and contrasted Delos with earlier Greek houses and the later houses of Pompeii. His work raises questions, which I examine, about the Delian population and the development of domestic display, especially Italian inhabitants and their role as patrons. I further focus on the subjects and styles of the sculptures, and how they reveal the different meanings and uses of sculpture in Delian houses. The wealth of the Delian population was a more important influence on domestic decor than the ethnic or cultural backgrounds of the inhabitants. Chapter 1 introduces the issues and reviews previous studies of domestic decor and Delian sculpture. Chapter 2 contrasts the cosmopolitan population of Delos, which included Italians, with the uniformity of the decor of the houses. Chapter 3 discusses Kreeb's conclusions about the settings, displays, and functions of the sculptures based on their archaeological and architectural contexts. My analysis highlights the limitations of the evidence, but confirms the value of examining the broad range of sculptures from residential areas. To this end, I focus Chapter 4 on case-studies of important mythological subjects: herms and Hermes, Aphrodite, Herakles, the Dionysiac entourage, and Artemis. I suggest reasons for the popularity of specific types and iconographic motifs, and my study confirms a multi-faceted role for the sculptures within Delian households. Delian domestic sculpture provides an opportunity to examine the phenomenon of sculptural copying, more accurately characterized as repetition. Chapter 5 examines how domestic displays encouraged the creation of multiple versions of sculptures in many formats. Reliance on familiar associations of Classical subjects and styles played a major role in the production of a consistent repertoire of compositional types. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: ART HISTORY HISTORY, ANCIENT Accession No: AAI3001045

Title: Wallace Stevens: Tale teller of the soul

Author(s): Frusciante, Denise Marie
Degree: M.A. Year: 2000 Pages: 00083 Institution: Florida Atlantic University; 0119 Advisor: Adviser Howard Pearce Source: MAI, 39, no. 02 (2000): p. 353 Standard No: ISBN: 0-599-95507-4

Abstract: In his work Re-Visioning Psychology, Jungian depth psychologist James Hillman defines the soul as "a perspective rather than a substance, a viewpoint toward things rather than a thing itself"(xvi). This definition helps to show the existence of a nontraditional, but not anti-Christian, soul in the works of Wallace Stevens. From the swirling chaos of "The Pleasures of Merely Circulating" to the underworld liminal irreality displayed in "Yellow Afternoon," we find psyche flourishing in the poetry of Stevens. She dwells in an underworld existence surrounded by archetypal Gods, such as Hermes, Hades, Dionysus, Priapus, and Zeus. While Stevens does not use the word "soul" in any of the poems to be discussed, Hillman's theories on psyche show us that we are not to literalize our souls. We must allow psyche to transport us into a metaphoric, interior realm where Stevens's worms, his poet figure, and his readers can transform into Gods. SUBJECT(S) Descriptor: LITERATURE, AMERICAN Accession No: AAI1401489