A Dictionary of Literary Symbols (2001) by Michael Ferber

By Michael Ferber

This can be the 1st dictionary of symbols to be according to literature, instead of "universal" pyschological archetypes, myths or esoterica. Michael Ferber has assembled approximately 2 hundred major entries truly explaining and illustrating the literary symbols that all of us come upon (such as swan, rose, moon, gold), in addition to hundreds and hundreds of cross-references and quotations. The dictionary concentrates on English literature, yet its entries diversity largely from the Bible and classical authors to the 20th century, taking in American and eu literatures. Its proficient kind and wealthy references will make this publication a vital instrument not just for literary and classical students, yet for all scholars of literature.

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In Christian color-symbolism blue belongs to the Virgin. 14). For Shelley, the two hues that nature has made divine are “Green strength, azure hope” (“Ode: Arise” 33). In Chaucer’s “Against Women Unconstant” the refrain is “Instead of blue, thus may ye wear all green” – the blue of constancy, the green of the changeable earth. ) It is so common to see “blue” or “azure” before “sky” or “heaven” – Shakespeare has “blue of heaven,”“aerial blue,” and “azured vault,” Wordsworth has “clear blue sky,”“azure heavens” and “blue 31 Blue firmament” – that it takes a feat of phrasing to bring home the blueness and its symbolic resonance.

82–84, trans. Mandelbaum). “Azure” has always had nearly the opposite connotation: it is the noble, pure, ideal blue, especially of the clear sky or the Mediterranean Sea. ”) It is a favorite word of Shelley’s. But some later writers saw the ideal as impossibly distant and indifferent to human suffering. Baudelaire sees a swan turning its neck “towards the ironic and cruelly blue sky” (“Le Cygne”). Mallarmé uses azur for the pure ideal toward which his soul sighs (“Soupir”), the “virginal azure” whose air makes his lips hungry (“Don du Poème”), but it is a “cruel ideal” for its “serene irony,” its inaccessibility except by glimpses to the tormented poet who tries to apprehend it (“L’Azur”).

At the same time birds seem to have souls themselves, and to pour them forth when they sing. Thomson imagines that birds in spring “in courtship to their mates / Pour forth their little souls” (“Spring” 619–20) while in autumn they sit “Robbed of their tuneful souls” (“Autumn” 979). ” (57–58). Hardy hears a bird on a winter afternoon: it “Had chosen thus to fling his soul / Upon the growing gloom” (“The Darkling Thrush” 23–24). Contributing to this notion may be the use of “soul” in some dialects of English to mean the lungs of a bird.

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