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Myths and literary figures in the prose fiction of Ramon Perez de Ayala

Ingham, John A. (1978) Myths and literary figures in the prose fiction of Ramon Perez de Ayala. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The thesis describes Pérez de Ayala's use of myths and literary figures, enquires into their effect on the structure of his novels and short stories and traces the development of this transcendental side of Ayala from his early pantheism to his later qualified optimism. Chapter 1 shows the close connection between myth and literature and outlines the attraction of myth for the creative writer. The second chapter shows how Ayala's view of life and concept of the novel led him to turn to myth to express his ideas. The thesis then examines chronologically all Ayala's fiction. Throughout there is found a single mythical hero whose progress through the three traditional stages of departure, initiation and rebirth is attended by traditional motifs. In Ayala's very early fiction this hero lives in complete harmony with the next world, but after 1905 his quest is a failure because he cannot reconcile his dream of order with his experience of disorder and brutality. In the period after 1915 the heroes become more successful, although few become 'pure' heroes and for most success is partial and pragmatic. These three periods show different uses of the mythical, literary and real levels. In the first, they exist harmoniously, but in the second the juxtaposition is often ironical and grotesque. In the third there is a conscious, although sometimes unsuccessful, attempt to reconcile the levels, often through the inclusion of literary figures which influence the structure of some of his work. The inclusion of these two extra levels gives Ayala's work a 'mythical quality’ which challenges traditional ideas of characterisation, authorship, space and time in the novel. The thesis ends by suggesting possible influences on Ayala and reviewing the concept of the mythical novel during the first thirty year of the century.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:1978
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:18 Sep 2013 10:22

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