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Beautiful Sanctuaries in Nineteenth- and Early-Twentieth-Century European Literature


Hugo Walter

This book is a collection of wonderful and thoughtful essays that explore the theme of beautiful sanctuaries in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century European literature. The book focuses especially on selected works by Percy Shelley, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Henrik Ibsen, and James Hilton. These sanctuaries of light, natural beauty, and tranquility comfort, nurture, and soothe the heart, mind, and soul of the individual, and inspire creative expression.


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Conclusion 185


Conclusion In this book I have discussed numerous sanctuaries of beauty, light, and serenity in nineteenth and early twentieth century European literature. In examining diverse works of Percy Shelley, E. T. A. Hoffmann, Henrik Ibsen, and James Hilton, I have shown that the personae in the poems and the protagonists in the prose works are often able to attain or create a sanctuary of light, natural beauty, and blissful serenity which comforts and heals the heart and soul. In some scenarios, as in Shelley’s “Hymn to Intellectual Beauty,” “Ode to the West Wind,” “Song of Apollo,” and “The Cloud” this is not a daunting task but rather a thoroughly pleasurable experience. In other works such as Hoffmann’s “The Golden Pot” and “The Nutcracker” there are challenging moments which the protagonist must encounter and overcome in aspiring to achieve a sanctuary of blissful luminescence. And in other works such as Hoffmann’s “The Mines at Falun,” Ibsen’s The Master Builder or Hilton’s Lost Horizon the creation of and the participation in a sanctuary of light and peace is the result of a very challenging and difficult developmental process which involves emotional peril and physical danger for the protagonist. The quest for a sanctuary of light and serenity in the works of Shelley, Hoffmann, Ibsen, and Hilton may have different characteristics and motivations and may be developed in very distinctive environments, but there is ultimately in many of these works a sense of success, a sense of the effective participation by the personae...

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