University of Tasmania
whole_EvenhuisEdithKatherine1976_thesis.pdf (12.38 MB)

The awareness of time and eternity in the German lyrics of Andreas Gryphius.

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posted on 2023-05-26, 23:50 authored by Evenhuis, Edith Katherine
The intention of this thesis has been to demonstrate the centrality of Gryphius' awareness of time and eternity in his German lyrics. By way of introduction, we have looked briefly at the poet's life and background, as well as at the concept of poetry prevalent in his era. In the main body of the thesis we have then proceeded to discuss the poet's awareness of time and eternity as revealed, firstly, in the theme and subject matter of his German lyrics, secondly, in structure and imagery. Wherever relevant, reference has been made to his drama and funeral dissertations. Having attempted to define the concepts of time and eternity - as far as possible in terms of Gryphius' own statements - we have then dealt with the poet's predominant themes: transience of universe, world-system, man and his values, human life, the use and conquest of time - always within the wider context of the awareness of time and eternity. From the above analysis we have arrived at the following conclusions: far from being torn apart by the dichotomy between time and eternity, Gryphius' whole creative personality is orientated towards the ultimate integration of the two. This is not to deny, in any way, his profound sense of the transience and futility of the things of time in themselves. But here his awareness does not end. While refusing to ascribe any eternal or eternalising qualities to anything born of, or created in, time, he is swift to recognise that the temporal may well serve as a pointer to the eternal. He also believes in the potential of every individual to conquer time, not by any of the temporal means, whose spuriousness he decries, but by availing himself of the ultimate conquest of time accomplished by Christ. It is still within this essentially Christian framework that we have viewed Gryphius' use of structure and imagery. In examining his exploitation of the sonnet form, we have pointed to a definite correspondence between structure and the view of life presented, it being virtually impossible, in Gryphius' serious sonnets, to speak of intricacy of form for its own sake. Similarly, in the domain of imagery, we have detected a clear purpose behind his incorporation of even the most conventional metaphors and similes. We have shown that Gryphius' frequent use of allegory and emblem is highly symptomatic of his assessment of time in the light of eternity: it is not just that merely incidental or accidental phenomena from the material realm may assume universal and spiritual significance, but rather that, according to Gryphius' conviction, the temporal assumes value, significance and durability only as it is brought into focus with the eternal. In our final conclusion we have noted that, for Gryphius, the only unit of time to which man may lay any claim is the moment. Depending on the individual's attitude towards it, it is either an elusive, moving point in the inexorable course of time or the very point at which eternity offers itself to us.


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Copyright 1975 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (Ph.D.) - University of Tasmania, 1976. Bibliography: l. 249-261

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