A Comparative Analysis of Selected Romantic Prose Passages

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Roger B. Johnson, Jr.

Advisor Department



The purpose of this study is threefold. One aim is to ascertain^whether the concept of the essential unity of Western European^Romanticism can be supported through a textual comparison of^selections from German, French, and English prose writers; the^second is to demonstrate a method of stylistic analysis; the third^is to offer a contribution to the understanding of six prose works^through a close textual analysis of passages from these works.^The selections are from Eichendorff's Aus dem Leben eines^Taugenichts, Arnim's Isabella von Agypten, Chateaubriand's(' )^Rene, Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris, Scott's Ivanhoe, and MaryShelley's Frankenstein. Each passage is considered in its context and analyzed on all levels of language, from the phonemic to that of larger patterns of syntax and paragraph development. The analysis is conducted in the order of the text, sentence by sentence, word by word. A number of Romantic themes, motifs, and concerns are present in all six texts, and a large area of congruence exists at the thematic level. The most important single common element is a view of nature that depends on accurate and specific description of experienced reality. At the stylistic level, the most striking individual peculiarities are: in Eichendorff's text, a strong kinship with the fairy tale; in Arnim's text, lack of unity as a result of abstraction and irony; in Chateaubriand's text, balanced structure; in Hugo's text, triads and catalogues, loose sentence structure; in Scott's text, Latinized vocabulary combined with alliteration; in Mary Shelley's text, a pattern of consonant repetition. Common elements of style include: humanization of nature; sustained mood or atmosphere; unified composition, often moving toward greater intensity; condensation of meaning through structural patterns and images; avoidance of abstraction, factual information, and unsympathetic attitude on the part of the narrator. The study affirms the existence of an affinity among six Romantic prose writers which is not limited to thematic congruence but is observed at the level of style or verbal texture.