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Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Arthur Bonner

First Committee Member

Marie Breniman

Second Committee Member

Grace Ward


It has been the object of the writer, in preparing this thesis, to emphasize the influence of British literature upon the Pre-Rapheelite Brotherhood of painters who lived and worked during the reign of Queen Victoria. It is the hope of the writer to show, in treating these artists who revived the truthfulness of nature as applied to painting, that those who were realists were also idealists, and that those who were romanticists were yet realists in the broader sense of the term, for realism may interpret the larger elements of imagination.

With due recognition of her limited ability, the author desires to dispel what to her seem several narrowly critical edicts pronounced against the Brotherhood by various students of art, thereby freeing the Brotherhood from a maze of confusing "isms" and placing them on a humanized plane of appreciation as highly inspirational artists.

Perhaps the most important contribution of the Pre- Raphaelites lies in the fact that they nationalized British art and at the same time gave it individuality by introducing into it for the first time subjects from British literature. It is furthermore the desire of the writer to emphasize the position of William Morris not as an adjunct of the Pre-Raphaelite group, but as a conciliatory figure who united the two factions of the Brotherhood, the realistic and the romantic, into a harmonious group of individualists.

Lastly, as interesting sidelights upon the Pre-Raphaelites, the author wishes to present in the final chapter of this paper, a brief discussion of two themes relative to the main topic: the interrelationship of the Pre-Raphaelite painters and writers who formed a larger brotherhood, and the contribution which the Pre-Raphaelites have made to British art from foreign sources, As such material is not strictly in keeping with the subject of the work, it was thought advisable to reserve such digressive discourse for the final pages.