English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-23-1949


General cultural knowledge of the present day includes legends of diverse origin and content. The legends date from many different levels in the growth of civilization, but they persist because in some way they seem to satisfy basic needs of the cultures through which they exist. Eventually they become separated from the specific location, incident, or time which gave them birth and are assimilated into the popular imagination. Legends change as the cultures in which they persist change and as they are used by the writers of literature for either entertainment, didactic, or symbolical value. Many legends even become extended to symbolize a quality or a dream in which people wish to believe. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the persistence in English literature of one particular legend, the Prester John Legends, and to illustrate its development, the pattern of its use in literature, and its ultimate possible meaning.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

Cecil Vivian Wicker

Second Committee Member

Dorothy Woodward

Third Committee Member

Katherine Gauss Simons




Prester John Legend, Alfred Noye, Legends in English Literature

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