chapter  IV
Hunter and Shaman
Pages 5

To understand twentieth-century English literature one needs some notion of the vague complexities of French Symbolism, and also of its relation to a kindred tradition that already existed in England, in itself very complex. Mr. Joseph Campbell is concerned with the species, not with the individual psyche; but his historical argument depends upon a distinction between two psychic types, hunter and shaman. Modern literature, and criticism, are in a sense occult sciences, mages and beats abound. This chapter discusses on physicist-hunters and artist-shamans; the division of labour is an old, palaeolithic. Symons's Preface to The Symbolist Movement in Literature, which is addressed to Yeats, speaks of a 'revolt against exteriority, against rhetoric, against a materialistic tradition'; of Symbolism as an 'endeavour to disengage the ultimate essence, the soul'. It announces a duty for literature, which becomes 'a kind of religion, with all the duties and responsibilities of sacred ritual'.