A term introduced by T.S Eliot in his essay “Hamlet and His Problems” (1919). Eliot observes that there is something in Hamlet which Shakespeare cannot “drag into the light, contemplate, or manipulate into art” , at least not in the same way that he can with Othello's jealousy, or Coriolanus' pride. He goes on to deduce that “the only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an ‘objective correlative'; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula for that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in a sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.” (Selected Essays, [London: Faber and Faber, 1951], pp. 144-5).
Eliot's brief remark had a history far beyond
Citation: Editors, Litencyc. "Objective Correlative". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 01 November 2001; last revised 25 May 2006. [https://www.litencyc.com/php/stopics.php?rec=true&UID=783, accessed 10 December 2023.]