Objective correlative Popularized by T. S. Eliot (who later admitted his astonishment at its success) in 1919 to explain his dissatisfaction with Hamlet: 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 of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts . . . are given, the emotion is immediately evoked. The application to Hamlet now seems fanciful, but as the technical procedure in ‘pure poetry’ the general formula is plausible. The most serious omission is the creative contribution of the unconscious mind. Eliseo Vivas criticized the concept in detail in Creation and Discovery (1955), arguing that a writer only discovers a particular emotion to express in the act of composition. See T. S. Eliot, Hamlet (1919) in Selected Essays (3rd ed, 1951), p. 145.
(Source: The Routledge Dictionary of Literary Terms)