Post-Mortem of the Anatomy
Notes from Northrop Frye´s ANATOMY OF CRITICISM
Notes from Northrop Frye´s seminal volume in archetypal/anthropological criticism, "Anatomy of Criticism: Four Essays" (Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1957. Rpt. 1971. 383 p). Notes taken by J. A. García Landa c. 1985, edited for online publication 2018-20. Parenthetical pagination numbers refer to the quotations and text following the page number; notes by JAGL added in italics. Frye´s book was the most quoted literary study some forty years ago; for today´s students it is virtually unknown.
ANATOMY OF CRITICISM: FOUR ESSAYS
Summary and notes on Northrop Frye's book - by J. A. García Landa
Criticism is necessary: there is no direct correlation between the merits of art and its public reception. Frye rejects both the Romantic and the Art for Art's sake approaches. (4): "Consequently there is no way of preventing the critic from being, for better or worse, the pioneer of education and the shaper of a cultural tradition." The Tolstoyan and Art for Art's sake brutalizing of criticism lead to cultural impoverishment. Further, "Criticism can talk, and all the arts are dumb." Criticism, then, has a measure of independence from art as a structure of knowledge. It derives from the conscious mind and the active will; it judges value and is the final judge of meaning. (5): "Ibsen is an indifferent critic of Ibsen"; in no way an artist's opinion on his work is final. (6): "The notion that the poet necessarily is or could be the definitive interpreter of himself or the theory of literature belongs to the conception of the critic as a parasite or jackal." There is also the fallacy of determinism, of assimilating the whole of criticism to a critical attitude (Marxist, Existentialist, etc.). (7): "Critical principles cannot be taken over ready-made from theology, philosophy, politics, science, or any combination of these," but only from knowledge of literature (inductive, or systematic, "scientific" in that sense). (9) Still, there is no way of distinguishing the systematic element from that belonging to the history of taste—cf. the "systematic" scholar vs. the "public" critic. Both are linked not merely by interest in literature, but by an intermediate form of criticism, (11): "a coherent, and comprehensive theory of literature, some of which the student unconsciously learns as he goes on, but the main principles of which are as yet unknown to us"; then what we learn is criticism, not literature. Art makes a conceptual universe of its own: there is the possibility of a comprehensive view of criticism. But general criticism is paralyzed where the Greeks left it (e.g. there are no standards to define literature, no name for a 'work of verbal art' or 'a work of prose fiction' in general). (14): "What critics now have is a mystery—religion without a gospel." An Aristotelian poetics is necessary, within the framework of a useful aesthetics.
The progress of all science can be seen as a move towards seeing former primary data as something requiring explanation: from induction to looking for the structure of each science. Criticism is still in a naive inductive stage; there is a need for systematizing the pile of "works" with something more than chronology or influence or "tradition". Universal formulas reappear from primitive to great literature (the greater the more clearly it points to the center of a conceptual space). (17): "It is clear that criticism cannot be a systematic study unless there is a quality in literature which enables it to be so."
But there is no limit to the activity of criticism: Literature is an inexhaustible source. Then, there is no definite meaning or beauty which can be extracted from it [This seems to suggest a creative dimension in criticism, a creation of meanings and of beauties - JAGL]. The history of taste is not an integral part of the structure of criticism [This seems an overhasty conclusion- JAGL]. (19): "There are no definite positions to be taken in chemistry and if there are any to be taken in criticism, criticism is not a field of genuine learning." "One's 'definite position' is one's weakness." Criticism must enter into relations with other disciplines, but preserving its independence.
The theory of literature is not concerned with value judgements [(!) Another overhasty position—perhaps one of those definite positions which are "one's weaknesses"? - JAGL ]. The objective explanation of value judgements is a permanent illusion in history. Biographical vs. tropical criticism: both use comparative value judgements; both have their favorite types of author (the genius vs. the craftsman). This is rhetoric criticism, unduly extended to the theory of literature through the 'touchstone' theory (cf. Aristophanes' Frogs). Criticism then proceeds to the ranking of poets; in Arnold's case as a means for substituting culture for religion. All this is based on questions of decorum (the three styles), while these are based on a the class structure of society; (22) "and criticism (...) obviously has to look at art from the standpoint of an ideally classless society."
There is historical criticism vs. ethical criticism, i.e. things only in their context vs. things only in our context. (25): "The dialectic axis of criticism, then, has as one pole the total acceptance of the data of literature and on the other the total acceptance of the potential values of these data." Normativism must disappear and comparisons will take care of themselves. (27): "The real concern of the evaluating critic is with positive values, with the goodness, or perhaps the genuineness, of the poem rather than with the greatness of its author". The judgement of greatness is intuitive; the incommunicable experience at the heart of criticism makes it an art, but is not a sound basement to work on. Sometimes the critical response reacts against involuntary pleasure, etc.
The schematic nature of this Anatomy is deliberate. There is a place for schematization and classification in criticism; part is scaffolding, the rest is systematic study.
HISTORICAL CRITICISM: THEORY OF MODES
Fictional Modes: Introduction
(33) Aristotle's genres are established according to the elevation of the character. There is the possibility of a a (non-moral) classification according to the hero's power of action (linked to the audience's expectation and the author's postulates). The hero's power of action may be greater than ours, less, or roughly the same.
(33) 1. "If superior in kind both to other men and to the environment of other men, the hero is a divine being, and the story about him will be a myth."
2. "If superior in degree to other men and his environment, the hero is the typical hero of romance"— human, but prodigious; the story will be a legend, a folk tale...
3. "If superior in degree to other men but not to his natural environment, the hero is a leader." He has authority, passions, power of expression, but he is subject to criticism and to nature. This is the high mimetic mode, i.e. epic and tragedy.
4. "If superior neither to other men nor to his environment, the hero is one of us": the low mimetic mode, comedy and realist fiction.
5. If the hero is inferior to us, we have the ironic mode.
(34) "European fiction, during the last fifteen centuries, has steadily moved its center of gravity down the list." The first phase is blurred into the second by the fact that Christianity is a devouring, imported myth. The character may be a hero or saint. In the Renaissance, we move into the third kind. Middle-class culture is the fourth. From 1850 on, the ironic phase.
(35) "Something of the same progression may be traced in Classical literature too, in a greatly foreshortened form. Satire was aborted by the divine emperor surviving. Oriental fiction is mythical or romantic.
Axes: Naive vs. sophisticated literature; another: the hero may be incorporated in society or isolated from society (tragic / comic).
Tragic Fictional Modes
- Tragic 1: Dionysiac. A god's death, linked to Autumn or sunset. Ruskin's 'pathetic fallacy' is apt here. In lower modes, it gives a mythic coloring.
- Tragic 2 is similar, an elegiac mode, unspoilt by irony, hybris (pride, overreaching), or hamartia (the tragic frailty or defect). Nature is basic here.
- Tragic 3 is mingled with irony and moral considerations. The central position between heroism and irony is expressed by catharsis. Romance accepts pity and fear; in Tragedy 3, they become favorable or adverse moral judgements. The central tragedy of the hero does not depend on his moral status (unlike that of other characters).
- Tragic 4: Pathos. Pity or fear are nor purged or accepted, but communicated externally, as sensations. This mode is more individual, and pathos is increased by the inarticulateness of the victim. Failure of expression, real or simulated, is usually present. Usually someone like us is torn between the conflict of the inner and outer world, the imaginative and the social reality, as he is excluded from a social group to which he is trying to belong. This mode is linked to the obsession to rise in society: e.g. the alazon, the miles gloriossus, the obsessed philosopher. In contrast, the eiron is the ironic man, the one who deprecates himself, appearing to be less than he is, opposed to the alazon, who becomes his victim.
(40) "The term irony, then, indicates a technique of appearing to be less than he is, which in literature becomes most commonly a technique of saying as little and meaning as much as possible."
(41) "Irony is naturally a sophisticated mode and the chief differences between sophisticated and naive irony is that the naive ironist calls attention to the fact that he is being ironic, whereas sophisticated irony merely states, and lets the reader add the ironic tone himself." In tragic irony there is no hamartia: the hero gets isolated from society; an exceptional happening is out of line with his character.
- Tragic 5: Domestic tragedy: a random victim, the pharmakos or scapegoat, who is neither innocent nor guilty. The world is a guilty world. Job proves he is not a sinner, but then he makes his tragedy morally unintelligible. Irony stems from the low mimetic mode, but moves towards myth, sacrificial rituals, etc. (42) "Our five modes evidently go round a circle." Myth reappears in Kafka and in Joyce.
Comic Fictional Modes
(44) "The theme of the comic is the integration of society, which usually takes the form of incorporating a central character into it."
- Comedy 1: Apollonian. The hero is accepted by the society of gods.
- Comedy 2: Idyllic. Pastoral. Some links to nature, an image of salvation.
- Comedy 3: Old comedy, Aristophanes. The hero constructs his society in the teeth of opposition (as in The Tempest). There is a catharsis of sympathy and ridicule; moral values are indifferent.
- Comedy 4: New Comedy, down to Molière, etc. The opposition to the hero is resolved by a twist of the plot and public marriages. We have intimate, domestic comedy, or, f.i., in Shakespeare, Falstaff.
- Comedy 5: The pharmakos or scapegoat is rejected —Often a villain, but modes join, and the rejection can be a terrible irony. This mode borders on ritual sacrifice and savagery. In the detective story, a man-hunter locates a pharmakos and gets rid of him. A wall of play protects this comedy from becoming ominous. As advertising is interpreted ironically (it pretends to address itself to an audience of cretins), melodrama is regarded with a strong sense of the unreality of the villainy involved in it. After melodrama we find an intellectualized parody of melodramatic formulas; comedy is then directed at the melodramatic spirit itself; we have then the comedy of manners, (48): "the portrayal of a chattering-monkey society devoted to snobbery and slander. In this kind of irony the characters who are opposed to or excluded from the fictional society have the sympathy of the audience.
Science fiction represents the link with myth.
"Romantic" and "realistic" are relative or comparative, not absolute terms. The ironic tone is present in earlier modes, vs. the ironic structure of the later modes.
In the low mimetic mode, we have characters as they appear to others: they are more idealized, even when ironic.
(50): "While one mode constitutes the underlying tonality of a work of fiction, any or all of the other forces may be simultaneously present." These partial strands must be recognized. The tendency to myth is balanced by a tendency to plausibility The lower modes can be seen as displaced myths or plot formulas.
In a work we have the "internal fiction" of plot-solving vs. the "external fiction" of the relationship writer-reader and the discovery of theme (Aristotle's dianoia). There are thematic vs. fictional (aspects of) literary works—these are just poles in a gradation. In lyrics, essays: (53) "A part sending a love poem to his lady complaining of her cruelty has stereoscoped his four ethical elements into two, but the four are still there".
(53): "When a work of fiction is written or integrated thematically, it becomes a parable or illustrative fable." Formal allegories are thematic. The allegorical element is structural in literature. Each culture opposes canonical vs. apocryphal myths. The former have particular thematic importance. The "tragic" tone of the poet writing as individual, vs. the "comic" tone of the spokesman for his society (in educational poetry). Also lyric vs epic, or, better, episodic vs. encyclopaedic forms.
(55) - Theme 1: The poet as the instrument of the gods sings about them. A typical episodic theme is the inspired oracle. Poets as a whole are "divine", and their productions tend to aggregate in large wholes.
- Theme 2: The poet is human, but remembers the heroic or divine age. We have minstrels or encyclopedists like Gower. The poet is often a "traveller" (or assumes this role). A typical episodic theme is the passage from one world to another (in a vision, etc.).
- Theme 3: The centripetal perspective of the court vs. the centrifugal perspective of romance. Emblems of the prince, the nation, and national faith. The central episodic theme is the centripetal gaze or cynosure (directed at the mistress, the deity, the king). The poet is a courtier or a preacher. Courtly love and Platonism; poetry appears as a model to nature.
(38) - Theme 4: Romanticism. Intense individuality; the analogy of myth is individual creation. There is a sharp sense of the contrast between the subjective and the objective. The poet is an individual; the central episodic theme is the presentation of a subjective mental state.
(60) - Theme 5: Renouncing of rhetoric and morals. The poet appears as the maker of poems. He is a craftsman (not a 'creator' or 'legislator'). Idea of 'pure' art. The central episodic theme is the theme of pure but transient vision, the epiphanic illumination, an aesthetic and timeless moment of symbolic revelation. There is a contrast between the aesthetic moment and history or past time; the meaning of the latter is revealed through the former.
The ironic mode does away with the mimesis of direct address. Use of juxtaposition, and a frequency of definite articles implying initiated groups. There is a tendency in the ironic craftsman to return to the oracular (closing the circle).
(On the New Criticism): There is the danger of critical assumptions having a limited historical context (ironic or otherwise). The critical reaction is stronger to the mode immediately preceding the current one.
The poet does not imitate life or thought, but imposes a mythical form on his content everywhere. We have the fallacy of 'Existential Projection' whenever the apparatus of tragedy or comedy is taken to be the author's view of life; (64): "each mode of literature develops its own existential projection"—of mythology, theology; of of irony, existentialism.
This critical frame, wider then Aristotle's, makes Plato's theory of poetry more coherent. Phaedrus deals with poetry as myth; Ion with phase 2, Symposium with 3. The polemic in the Republic is not against poetry as a whole, but against the low mimetic element in poetry. In Cratylus we find an introduction to the apparatus of the ironic mode.
Fictional vs. Thematic = Aristotle vs. Longinus; and opposition between literature as product and literature as process. Catharsis (i.e. detachment from work and author) vs. ecstasy or absorption; a public vs. an individualized response. Some works tend to follow one of these lines more than the other.
ETHICAL CRITICISM: THEORY OF SYMBOLS
By 'poem'' we understand here a work of literary art in general. (71) And a 'symbol' is "any unit of any literary structure that can be isolated for critical attention." Criticism begins and basically consists in the systematizing of literary symbolism. There is a multiplicity of meanings in a work of literary art. In the criticism of the Middle ages there was a precise scheme of literal, allegorical, moral and anagogic meanings, taken over from theology and applied to literature. Today symbolism is subsidiary to semantics (which is not too good). The variety of critical schools is only justifiable with the variety of meanings.
(72) "we can go on to consider the possibility that there is a finite number of valid critical methods, and that they can all be contained in a single theory." Better still, they are to be seen as "phases" or contexts, each having its characteristic mythos, ethos and dianoia (or meaning).
Literal and descriptive phases: Symbol as motif and as sign
Symbols are signs insomuch as they represent other things (the centrifugal direction in reading). But symbols are also part of a verbal structure; they relate to other symbols (the centripetal direction [text formation —JAGL.] In this sense they are motifs. In assertive writing, the final direction is outward; in literature, it is inward. The meaning of literature is not true, nor false, nor tautological: it is 'hypothetical'. The sign value of the symbols is subordinated to their importance as a structure of motifs. The poem as an "autonomous verbal structure" is a source of pleasure and interest. "Instruction" is subordinated to delight, but both are present in any kind of writing. There are different degrees in which the sense of reality may weigh against the sense of pattern in each genre. "The poet never affirmeth": "literal meaning" does not then mean "descriptive meaning" in literary criticism: here it means "understanding the whole of it, as a poem, and as it stands" (as opposed to a paraphrase). Joyce's conception. The work is a logical, not a psychological, sequence. The work has an impact as a whole, in the effort to unify symbols towards as simultaneous perception of the unity of the structure. "Unity" is not a statement of fact about the poems, but about the reader's expectations. The recurrence of elements is fundamental: we call it rhythm (temporal recurrence) or pattern (spatial recurrence). Mythos is more temporal, while dianoia is more simultaneous. The response is not to the whole of the poem, but to a whole in it. The meaning of a poem is not separate form its integrity as a verbal structure. But regarding words as signs, the poem becomes a verbal structure (not the same as "a work of art"). (78) "In this context narrative means the relation of the order of words to events resembling the events in 'life' "outside"; meaning means assertive propositions. (78-79): "A considerable amount of abstraction enters at this stage. When we think of a poem's narrative as a description of events, we no longer think of the narrative as literally embracing every word and letter. We think rather of a sequence of gross events, of the obvious and externally striking elements in the world order. Similarly, we think of meaning as the kind of discursive meaning that a prose paraphrase might reproduce." Hence a parallel abstraction comes into the conception of symbolism. (79): "So literature in its descriptive context is a body of hypothetical verbal structures." "Plot" or "story" for the sequence of gross events (not the same as history), just as the "thought-content" for the gross meaning is not the same as "thought." There are both literal and descriptive phases in all literature. But realistic, prose literature is mainly descriptive, while poetry is mainly literal (extreme: the opposition between naturalism and symbolisme). Symbolism stresses the aesthetic emotion, moods (—> shorter poems). The poem is not the description of an emotion (not all meaning is descriptive); it evokes the mood, and articulates it. Academic criticism treats the poem as if its meaning was descriptive; the New Criticism deals with the poem as poem, as symbolic meaning.
Formal phase: Symbol as image
Form is the synthesis of the antithesis between descriptive meaning ("instruction") and literal meaning ("delight"). Form can be seen as a shaping principle (narrative) or as a containing principle (meaning): e.g. in Aristotle, mythos and dianoia. Mythos is a secondary imitation of praxis (action); dianoia is a secondary imitation of logos (thought)—> a synthesis is effected: (83) "The mythos is the dianoia in movement; the dianoia is the mythos in stasis." Poetry is midway between philosophy and history (Aristotle). The humanist tradition stresses the formal phase: a clear form and a historical and ethical interest. Realism here is no the same as 19th-c. realism: it is between the example and the precept: "exemplary" poems. (84) The formal critic selects symbols which show an analogy of proportion between the poem and the nature it imitates: symbol as image.
(84-85) "For some reason it has never been consistently understood that the ideas of literature are not real propositions, but verbal formulas which imitate real propositions." Ideas in the poem are part of the imagery.
Formal criticism begins with the study of imagery as pattern or rhythm. There is an unconscious response of the audience to image pattern. The intentional fallacy, the fallacy of the poet trying to convey meaning and the critic extracting it, is linked to a lack of differentiation between imaginative and discursive writing. (87) "When a poetic structure attains a certain degree of concentration or social recognition, the amount of commentary it will carry is infinite" [e.g. in sacred books]. An intrinsic (vs. extrinsic) mystery (cf. Carlyle's symbols). Creation as an activity whose intention is to abolish intention. [!!!! JAGL]
Against intention: (89) "A snowflake is probably quite unconscious of forming a crystal, but what it does may be worth study even if we are willing to leave its inner mental processes alone." [OK but men are not snowflakes!]. (89) "All commentary is allegorical interpretation, an attaching of ideas to the structure of poetic imagery." Cf. the Romantic symbol as opposed to allegory: the symbol is thematically significant imagery. (90) "We have actual allegory when a poet explicitly indicates the relationship of his image to examples and precepts, and so tries to indicate how a commentary on him should proceed." It may be a contrapuntal technique. Not all allegory is naive (i.e. a disguised form of discursive writing) as in cartoons or monuments. There is a scale: Continuous allegory (e.g. Pilgrim's Progress), free-style allegory (Esdras); poetic structures with doctrinal interest (Milton); works in which imagery has an implicit relation to ideas (Shakespeare); and those where imagery recedes from precept and becomes ironic and paradoxical (conceit, objective correlative, 'symbol').
(92) "the heraldic emblematic image is in a paradoxical and not ironic relation to both narrative and meaning. As a unit of meaning, it arrests the narrative; as a unit of narrative, it perplexes the meaning." There is a lurking antagonism between the descriptive and the literal aspects.
Lastly, we have private associations, etc.
(92-93) "literature as a body of hypothetical creations which is not necessarily involved in the worlds of truth and fact, nor necessarily withdrawn from them, but which may enter into any kind of relationship to them, ranging from the most to the least explicit." Cf. mathematics vs. natural sciences. The potential relationship solves the dichotomy delight-style / message-instruction. Cf. the theory of catharsis: an actual emotion is raised and cast out on a wave of something else (rather, exhilaration). (95) Blake: exuberance is beauty. An intellectual and emotional vision of a lack of compulsion, of a decisive act of spiritual freedom: the recreation of man.
Mythical Phase: Symbol as Archetype
In the formal phase, we pursue an intrinsic study. Now we enter into considerations of genre and convention. Historical and rhetorical criticisms are alien to genre (they tend to see historical influence or individual poems). Genres rest on convention. Editorship, readers, etc. are conventionalizing forces. The underestimating of convention is part of the Romantic heritage, the (97): "assimilation of literature to private enterprise." But new poems are typical of the structure of poetry to which they are attached (vs. creation ex nihilo). The 'original' poet is simply more profoundly imitative; (97): "Originality returns to the roots of literature." (98): "The poet who writes creatively rather than deliberately, is not the father of the poem; he is at best a midwife, or more accurately still, the womb of Mother Nature herself: her privates he, so to speak."
(99): "The problem of convention is the problem of how art can be communicable." The fourth phase looks at poetry as one of the techniques of civilization (for communication). Poetry as the focus of a community: the symbol is here "the communicable unit, to which I give the name archetype (...) a symbol which connects one poem with another and thereby helps to unify and integrate our literary experience." Avowedly conventional poems demand to be absorbed into literature as a whole, through the culture of the reader. But other literature conceals or ignores its conventional links (those that escape the author's conscious allusion). E.g. the opposition in many works between the dark and the light heroine - an unconscious archetype). There is the problem of the modern disappearance of a common cultural ground (the Bible, classical mythology).The search of new themes, opposing convention, is a low mimetic prejudice.
(110) "Archetypes are associative clusters, and differ from signs in being complex variables" ('Symbolism' often alludes to cultural archetypes). Completely conventionalized art would consist in a series of archetypes as esoteric signs, resulting in a loss of versatility. Some associations are more obvious than others but none are intrinsic: there are no 'universal symbols' here.
(193): "anti-conventional poetry soon becomes a convention in its turn, to be explained by hardy scholars accustomed to the dreariness of literary bad lands." There is a scale going from translation, to paraphrase to deliberate convention, to paradoxical or ironic convention (parody, etc.), to implicit convention, to experimental writing. Convention is present in all. Archetypes are most easily studied in highly conventional literature (primitive or popular)—a study to be extended to the rest.
Narrative (mythos) is in this phase a ritual; meaning (dianoia) is a dream.
- The archetypal analysis of plot is a study of generic, conventional actions (e.g. the chasing of the scapegoat).
- The archetypal analysis of meaning: the shape of mood and resolution in which the relationship of desire and experience is expressed.
Here the poem imitates nature not as structure, but as cyclical process around which rituals cluster.
(105): "In the middle of all this recurrence, however, is the central recurrent cycle of sleeping and waking life, the daily frustrations of the ego, the nightly wakening of a titanic self."
Also, on a dialectic process, the poem can be seen as civilization, as the desire to build a human nature (vs. opposing forces). (There is also a dialectic rhythm).
Ritual is pre-logical, and is given sense, a posteriori, by myth; dream too.
Drama is more ritual; romance is more dreamy. Naive drama and naive romance are linked to rituals or feasts.
Archaism and innovation: Archaism returns as "quaint" (cf. the Apocalypse).
There is the danger of a chronological, and not logical, derivation of myth:
(104): "The literary relation of ritual to drama, like that of any other aspect of human action to drama, is a relation of content to form only not of source to derivation."
Ritual is latent in drama, and does not depend on direct influence. It reappears in primitive and popular drama at any age. Documentary criticism is often misled in this respect, looking for sources. Anthropological and critical treatments of ritual must be a context of each other, but they are not to be identified. Psychology too. But it has to be measured against convention as revealed in contemporary works. Dianoia as communicable dream (vs. the latent content of psychologists):
(111) "For the psychologist all dream symbols are private ones, interpreted by the personal life of the dreamer. For the critic there is no such thing as private symbolism, or, if there is, it is his job to make sure that it does not remain so."
The collective unconscious as a device to account for the communicability of archeypes is an unnecessary hypothesis in literary criticism. In the reader, (112) "Discrete conscious awareness can take in only a very few details of the complex response."
Art as archetype is a part of civilization: a building of the human form out of nature. The moral view of the artist states that he ought to frame workable hypotheses of realizable action and thought—or, at least, thet he be playful or fantastic if it is not so. (Marxism is similar to Plato in this respect). But here (for Frye) (113) "art must be its own object (...) the poet qua poet intends only to write a poem." He is not aiming at beauty—which must be reached indirectly. Beauty equalled with loveliness as an ideal is prudery, an insipid pseudo-classicism. Its equation with morality or truth, too. They are integrated in the archetypal view, and not in the others. But they are not ultimate, and so the archetypal phase is not the ultimate one.
Anagogic Phase: Symbol as Monad
Medieval levels of interpretation: literal, allegorical, moral, and anagogical (or universal meaning). They correspond (inverted) to the five modes of the first essay. Here it is a mythopoeic level. Often complex art (James, Joyce) tends towards mythopoeia. There is a sense of being close to the centre of literary experience, for there is a centre. Otherwise, free associations would never create a real structure. The order of nature is imitated by the an order of words, with a group of universal symbols at the center: food and drink, the quest, light and darkness, sexual fulfilment. Other myths (Oedipus, etc.) are maybe not universal. The archetypal phase unites dream to ritual: it makes dream acceptable to social waking life, but it also limits and censors it.
(119): "In the anagogic phase, literature imitates the total dream of man, and so imitates the thought of a human mind which is at the circumference and not at the center of its reality." The archetypal forms are not containers, but contained—they are not desirable forms constructed by man inside nature, but are instead themselves the forms of nature. The anagogic phase presents an apocalyptic view of nature, as an infinite and eternal living body: total ritual is united to total dream. In the anagogic phase, dianoia is no longer mimesis logou, but Logos; ethos is not natural society, but divine being conceived in anthropomorphic terms. Scriptures or apocalyptic revelations belong to this mode, but it is not confined to them. Anything may be the subject of a poem. The center of literary universe is whatever poem we happen to be reading, as a microcosm of literature, a symbol of the total order of words—a monad, cf. Joyce's epiphany or Hopkins' 'inscape' . Anagogic criticism is often found in direct connection with religion. The poet is attributed a divine insight into reality.
(112): "The anagogic view of criticism thus leads to the conception of literature as existing in its own universe, no longer a commentary on life or reality, but containing life and reality in a system of verbal relationships." Metaphor is seen as a unit of relationship between two symbols:
(113): "the metaphor turns its back on ordinary descriptive meaning and presents a structure which literally is ironic and paradoxical. In ordinary descriptive meaning, if A is B then B is A, and all we have said is tha A is itself. In the metaphor two things are identified while each retains its own form."
Literally, metaphor is juxtaposition; descriptively, a simile. Formally, an analogy of natural proportion (four terms of which two have a common factor). Archetypally, it is an association of two concrete universals. The four are recognized by Aristotle.
(124): "In the anagogic aspect of meaning, the radical form of metaphor, "A is B", comes into its own."
Identity as the opposite of similarity or likeness—rather a unity of various things.
(125): "Finally, identification belongs not only to the structure of poetry but to the structure of criticism as well, at least of commentary. Interpretation proceeds by metaphor as well as creation, and even more explicitly."
There is a need of some religious element in poetry. But there is no need for criticism to consider them more than a hypothesis. Culture (in the anagogic view) is different from religion; they must be kept autonomous, and not subordinated to each other (neither like Coleridge nor like Arnold). Besides, religion as a social institution also imposes limitations in art, like Marx or Plato.
(128) "Nobody wants a poet in the perfect, human state, and, as even the poets tell us, nobody but God himself can tolerate a poltergeist in the City of God."
ARCHETYPAL CRITICISM: THEORY OF MYTHS
There is an opposition in art between representational elements, content, realism, and structural elements, form and stylization. (In painting, the extremes are represented by trompe-l'œil and abstract painting). The representational tradition weighs heavily in the West. There is a rebellion against it in the 20th c.
(132): "when the public demands likeness to an object, it generally wants the exact opposite, likeness to the pictorial convention it is familiar with".
(132): "The possession of originality cannot make an artist unconventional: it drives him further into convention, obeying the law of the art itself, which seeks constantly to reshape itself from its own depths, and which works through its geniuses for metamorphosis, as it works through minor talents for mutation."
The formal cause of a picture is inside the picture. The structural principle is clearer in music, where the representational element is restricted. Musical categories are not considered artificial simplicity imposed on actual variety; the same is the case with literary categories here. The structural principles of literature are to be derived from archetypal and anagogic criticism,
(134): "the only kinds that assume a larger context of literature as a whole."
The mythical mode is the most abstract and stylized of all literary modes.
(135): "In this essay we shall be using the symbolism of the Bible, and to a lesser extent Classical mythologies, as a grammar of literary archetypes." There is a realist hoax in fiction (similar to trompe-l'œil), as opposed to myth or abstract fictional designs.
(136) "In terms of narrative, myth is the imitation of actions near or at the conceivable limits of desire." In terms of dianoia, an identity of world. "In myth we see the structual principles of literature isolated; in realism we see the same structural principles (not similar ones) fitting into a context of plausibility (...) The presence of a mythical structure in realist fiction, however, poses certain technical problems for making it plausible, and the devices used in solving these problems may be given the general name of displacement."
A central principle:
(137): "what can be metaphorically identified in a myth can only be linked in romance by some form of simile" —analogies, imagery, etc.
Mythic overtones in the low mimetic mode result in more abstraction (in character, for instance). Examples: Hawthorne, Shakespeare, etc. A "good story" (a clearly designed one) suggests hiden finality or fate.
There are three organizations of myth and archetypal symbols in literature:
- Undisplaced myth, in which an apocalyptic world contrasts with a demonic world.
- Romantic myth, suggesting implicit mythical patterns in a human world.
- "Realist" myth and archetype, throwing emphasis on content rather than mythical shape.
Ironic literature begins here and tends towards (demonic) myth.
(140) Mythopoetic design, as pattern in a picture, is seen best from a distance.
We will deal first with dianoia (apocalyptic, demonic and analogical), then with mythos (as imagery in movement).
Theory of archetypal meaning (1): Apocalyptic imagery
The human form is imposed on the animal, vegetable, and mineral worlds. The scale goes from divine to human, animal, vegetable and mineral. There are images of Christ of all 5 types. In medieval criticism, the difference between religious and poetical identification is slight. Throughout, the metaphor that we are all members of one body: societies of gods, of men, etc. The sharing of will and communion are versions of the same. Pastoral imagery is frequent. In the vegetable world, the symbols are the rose and the green world. In the mineral world, the building of a temple, or the way of quest-literature. Archetypally, nature is the container of man. Anagogically, nature has the form of a human universe. Earth and air are natural to man; fire and water are ordeals. Fire is spiritual (the halo, the crown, blood, wine). Harmonious geometrical images are part of apocalyptic imagery. The symbolism of alchemy is apocalyptic. Gold is both a mineral and fire, and there is the quintessential gold of heavenly bodies. Water expresses dissolution, below human life: chaos, death. There is also the water of life (baptism): it circulates in the universal body like the blood in the individual.
Theory of Archetypal Meaning (2): Demonic imagery
Demonic imagery represents what is rejected by desire: the world before it is worked on by desire and imagination, a parody of art. It is associated with existential hell (as opposed to religious heaven, associated to desire and imagination).
- The divine world appears as fate, unmutable nature, and cruel gods—a sense of human futility.
- The human world appears as a demanding society, which diminishes the individual, or contrasts pleasure to duty or honor. A world of mobs, of tyrants and the pharmakos or scapegoat.
(148) "In the most concentrated form of the demonic parody, the two become the same."
The forms of ritual described by Frazer as historically original are for us the radical demonic forms: cannibalism, destructive sexual passions, etc.
- Animal world: Images of monsters or beasts of prey. The dragon (a fabulous beast) underlines evil as negation.
- Vegetable world: The sinister forest, the heath, the sinister enchanted garden, the tree of death, the scaffold.
- Mineral world: The waste land, ruins, cities of destruction, weapons, prisons and geometry:
The circle becomes an ouroboros. Labyrinths, graveyards.
World of fire associated to demons; Sodom, etc.
The world of water: water of death.
Theory of Archetypal Meaning (3): Analogical imagery
Three intermediate structures: (1) Romantic, (2) High mimetic, (3) Low mimetic. Here, 1 is opposed to 3, i.e. "romantic" vs. "realistic". Demonic images prevail in the ironic mode.
Romance as the human counterpart of the apocalyptic world: an "analogy of innocence. It offers an idealized world, without ambiguities:
- Divine figures: parental figures, wise men, guardian spirits.
- Humans: figures of innocence are prominent. Fire as a purifying symbol.
- Animals: Pastoral images of horses and hounds, birds, unicorns —and the ass, the Boy Bishop (?? This sounds ironic to me, rather, JAGL).
- Vegetables: Eden, the garden (hortus conclusus), the Virgin.
- Minerals: Tower or castle, cottage, or hermitage. Water appears as fertilizing or as preserving chastity, separating the lovers.
High mimetic - The world is full of elementary spirits (more alive than in ours, more dead than in the apocalyptic world). Chastity and magic are dominant in romance; love and form in the high mimetic mode ("an analogy of nature and reason").
- The cynosure (the centripetal gaze) involves an idealizing of the representatives of the divine world.
- Animals show proud beauty (the eagle, the swan, the lion, the peacock).
- The vegetable world is shown in the wand and the sceptre. The tree becomes a banner.
- Mineral world: the capital city, and the disciplined river.
Low mimetic mode: "An analogy of experience", with a relationship to the demonic world (cf. the analogy between the high mimetic and the apocalyptic). Organizing ideas are genesis and world
- Divine world: rediscovery of faith through work is a main theme.
- Human world: the common situation, a parody of romantic idealization.
- Animal world: The ape, the tiger.
- Vegetable world: the farm.
- Mineral world: the metropolis, with loneliness and lack of communication. Fire and water are destrictive.
In both the high mimetic and the low mimetic we see a displacement of the poles towards morals (desirable / undesirable).
Poetry is first purified by religion (it becomes "spoudaios" in Aristotle, it acquires "high seriousness" for Arnold) and then returns to the pattern of desire away from the conventional and moral (in satire)—but it is less inflexible than morality.
There is the possibility of a 'demonic modulation', a deliberate reversal of the customary moral association of archetypes (for example, the ouroboros was redeemed by the alchemists, etc.). The Analogy of Innocence shows the desirable in morally acceptable terms; the same happens with the Analogy of Experience with the undesirable.
(158) "In pointing out the latent apocalyptic or demonic pattern in a literary work, we should not make the error of assuming that the latent content is the real content hypocritically disguised by a lying censor". That is only one factor among others.
Theory of mythos: Introduction
(158) "The meaning of a poem, its structure of imagery, is a static pattern."
There are five structures which are analogous to musical keys; "but narrative involves movement from one structure to another". The main area are the intermediate fields; the poles are unchanging. The cyclical movement is a fundamental form of process. There are 7 categories of images, which are a different form of cyclical movement:
- Divine: the death and rebirth of a god, associated to the natural process; a sun-god or a god of vegetation. The mythical structural principle of the cycle is that a continuum of identity is extended from death to rebirth.
- Heavenly bodies (fire) - with daily, yearly and monthly cycles.
- Human: Waking vs. dreaming life. A generic rebirth in the cycle of life and death.
- Animals: The emphasis is on sacrifice. There is continuity after it, but not of life itself.
- Vegetables. They have an annual cycle.
- Social affairs: Cycles of empires, ubi sunt....
- Water: Cycle of rains, rivers, and the sea.
Usually, a cycle is divided in 4 phases. There is no cycle of air, due to its unpredictability. Ptolemaic cosmology appears as a ready-made system of poetic symbols.
(161): "there are two fundamental movements of narrative: a cyclical movement within the order of nature, and a dialectical movement from that order into the apocalyptic world above" (Rarely into the demonic one; the constant cycle of nature is demonic in itself).
(162): "There are then four main types of mythical movement: within romance, within experience, down, up".
The tragic, satiric, comic and romantic categories of literature are broader than literary genres (although 'genre' is used to refer to them in common language). Tragedy / Comedy & Romance / Satire are in contrast, but each of them blends with its neighbour insensibly.
[JAGL: The following diagram is not in Frye but it is a graphic representation of the four mythoi he describes]:
The mythos of Spring: Comedy
There is a permanence of comic types and plot formulas from Greece on (103): a movement from one kind of society to another, a crystallization of the new society at the point of resolution of the action which brings the hero and the heroine together, in a party or ritual (a banquet, a dance, a wedding). An act of communion with the audience: "plaudite". There is a subversive element in comedy, vs. the older members of society (at the end, they are included in the new society, except for some scapegoat ritual).
Comedy is equivalent to a lawsuit. In the Tractatus Coislinianus, the dianoia of comedy is divided in 2: pistis (opinion, the usurping society) and gnosis (proof, the desirable society). Kinds of proofs are equivalent to the 5 kinds of proofs in lawcases of Aristotle's Rhetoric.
An emphasis on the blocking characters results in the comedy of manners (vs. the romantic comedy). Here the young heroes are conventional and uninteresting. The happy end is not strictly moral, but social, rather: an opposition to absurdity, not wickedness (otherwise, we have melodrama). The humors of the comedy of humors are based on a "ritual bondage" to an obsession (Repetition appears as a strong principle of humour). They force much of the play's society in line with their obsession (an absurd law, or a sham Utopia). In contrast, the ideals of the emerging society are rarely formulated (moral norm and pragmatic freedom prevail). There is a movement from illusion to reality (defined negatively), an anagnorisis, a dispelling of illusion. These comedies have complicated plots because of the inherent absurdity of complications. The happy ending is inevitable, but it does not arrive as an inevitable process, but instead through a gimmick (anagnorisis) distinctive in each. The comic decorum is not violated if this manipulation of the plot results in transformation of character. All this is regarded as bad taste by ironic realists, but the other way round in other cultures. The triumph of the hero is equivalent to a Saturnalia, it recalls a golden age in the past before the beginning of the main action. Restoration with a 'benevolent grandfather' as a link between parts 1 & 3, with a 'winter' in the middle; cf. the antimasque in the middle of Jonsonian masques, which is a conventionalized or abstract version of the same.
Characters. In drama, characterisation depends on function, this depends on structure, and this depends on category (comedy, etc.). The antithesis lifelike character / stock type is a vulgar error. Consistency comes from the appropriateness of the stock type to which the character belongs to the dramatic function:
(172): "That stock type is not the character but it is as necessary to the character as a skeleton to the actor who plays it".
The Tractatus Coislinianus distinguishes 3 types of comic characters: the alazon or impostor, the eiron or self-deprecator and the buffoons (bomolochoi). The Ethics adds a fourth type: the agroikos, the rustic.
(172): "The contest of eiron and alazon forms the basis of the comic action, and the buffoon and the churl polarize the comic mood."
The alazon often lacks self-knowledge (vs. the hypocrite): a pedant, the senex, the miles gloriosus, the shrew, the précieuse ridicule (the siren belongs to melodrama).
Eiron: The hero, the heroine, a slave (gracioso), vice (acting from pure love of mischief), a retreating father figure who precipitates the action...
Buffoons: They increase the mood of festivity rather than contributing to the plot. Fools, clowns, pages, cooks, parasites, the mad host (often 'masters of ceremonies').
Rustics: Gulls, killjoys, plain dealers... Dramatic structure is a permanent and moral attitude, a variable fact in literature. In the midst of an absurd comedy, the plain dealer advocates a moral norm which has the sympathy of the audience (a chorus role).
(177): "In tragedy pity and fear, the emotions of moral attraction and repulsion, are raised and cast out. Comedy seems to make a more functional use of the social, even the moral judgement, than tragedy, yet comedy seems to raise the corresponding emotions, which are sympathy and ridicule, and cast them out in the same way." The whole range of comedy (from romance to irony) follows much the same structural patterns. There are six phases inside each mythos. The first three phases of comedy correspond to the first three of satire; the second three of comedy correspond to the second three of romance.
[JAGL: The following diagram is not in Frye but it is a graphic representation of the phases he describes relating each of the four mythoi to the others —here, the phases of comedy]:
1) (the most ironic): The kind of comedy in which a humorous society triumphs or remains undefeated; it presents 'the way of the world'. Also, the humorous society may disintegrate without anything taking its place. A demonic tone. Often, a nightmare of suffereing is depicted quickly and arbitrarily. There may be a potentially tragic crisis towards the end (a point of ritual death). Sometimes it is simply a change of form to seriousness or the ominous.
2) In this phase, the hero escaped from the humorous society without transforming it. Or the hero is not strong enough to build a society. This is the quixotic phase.
3) The normal one. A strong sense of comic norms. An Oedipus complex often underlies the father/son rivalry; there are incest themes too. Ambivalent attitudes at the end, and a fulfilling element of habit and convention.
4) Here an ideal society is presented and set against the humorous one. Cf. the Republic, Acharnians... Shakespeare's dramas of the green world (romantic comedies). There is often the "death" (persecution, disguise) and "rebirth" of a female figure, as well as fertility rituals.
5) An Arcadian world, less festive, more pensive; a movement from a lower world of confusion to an upper world of order. (174): "In this phase the reader or audience feels raised above the action"; we see it form the point of view of a better ordered world. These 5 phases may be seen as stages in the life of a redeemed society (or of a comic plot). The Christian myth has a comedy structure: the Son and the Church appease the Father.
6) The sixth phase shows the disintegration of the comic society. There is a sheltered and individualistic mood, a somber Romantic or Gothic tone.
The mythos of summer: Romance
Romance is nearest of all to a wish-fulfilment dream. Phase no. 3 is prominent. It is a projection of the ideals of the ruling class, and has a perennial child-like quality. Adventure is an essential element of the plot; it is sequential and thence best known as fiction (vs. comedy, which is best known as drama).
(186): "At its most naive it is an endless form in which a central character who never develops or ages goes through one adventure after another until the author himself collapses" (cf. comic strips). When it achieves literary form, minor adventures lead up to a major one, announced since the beginning, which rounds off the story. The major adventure is a quest. The complete form is a successful quest, with three stages: agon, pathos & anagnorisis (the recognition of the hero, even if dead).
Main characters: the hero and the antagonist. The nearer to myth, the more god-like and devil-like they are. It is a conflict of an upper and lower world in our world, symbolised by the opposite poles of the cycles of nature. It is not genetically descending from solar myths, but rather associated to them, by a displacement which is more or less conscious. Myth and romance constitute "mythopoeic literature".
The best stories of gods hold a canonical position (traditionally revered, and with a greater possibility of metaphorical identification, in myth). The central form of the quest romance is the dragon-killing theme (with a helpless old king and his daughter). Both the monster and the king embody the sterility of the land. It is also present in Christianity. Journeys inside monsters or labyrinths, descent into Hell... these may be symbolized, from the Exodus to the works of Henry James. The monster Leviathan is identified with the sea: there are frequent rescues out of the sea, or fishing something out of the sea (in the Bible, men). The hero has the command of the sea.
There is an element of pathos, often with the death of both the hero and the monster, followed by sparagmos or dismemberment: the hero is torn to pieces and disappears. Then an anagnorisis takes place. Romance then mirrors the whole cycle:
The object of the quest is the redemption of society. More obviously: a treasure guarded by a dragon. The reward includes a bride. The theme of the wisdom necessary to get the object: associated to oracles and to mutilation. The heroine is mother-like, and stigmatised.
(193): "Translated into dream-terms, the quest-romance is the search of the libido or desiring self for a fulfilment that will that will deliver it from the anxieties of reality but still contain that reality."
Antagonists are often parental figures. Ritual enacts the victory of fertility over the wasteland.
Characterization follows a dialectic structure in romance: complexity is not favoured. Characters are for or against the quest (cf. eiron vs. alazon in comedy). Also an old magician, etc.: the equivalent of the a retreating eiron. The feminine counterpart is the lady for whose sake the quest is performed (as opposed to ladies of pleasure or damsels in distress found along the way). The counterparts are the evil magician and the witch. Also, faithful companions vs. traitors; the heroine vs. the siren or witch. Dragons vs. friendly animals. Spirits of nature elude the antithesis heroism/villainy (Giants, green men...); daughter figures, sometimes servants or friends of the hero; cf. the slave, buffoon... Also, the agroikos: 'realistic' cowards, dwarfs, etc.
There are six phases of romance, as in comedy (the first three = the first three of tragedy; the second three = the second three of comedy):
1) The myth of the birth of the hero. Linked to water and seeds, or snow. Rescue by or from an animal (cf. the embryo in the womb: seeds of life are buried in a swamp). Linked to the motif of the treasure hoard. The theme of the mysterious parentage. The image of returning spring soon follows. A search for the child, who has to be hidden. A false father seeks his death. A false mother is common, too. In realism, the cruel parent = narrow-minded public opinion.
2) The innocent youth of the hero. (Eden, the Arcadian world). Colours green and gold. A world of magic and of desirable law, chaste love. But a feeling of closeness to moral taboo. Dividing rivers; symbols of sexual contact, etc.
3) The normal quest theme.
4) The fourth phase of comedy. The theme of maintaining integrity of the innocent world vs. the integrity of experience (individual or social aspects). The theme of innocence overcoming brutality and corruption.
5) = 5th phase of comedy. A reflective, idyllic view of experience from above. A moral hierarchy of the characters from the lovers down.
6) = 6th phase of comedy. Here, the end of a movement from active to contemplative adventure. Hermits, or "cuddle fiction"; (202) tales in quotation marks, intimate groups remembering, etc. The Flood archetype: society is destroyed, and a small group beings life anew in some sheltered spot (an increasingly popular theme)—cf. the first phase, the newborn infant.
Symbols of epiphany (where the undisplaced apocalyptic world and the cyclical world of nature come into alignment). Common settings: the island, the tower, mountain-top, ladder, lighthouse... Cf. legends of now severed connections between heaven and earth. Transfiguration, Pisgah visions, Jacob's ladders, etc. are Biblical examples. Analogical form: sexual fulfilment. Epiphanies are often more realistic or ironically reversed in recent literature.
The mythos of autumn: Tragedy
(206): "Without tragedy, all literary fiction might be plausibly explained as expression of emotional attachments, whether of wish-fulfilment or of repugnance: the tragic fiction guarantees, so to speak, a disinterested quality in literary experience." 'Realism' as emancipation from dream. Tragedy is not confined to drama or to disastrous endings. The source of tragic effect is not in the mood but in the mythos (Aristotle). Comedy is based on social groups; tragedy focuses on the individual, between the divine and the all too human.
(207): "The tragic hero is very great as compared with us, but there is something else, something on the side of him opposite the audience, compared to which he is small." The hero is our mediator, wrapped in the mystery of that communion, isolated. What is beyond? (208) "Tragedy seems to lead up to an epiphany of law, of that which is and must be." Fate, etc.—a law superior to the gods themselves (cf. the Father's will, vs. Christ's).
Revenge tragedy has a simple, binary structure (as opposed to threefold comedy). Revenge may come from another world. The law of nature comprises it as well. Diké, justice; the righhting of the balance = nemesis. Nemesis happens impersonally, unaffected by the moral quality of the human motivation involved.
- Fate is not external to the hero all the time: normally only after the tragic process has been set going. Admixture of heroism necessary (unlike in irony).
- Also, the moral interpretation of tragedy is reductive. Hamartia is not equivalent to sin. Hybris is frequent as the cause of the hero's downfall. But the morally intelligible process is only a part; catharsis cannot be reduced to a moral interpretation. At the core: is the innocent sufferer a tragic figure? Tradedy is not concerned with it; it eludes the antitheses good / evil and moral responsibility / arbitrary fate. An archetypal tragic situation in Paradise Lost: man is "sufficient to have stood, though free to fall". Otherwise, we would be in irony or in romance. Proairesis or moral choice as a use of freedom to lose freedom; to come under the consequences of one's act and fate.
(212): "And just as comedy often sets up an arbitrary law and then organizes the action to break or evade it, so tragedy presents the reverse theme of narrowing a representatively free life into a process of causation". At the end, the hero recognizes the determined shape of the life he has created for himself.
Aristotle's hamartia is a condition of being, not a cause of becoming. At a point, the audience can see both what might have been and what will be. Nemesis is involved with time, whose movement is fatal to the tragic hero as it is beneficial to the comic hero. In irony, unlike tragedy, there is no sense of contact with a timeless world.
Each theory of tragedy is based on a particular tragedy: Aristotle's on Oedipus the King, Hegel's on Antigone, here Paradise Lost. There are analogies between tragedy and sacrificial ritual; pity and fear are crucial, too, a sense of rightness and wrongness.
(214): "just as the literary critic finds Freud most suggestive for the theory of comedy and Jung for the theory of romance, so for the theory of tragedy we naturally look for the psychology of the will to power as expounded in Adler and Nietzsche." Dionisiac dreams will impinge upon an Apollonian sense of external order. The vision of the death of the herodraws survivers into a new unity. The hidden world and its remoteness has become visible. Tragedy is a part of quest-myth, a prelude to comedy. It is virtually impossible to make a comedy end somberly; it is not 'natural'. Comic actions in tragedies are contained in underplots, not in the main plot.
The source of the nemesis is an eiron. The withdrawn eiron of comeddy is here a god or a ghost or an invisible force. The "vice" is here a soothsayer or prophet, or a Machivellian villain, who is also an architectus or projection of the author's will.
The tragic hero is an alazon (unlike in comedy). He is self-deceived by hybris, and often holds a tyrannic or unlawful power: the rightful owner is often a victim.
Parental figures have the same ambivalence as in other forms.
The bomolochoi turn here into suppliants, destituted females... They are pathetic, nor tragic. There are terrible consequences if they are rejected, they arouse pity and fear.
The agroikos here is an outspoken plain dealer, a chorus character. (218) "In comedy a society forms around the hero: in tragedy the chorus, however faithful, usually represents the society from which the hero is gradually isolated." There is an embryonic germ of comedy in tragedy, just as the refusal of festivity is tragic in comedy.
Love and society are not integrated in tragedy: love is reduced to passion and social activity to duty: cf. Antigone.
The phases of tragedy go from heroic to ironic. The first three correspond to teh first three of romance; the last three correspond to the last three phases of irony.
1) The hero is given the greatest dignity in contrast to others: the stag pulled down by wolves. Often a calumniated mother.
2) The tragedy of innocence in the sense of inexperience. Often characters survive, adjusted to adult situations.
3) An emphasis on the completeness of the hero's achievement. The paradox of the downfall which is a triumph, or a triumph with an impending tragic resolution.
4) The typical fall of the hero through hamartia.
5) In this phase the heroic element decreases, the ironic one increases; the characters are seen from further away and in a smaller perspective. The ironic perspective is attained by putting characters in a state of lower freedom than the audience (e.g. cultural inferiority). Tragedies dealing with existential projections of fatalism belong here. They deal with metaphysical or theological questions rather than social and moral ones.
6) A world of shock and horror, with central images of sparagmos (dismemberment), mutilation, cannibalism and torture. The hero is too agonized to achieve a heroic status; often a villainous hero. Demonic epiphanies, glimpses of undisplaced demonic vision. The chief symbols are teh prison, the madhouse, the torture chamber. The victim experiences horror at being watched by public exposure.
The mythos of winter: Irony and satire
The mythical pattern of experience is an attempt to give form to the shifting ambiguities and complexities of unidealized existence. Structurally, irony is best described as a parody of romance: (223) "The chief distinction between irony and satire is that satire is militant irony: its moral norms are relatively clear and it assumes standards against which the grotesque and absurd are measured." Ambiguity about the author's attitude results in irony with little satire (vs. "flyting"). The moral standard in satire must be at least implicit: not so in irony. Satire is closer to the comic, and (224) "Irony with little satire is the non-heroic residue of tragedy, centering on a theme of puzzled defeat." Invectives are more readable than panegyrics, but attack in literature must go beyond the expression of hatred; it must assume a high moral line.
The first three phases of satire correspond to the first three (ironic) phases of comedy; the second three correspond to the second three of tragedy.
1) In the first phase there is no displacement of the humorous society. A feeling of nightmare. Hence, moral decorum leads to a terrifying climax of moral intensity. Counsels of prudence are given to the reader to adopt the eiron role and lead a conventional life. Expertly conventional behaviour is the most difficult to satirize: (226): "Just as anyone with a new theory of behavior, even if saint or prophet, is the easiest of all people to ridicule as a crank." The author (or narrator) here is a plain dealer. A satire of the low norm. If gaiety predominates, we find harmless, childlike cranks who diversify social behavioiur; where attack predominates, blocking alazons. The heroic disappears from this mythos.
2) Satire of social conventions themselves: picaresque novel, the succesful rogue... Juvenal: Satire is interested in anything men do (vs. the abstraction and dogmatism of philosophy setting social norms). It brings up inconvenient data which were left out. Here, dogmas are set over against life and are found insufficient to explain it (Quixotic satire). Anti-intellectualism: (230): "Insofar as the satirist has a 'position' of his own, it is the preference of practice to theory, experience to metaphysics." E.g. Voltaire's garden in Candide. In art, a defence against those systems which threaten the autonomy of art. Ingénu form when the detached observer is the low norm vs. dogmas. The "other world", whenever it appears, is an ironic reversal of this one. In literature, such satire breaks stereotypes, and fossilized beliefs or fashions, and prevents any group of conventions from dominating the whole of literary experience. A tendency to self-parody (Tristram Shandy, Don Juan)—even the process of writing is not over-simplified. Opposed to conventional "beauty": randomness and fragmentarity. According to Emerson, shifts of perspective allow "a low degree of the sublime".
3) Satire of the high norm. Common sense is no longer a standard. (Frye vs. the 'Oh-come-on-now school of criticism'). In Gulliver's Travels, satire becomes obscene, the world delirious and excessive. Gigantic figures, paralleled by torrents of words (Joyce, Rabelais...).
4) Satire recedes: equivalent to the ironic aspect of tragedy. Elegic pathos; this phase stresses the humanity of heroes, minimizes the sense of ritual inevitability, explains the catastrophe and makes it loos evitable. The phase of most sincere, explicit realism.
5) Equivalent to fatalistic tragedy: an emphasis of the irony in the natural cycle, the wheel of fate. It is less moral, and more metaphysical; less realistic, and more stoical.
6) The human situation is pictured in terms of unrelieved bondage. Nightmares of social tyranny (1984) are common. Kafka, etc. Themes of torture, of being watched. Human figures are desdichadoes, and parodies of romantic roles. Sinister parental figures and sirens abound. Demonic epiphanies: the goal of the quest is absent, visits to the bottom of hell.... Cf. Dantes's Inferno: an inversion of the bottom of hell into comedy.
RHETORICAL CRITICISM: THEORY OF GENRES
Social action, events — Taste, Art, Beauty — Thought & ideas
↓ ↓ ↓
(Ear) History — Art — Philosophy (Eye)
↓ ↓ ↓
Law — Beauty — Truth
Cf. Poe: "Taste in the middle". The symbol is intermediate between events and ideas, mythos and dianoia. Having considered mythos, ethos and dianoia, we consider now melos, lexis and opsis.
Lexis, "diction", when the work is seen as a sequence (ear); "imagery" wehn we think of it as froming a simultaneous pattern of meaning, apprehended in an act of mental vision (eye). (Cf. in grammar: syntax vs. logic, meaning; the linguistic aspect vs. "sense").
(245): "What we have been calling assertive, descriptive, or factual writing, tends to be, or attempts to be, a direct union of grammar and logic." No rhetoric? "Rhetoric" has two opposed meanings: ornamental speech and persuasive speech (disinterested vs. interested). The first is associated to literature (as "lexis"); the second to applied literature. (245): "One articulates emotion, the other manipulates it"; "literature may be described as the rhetorical organization [as opposed to the direct union] of grammar and logic". Creation as the shaping poet's initiative with [rhetorical schemata], genre and rhythm, as well as theme and choice of images.
The theory of genres is underdeveloped. The terms are used as jargon. But the central principle is clear: (246) "The basis of generic distinctions in literature appears to be the radical of presentation. Words may be acted in front of a spectator; they may be spoken in front of a listener, they may be sung or chanted; or they may be written for a reader". Two different radicals of presentation may be superposed in a work; e.g. a novel with a narrator. (The end here is recognizing, not classifying).
Epos is a mimesis of direct address (while fiction is a mimesis of assertive writing). The radical of presentation of epos is oral address, although in epic and longer poems it is more restricted). The Greeks do not have a name for the fourth genre, in which the radical is reading; we call it "fiction". The connection with the audience becomes increasingly theoretical, and epos evolves into fiction. (The blind bard as a symbol of the unseen audience). Dickens's readings, however, stem from epos. Drama is marked by the concealment of the author. In epos, the rhapsode is an author-figure. In fiction, both character and author are concealed. (249) "The fourth possible arrangement, the concealment of the poet's audience from the poet, is presented in the lyric". Cf. Mill: lyric as overheard utterance; lyric/epos = prayer/sermon.
Ritual — Drama — Epos — Fiction — Lyric — Vision or dream
(Epos and Fiction as core genres; ritual, drama, lyric, vision are more peripheral).
Epos is based on metrical rhythm. Drama is between epos and fiction. Fiction is based on prose, and lyric on rhythm (not necessarily metrical).
The Rhythm of Recurrence: Epos
Besides metre, rhytm may be based on quantity and aspect. Four-stress lines are inherent to the structure of English; this metre stands out vs. more or less artificial measures and in periods of uncertainty. "Christabel", "Hiawatha", etc. bring no innovations:
(255): "When in poetry we have a predominating stress accent and a variable number of syllables between two stresses (usually four stresses to a line, corresponding to 'common time' in music) we have musical poetry, that is, poetry which resembles in structure the music contemporary with it" (vs. the sentimental use of "musical"). It is most apt for the grotesque and horrible invective, "metaphysical" intellectualism.
Milton vs. rhyme, favours the sense flowing from one line to another; vs. elaborate stanza forms. The physical pulsation of dance (the pleasure of accent) vs. the predictable pattern filling up (the pleasure of metre). Spenser, Pope, Keats, Tennyson, Johnson... are anti-musical (Johnson theorises on this).
Unmusical poets are often "pictorial"; a meditative rhythm builds up a static picture detail by detail; cf. the imitative harmony first described by Aristotle (Rhetoric III.11) and satirized by Johnson. (Pope's "When ten low words oft creep in one dull line" is self-descriptive). This device is linguistic as well as literary. Certain imitative devices become standardized in every language. Latin longer words lighten the metre.
Epos with distinctive sound patterns ("quality") vs. those indifferent to it and nearer to prose.
(262) "We have stressed imitative harmony because it illustrates the principle that while in Classical poetry sound-pattern or quantity, being an element of recurrence, is part of the melos of the poetry, it is part of the opsis in ours."
The Rhythm of Continuity: Prose
The semantic rhythm of sense. Prose epos reflects the cultural domination of epos—it was considered subsidiary while verse epos is hightest. (263): "Jeremy Bentham is reputed to have distinguished prose from verse by the fact that in prose all the lines run to the end of the page": continuous and not recurrent rhythm in prose (except in oratorical prose: Cicero, Euphuism, etc.). From Dryden on, experiments take place in prose, no longer in epos.
(265): "One of the curious facts of literary history is that M. Jourdain's celebrated discovery in fact is a discovery, and one that literature seems most often to make at a well-advanced point in its development."
It is difficult to get a story hold in euphuistic prose: there is a continuous relapse into monologue; it is best adapted to persuasion.
(266): "A tendency to long sentences made up of short phrases and coordinate clauses, to emphatic repetition combined with a driven linear rhythm, to invective, to exhaustive catalogues, and to expressing the process or movement of thought instead of the logical word-order of achieved thought, are among the signs of prose melos."
E.g. Burton: (266) "the qualities of his styleare es¡sentially the qualities of good swearing: a swinging sense of rhythm, a love of invective and catalogue, an unlimited vocabulary, a tendency to think in short accentual units, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the two subjects relevant to swearing, theology and personal hygiene". Cf. also Sterne; and today, stream-of-consciousness narrative.
(267): "We cannot judge a quality of style by choice of subject-matter. The real difference is rather in the con ception of the sentence".
The dislocation of narrative in James vs. that of of Sterne. It has an opposite effect, looking at an external situation (finished) from several points of view, vs. listening to the process of its coming into being in the author's mind.
(267) "As prose is by itself a transparent medium, relatively few prose writers show a pronounced leaning to one side or the other" (—which makes for "style"). The classical influence (with a freer word order) leads towards opsis, even Cicero; "balance implies a neturalizing of linear movement".
The Rhythm of Decorum: Drama
(268) The personal quality in literary, when it is felt to be the author's voice, we call style. The great period of style was in late Victorian times; criticism insists on the connection between writing and personality. But (269) "The suiting of style to an internal character or subject is known as decorum or appropriateness of style to content" —an "ethical" voice; "decorum is obviously at its purest in drama", drama is "epos or fiction absorbed by decorum" (as opposed to style in discursive prose). In drama there is a range from epos to prose. There is a difficulty in finding a verse form suitable for the conversational rhythm.
(270): "The question of melos and opsis in drama is easily dealt with: melos is actual music and opsis visible scenery and costume."
The Rhythm of association : Lyric
(270): "In the historical sequence of modes, each genre in turn seems to rise to some degree of ascendancy. Myth and romance express themselves mainly in epos, and in the high mimetic the rise of a new national consciousness and an increase of secular rhetoric bring the drama of the settled drama into the foreground. The low mimetic brings fictin and an increasing use of prose, the rhythm of which finally begins to influence verse." Wordsworth's preface is a low mimetic manifesto.
(271): "The lyric is the genre in which the poet, like the ironic writer, turns his back on his audience. It is also the genre which most clearly shows the hypothetical use of literature, narrative and meaning in their literal aspects as word-order and word-pattern." An oracular, meditative rhythm, apart from metre and meaning, is that of lyric. Prose is guided by consciousness; epos with its continuous metre frees the writer; lyric is created (typically poetical) on the threshold of consciousness, a chaos of sound and sense links:
(272) "Out of this, the distinctive lyrical union of sound and sense emerges" —linked to dream, just as drama is linked to ritual. In this sense, lyric may be found in all kinds of writing. Its natural unit is the discontinuous unit of the stanza. If the pattern is too regular, epos gains ascendancy. Near-stanzaic epos is more dreamy than linear epos. Cf. Poe's manifesto, "The Poetic Principle"; in an ironic age, the liberation of the distinctive rhtymd of the lyric. "Free verse" is a third kind of rhythm, neither epos nor prose, a lyrical rhtym (cf. Hopkins, Pound).
(273) "The rhetorical analysis founded on ambiguity in new criticism is a lyric-centered criticism which tends, often explicitly, to extract the lyrical rhtym from all the genres." The masters of the 20th century are the masters of distinctive lyrical rhythm. The poem is to be chanted (not sung): musical structure tends to annihilate words.
(carmen) - charm - babble - melos <-- --="" lexis=""> opsis - doodle - riddle - (read)
(274-80) The pictorial shape of poems is at the other end from musical rhythm (chanting is in the middle position) [Frye relates it to pictorial description - ideograms, hieroglyphics, pictures...]. Experimental writing tends towards the repetitive and emphatic rhythm of music, or towards painting. These expermients only affect lyric, not literature in general. Either sound or opsis may guide a poem's associations. Examples of the first may suggest inanity (vs. wit); incantation is humorlessly impressive. Paronomasias, poetic etymologies (satirized in malapropisms)... doggerel too, combining consciousness and babble; conscious doggerel may be a satire of poetic creation. Doodles; pattern-building is conscious, vs. the cri de cæur. Cf. Poe's "Philosophy of Composition", anticipating the critical techniques of a new mode. Riddles, kennings, etc. - reducing language to a visible form, intellectualizing (vs. element of sound); cf. the Metaphysical poets, 18th-c. poetry, etc.
(281): "In the low mimetic period a growing prejudice against invention made the poets less aware of the conventional phrases they used" but the problems of convention and imagery do not disappear. Formulae for imagery: the 19th c. model is "death's dateless night", the 20th c., "the adjective noun of noun"- Violent metaphor or catachresis fusing the concrete with the abstract has a special importance. An air of radical novelty becomes necessary for the lyrical effect.
Specific forms of drama
Verbal drama vs. those other forms where music and scenery have a more organic place (the opera, the masque). Forms:
1. Primitive myth plays remind an audience of their communal possession of a myth, a subject already known to them. A mixture of the popular and the esoteric. "Passion" plays are tragic because passion is tragic, not in themselves. They are not tragedies: pity and fear are raised but they are not drawn out by catharsis. The Auto.
2. Heroic romance, a kind of scular auto. It is not causally driven (as tragedy is) but casually. (Tamburlaine, Hernani, Le Cid...). It is spectacular, not tragic or comic.
3. This became the history play. Symbols of communion becom attenuated (but still relative to the unification of the nation, etc.). It merges into tragedy as communion becomes catharsis. It does not merge into comedy: the comic scnes in the history plays are subversive.
4. (284): "Greek tragedy never broke completely from the auto, and so never developed a social form, though there are tendencies to it in Euripides." The event, mythos, is primary; explanation is secondary.
5. This inevitably fades out as we approach irony: Arbitrary or meaningless catastrophes, a vision of the fallen world, of man in conflict with nature and himself. Tends toward stasis of action. Supremacy of ethos.
6. Comedy, a vision of dianoia, a significance ultimately social. From "the way of the world" towards "what you will", moving away from irony.
7. Symposium. Plato's dialogues. The more dramatic, the less philosophically defined. (Shaw's plays).
8. Music and scenery increase in importance. The masque: compliments to the audience; stock plot and characters, idealization of the society represented by the audience. An intimate form of drama, usually incorporates disguised members of the audience; ends with unmasking and dance.
9. Opera and movie. (A lavish display, a bourgeois myth-play). Processional structures (cf. Pericles), etc. In each of these, there is a different relationship to the audience and a different source of discoverty (for instance, in opera, the audience is exalted by the music above the characters; we look on the downfall of Don Juan as gods do).
10. Masque/Antimasque are near to the open conflict of good and evil in the morality play. The archetypal masque. Highbrow drama in the 20th c.) is set in a sinister limbo (Maeterlinck, expressionists, Strindberg). An implicit world of types. At its most concentrated, in the interior of the human mind. Characterization breaks down into fragments of personality. (291): "This is why I call the form the archetypal masque, the work archetype being in this context used in Jung's sense of an aspect of the personality capable of dramatic projectionJung's persona, and anima, and counsellor, and shadow, throw a great deal of light on the characterization of modern allegorical, psychic, and expressionist dramas, with their circus backers ande wraith-like females and inscrutable sages and obsessed demons." Abstract entities and stock types of the morality and the Commedia dell'Arte are similar. Progress of drama towards an anagnorisis of the most primitive of dramatic forms. This joins the auto (no. 1) at the point described by Nietzsche, Aristotle and Dion: "epiphany".
Specific thematic forms (Lyric and Epos)
Just as drama can be classified as a cycle of fictions, lyric and some forms of epos are classifiable as a cycle of themes.
Lyric is free: it is not convenzionalized by the audience or by a radical of presentation. We will not deal with forms, but with themes. (293): "Once more, the object is not to 'fit' poems into categories, but to show empirically how conventional archetypes get embodied in conventional genres."
1. Oracular associative poetry is analogous to epiphany. Intrincate sound and stanza patterns as sacrificium intellectus, sacred poetry. The oracle is also the germ of an oratorical prose rhythm: the prayer, "a rhetoric of parataxis" short phrases strung together in a rhythm close to free verse. Public hymns, more stately and dignified: cf. narrative epos presenting a connected account of the god.
2. The panegyrical ode is close, an intermediary to the deity; (245): "Later the chief form of panegyric becomes the poem in praise of the courtly love mistress"
3. The poet's invitation to gaze on something else: poems of community, patriotic song... —> anthems, sing-song, etc. Mystical participation, which falls into the background in a state of culture.
4. The panegyrical funeral ode is analogous to tragedy. (Oraison funèbre —> epitaph —>
5. Closer to irony: the complaint, the poem of exile or neglect. An individual speaks for himself; usually represented by the poet himself.
6. Epos: danse macabre, the poem of the dying community.
7. The lyrical counterpart of mime (the center of irony) is a convention of pure projected detachment; the image or mood is observed from a distiance: epigrams, Chinese poetry... In prose, the proverb or aphorism; wisdom-literature.
8. Satire: Dryden, Hardy, Housman... is based on brilliance and clarity rather than magic or mystery. A tight metrical framweork and clear rhyming expectations are necessary. When low-mimetic vocabulary is used: testament poems, etc.
9. The area corresponding to comedy: the poem of paradox, metaphysical poetry (the comedy of experience), the ironic treatment of courtly or religious love. Debate poems —> And from there to the carpe diem poem, based on a moment of pleasure in experience (lyrical comedy)—the moment becomes detached from time: cf. Wordsworth's 'tranquil recollection", an eiron serenity, remains within the state of experience, in contrast to most Romantics. Epos is an expression of serenity—> the descriptive poem, imitation of experience, of the point of epiphany; —> the self-enclosing poem, the riddle, emblematic visions (analogous to the area of the masque); the poem of personified imagery (e.g. Keats's Grecian Urn) —> pastoral.
10. When the vision of innocence is unified, the vision of experience reappears as a cathartic view: The poem of expanded consciousness: Four Quartets, etc. —> the recognition poem which reverses the usual associations of dreaming and waking. Poems of self-recognition, of awakening from expereince into a visionary reality (Kubla Khan) —> Dythirambic or rhapsodic form, with the poet taken by some internal force—> near to oracle, merging of prose and verse rhythms (Whitman, Rimbaud).
Specific continuous forms (Prose fiction)
"Fiction" as work of art in prose —the false/true distinction is useless [!!! JAGL].
- Novel vs. Romance- At least, fiction does not equal "novel". There is fiction before the novel and in the 20th century a confused panorama results when a Ptolemaic / novel perspective is adopted. The central tradition of the novel is linked to the comedy of manners. Tragic emotions are present in novels peripheral to that tradition (Wuthering Heights: romance). The emotional difference novel/romance is in characterization. In romance, stylized figures, psychological projections and archetypes; vs. the realism of the novel. A suggestion of subjectivism and allegory. Novelists deal with personality, with social masks, romancers with individuality (nihilistic and untamable, vs. the conventional novelist). The same contrast appears in short stories (Poe vs. Mansfield). They are always mixed. Works should be judged according to the conventions they choose. Romance is older but less recognized. It has aristocratic social affinities; revived in Romanticism. An important theme in the novel is the parody of romance and its ideals. Romance springs from myth; it is linked to the past or atemporal, while the novel is historical.
- Autobiography (307) merges with the novel: building up a pattern out of one's life (a fictional impulse). The confession form: the writer comes to identify with something larger than him (mixture with the novel: fictional autobiographies, Künstler-Roman, etc.). In short form, essays after Montaigne's fashion. Generally there is some theoretical or intellectual interest playing a leading role here (which is alien to the tradition of the novel).
- Menippean satire: The novel is extroverted and personal; romance is introverted and personal; confession is introverted and intellecturalized; Menippean satire is extroverted and intellectualized (the tradition of Lucian, Swift, Rabelais, Huxley, Peacock). Menippean satire deals less with people as usuch than with mental attitudes; people appear as mouthpieces of their role or of the idea they represent. (309): "Squire Western belongs to the novel, but Thwackhum and Square have Menippean blood in them." For the novelist, evils are social diseases; for the Menippean satirist, diseases of the intellect. (310): "At its most concentrated, the Menippean satire presents us with a vision of the world in terms of a single intellectual pattern." The logic of narrative suffers violent dislocations—due not to "carelessness" but to another convention. The poles are fantasy (the Alice books) and morality (utopias). Short forms are usually dialogues or colloquiums. The novelist analyses human relationship, vs. the menippean satirist dealing with intellectual themes and amusing erudition with an encyclopaedic tendency. Erudition may be the organizing pattern of Menippean satire, as in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy —indeed, the term "anatomy" might replace "Menippean satire" [Note the self-referential element here , "Anatomy of Criticism" - JAGL]. Menippean satire tends to merge with the novel, esp. with diggresive, stylized novels such as Tristram Shandy.
Possible combinations of the novel, the confession, the anatomy and the romance exist. Exclusive concentration on one form is rare; several in one too. Ulysses is a complete prose epic with all 4 forms equally important and essential to one another. Finnegans Wake is the fifth form in which all merge, and not combine, or rather point to their origin in sacred books, the Bible...
Specific encyclopaedic forms
There is always some central encyclopaedic form: a Scripture or sacred work in the mythical mode or an analogy of revelation in the other modes. Literary criticism of the Bible (vs. "lower" analytic criticism) would show it as an organic unity: the New Testament is concealed in the Old, and the Old is revealed in the New [!! JAGL - Note that Frye is a Christian pastor]. The Bible then is dealt with as the major source of symbolism it is, showing a full cycle from Creation to Apocalipse, the themes of quest, exile, etc. Later, imitations of Messianic myth in romance. In the high mimetic mode, cyclical epics, the fall of empires, etd; or the epic of return. (300): "In the low mimetic period, the encyclopedic structure tends to become either subjective and mythologicval or objective and historical. The former is usually expressed in epos and the latter in prose fiction." In comedy and irony, parody-symbolism. Descents to hell and female archetypes. Examples of hidden mythical structures in Joyce, Blak, etc. Finnegans Wake is the quest of the reader to the extent that only he sees its form as something more than mere rotation. Miniature epics (Lycidas, etc.). Another point of view (this one Longinian) on the Bible: a series of ecstatic moments or points of expanding apprehension. This principle of apprehension is wider than literature.
The rhetoric of non-literary prose
Prose of praxis vs. theoria; prose of social action and individual thought; prose of appeal to action or of contemplation.
- Pamphlets are marked by rhetorical prose. Rhetoric of rallying or of attack. Emotional involvement leads to automation and emotion apart from the intellect. Vs. Obsessive repetition of berbal formulas.
- Conceptual thought follows the opposite direction: towards axioms, vs. emotional content, but expression of this through literary rhetoric devices (Wittgenstein's axioms). Conceptual rhetoric involves the breaking down of habitual response. Conceptual jargon: officialese, in extreme cases towards Newspeak.
Both directions depart from literature and such extremes are antipodal to it. Direct union between grammar and logic does not exist (vs. §1); the only way goes through rhetoric. Grammar and logic are not reducible to each other. Logical thought is only one function of language. (331-2): "There seems to be no evidence whatever that man learned to speak primarily because he wanted to speak logically." "Logic may have grown out of grammar, but to grow out of something is in part to outgrow it". An ideogrammatic middle ground between two languages or cultures as a source of understanding —> both grammatical & logical & rhetorical. There is a link between grammar and logic.
- Grammar and rhetoric are first linked through babble, verbal association—> from poetic false etymology to untranslated words as source of meaning.
- Logic and rhetoric are linked through doodle: an expression of the conceptual by the spatial. Abstract words are loaded with their concrete meaning, not the etymological one, but that of the argument in which they are used.
It is wiser to become aware of the metaphor than trying to eradicate it. Conceptual rhetoric of discourse: ratio is contained by oratio, and cannot escape its verbal condition.
A comprehensive view of criticism showing where each critic belongs is necessary. This is an attack, not on methods, but on the barriers between them; this is not a new program but a perspective on what is done. Further contact between methods has to be sought, rather than with alien disciplines. Archetypal criticism is prominent in breaking barriers: it favours allegory, but is not exclusive: (341): "A myth being a centripetal structure of meaning, it can be made to mean an indefinite number of things, and it is more fruitful to study what in fact myths have been made to mean." The proliferation of criticism on specific works is senseless unless this allegorization is supplemented with archetypal criticism, so that each poem does not become a separate center of isolated scholarship, and the relations with other disciplines become clearer. So, for instance:
- The theory of modes can be related to theories of cultural aging (Spengler, etc.) but it is not necessarily fatalistic, and the "unity" of the Middle Ages is not necessarily desirable... —etc. Art does not improve; it is always the model in each age. What does improve is our comprehension of it and the refinement in society resulting from it. Art is not definable by what the things are in themselves, but by the use given to them. But one of the functions of criticism is to restore the original function in a different context. (346): "It is not only the poet but his reader who is subject to the obligation to 'make it new'."
Revolutionary views of culture see in art a productive power (in ethical terms) which has been unduly exploited by ruling classes in the past and is now to be revalued in terms of a better society —> since Plato. Historical criticism tends to relate culture only to the past, ethical criticism only to the future. Culture, vs. revolution, as a means to do away with social classes (Matthew Arnold) —> importance of the power of imagination, making people capable of conceiving such a society. This can't be established as a society, it is always an ideal. Possibility of transvaluation (seeing present values as relative in comparison with the infinite possibilities of culture) is the goal of ethical criticism: intellectual freedom vs. habit and prejudice; an enlightenment of the aims of action.
From the moment criticism addresses the sense of the total form of art, art is no longer an object of contemplation, but an element participating in civilization; criticism too. The self-containment of literature is impossible, since both literature and non-literature have merged in a verbal universe (as explained in the last essay). Literary criticism has a central role in interpreting cultural products as the products of a conceptual rhetoric.
Literature can be seen as an autonomous language (but mathematics too, for instance). It does not in itself produce truth, but can represent any number of them. Pure literature is like pure mathematics; it contains its own meaning. Points of contact between literature and mathematics as self-contained universes that do not avoid contact with reality but tend rather to swallow it. There are analogies in their use of symbolism; an equation is in some sense the equivalent of a metaphor, etvc.
(353): Verbal constructions take metaphor (either visual or sound) as their material, and make them the unites of a conceptualized myth, a structural pattern. Cf. Freud and the Oedipus complex; this is best seen as an archetype which gave structure to some psychological investigations, and not the other way round. The criticism of the form of theories as based on metaphors or myths may help to understand them. Cf. Plato's differentiation between mathematical and mythical apprehension—two languages, where no unification is possible. Criticism tries to provide it.