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  • LITERARY

    CRITICISM

    An Introduction to Theory and

    Practice

    FIFTH COITION

    If you're wondering why you should buy the 54 edition of Literary Criticism, here are four great reasons!

    o New professional essays represent a

    seminal work within select literary schools.

    A separate appendix contains essays that

    provide professional examples including

    works by Cleanth Brooks and Jacque

    Derrida that provide insight to the school

    being studied.

    New section on Ecocriticism: The new

    edition includes a chapter centered on the

    0

    0

    emerging field of ecocriticism to reflect

    the latest scholarship in literary criticism

    New Chapters: Entire chapters have

    been dedicated to: Postcolonial literatm,

    Queer Theory, and African American

    Criticism to give each of these important

    schools adequate coverage.

    Consistent Literary Model: All schools of criticism are applied to a common

    selection-'Young Goodman Brown' to

    show how one work can be interpreted C

    many different ways.

    Charles E. Bressler Indiana Wesleyan University

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    PURIM

    If youre wondering why you should buy the 5"' edition of Literary Criticism, here are four great reasons!

    o New p ro fe ssio n a l e ssays represent a sem inal w ork w ithin select literary schools.

    A separate append ix conta ins essays that

    provide professional exam ples including

    w o rks b y C leanth B rooks and Jacque

    Derrida that p rovide insight to the school

    b e ing studied.

    New section on Ecocriticism : The new

    edition includes a chapter centered on the

    em erging field of ecocriticism to reflect

    the latest scholarship in literary criticise

    New Chapters: Entire chapters have

    been dedicated to: Postcolonial Literati

    Queer Theory, and African American

    Criticism to give each of these importat

    schools adequate coverage.

    Consistent Literary Model: All school!

    of criticism are applied to a common

    selection- "Young Goodman Brown" to

    show how one work can be interpreted

    many different ways.

    l i t e r a r yC R I T I C I S M

    An Introduction to Theory and Practice

    Charles E. BresslerIndiana Wesleyan University

    L o n g m a nBoston Columbus Indianapolis New York San Fran cisco

    Upper Saddle River Amsterdam Cape Town Dubai Lond on M adrid Milan Munich Paris Montreal Toronto Delhi M exico C ity S ao P au lo

    Sydney Hong Kong Seoul Singapore Taipei Tokyo

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    - - ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ . o r e d in a ^ t o r d t n g , or o.herwise, whu, .he pn.

    '?bl ^ ^ . h e U h r a r r u r C o u ^j . f i a v a u ^ ie i

    - - - t i A l l

    Makeup: ...........* r * / W e 1 historian' F foe, a llte \ ,u mnst original thinkers nf i guisb a * ; a Marxist cn

    . B,1 ,r years. Bo' " ' Pssa before moving to Petrograd to study haps m nis yilnius and uoe Leaving the university withoutditin grew P f st Petersburg m ^ Nevel then to Vitebsk, where:he UrUVte studies, he hen, ^ L bsk, he was surrounded by a group of np^hng*' h00iteachet At V !tural influences of the Russian worked,fwho addressed the s o c i a l ^ Today tWs group of scholars, in. ellectua rule under Josep v N Voloshinov, is known as the

    Takhhn, F N- Medvedev and U ningrad . Here BakhtinLMin Circle. By 1924,th e f P(p teomyelitis in his leg) and his lackol J J e d financially as ^g'prevented him from finding work. In 1929 heoper political credentials pre _i t .ns -n the underground Russianas arrested for supposedly P Psiberia for ten years, he appealed hisrthdox Church.S.-ntenceakeninR physical condition and was then sen-

    S s U ^ o f t ^ a i e x U e m ^ - bookkceper then as a Throughout the 1930s, Bak c in Saransk, moving often to

    acher at Mordovia State e varioUs political purges. In 1938hisicape further imprisonment R , to be amputated. Although heomyelitis advanced, causing R f 8 his scholarly work dramatically ;as plagued with pain for the ms of halite, tas defended h s doenproved after the amputation. In And from the late 1940s waral dissertation on Rabelais and hi ' ordov Pedagogical lnsti^lis retirement in 1961, Bakhtin taught at me Russian acadel o w ! University of Saransk. In the latter part of the W5 ^ ^ nics and scholars were once again mtere producin!, a new edition han surprised to discover that he was stlU aU . , jtlonal works on Ra*!. nis 1929 study of Dostoevsky along with the "poster schand the Renaissance culture, Bakhtin qui

  • Chapter 2 A I listorical Survey of Literary Criticism 47

    chow 2 A I listorical Survey of literary Criticism novels, especially those written b

    &Otto nnaintrshttohlt. I'4ntffiln(e

    inpolyphonic novels, the author know):

    h.:ituis'eshibited in the ork. In a polyphonic novel,

    writer

    the d'.

    Dostoevsky, arehpo-YVvet whtte wrai

    ng the novel's beginning. Theel,

    tiK

    the ending (4 t-e n('

    s' actions and choices, and the author also k

    re. In this kind of novel, the author's understan

    knows all the characutetru.

    no overall oudined struct ON or resorbed outcome, nor is the text a wroe Is the

    work's entire

    ing out of the author's

    , , h an

    d

    -,ic, n truth of

    worldview or understanding

    of truth 1.,_e rk..

    no of troth 14 W

    I IS an active crtatiiin in 1

    on. .o__nesses of the

    then, p nove

    - - mi-

    ho the readers, and the characters, allo

    wing o genuine surprises for all

    tconcerned. All participants author, reader,

    charactersinteract as

    equals in creating the novel's "truth," for truth requires a plurality of

    C0115C tor Bakhtin, the polyphonic nature of the novel implies that there

    are

    1i1Usnetitieti.

    !flatly

    truths, not just one. Each character speaks and thinks his or her own truth. Although one truth may be preterred to others by a character, a reader,

    Of

    the author, no truth is particularly certain. Readers watch as one character

    influences another, and featiers listen to the multitude of voices heard Ix

    each character as these vo4o.. Ishare those who hear,. them. What develops,

    says Bakhtin, is a carnival istic atmosphere, a sense of joyful relativity. Teas

    sense c it carnival is one ot liakhtin's most significant contributions to literary theory and helps describe the novel's polyphonic style, especially the novels

    of Dostoevsky. Polyphonic novels, asserts Bakhtin, have a carnival sense of

    the world, a sense of joyful abandonment where many voices are simultane

    -

    ously heard and directly influence their hearers. Each participant tests both

    the ideas and the lives of other participants, creating a somewhat seriocomic

    Bakhtin's interest in language, culture, literature, religion, and politirsen env ironment

    compasses much of contemporary literary theory and criticism. His ideas

    have become starting points for conversations and dialogues among compet-

    ing and often conflicting voices in various contemporary cultural theories.

    diversified, with no one voice speaking ex cathedra or no one theory tena- ciously held by all. At the end of the nineteenth century, most critics empha- sized either a biographical or a historical approach to texts. Using Taine's

    historical interests in a text and Henry James's newly articulated theory of the novel, many critics investigated a text as if it were the embodiment of its author or a historical artifact. In the years that follow Arnold and James, no single, universally recognized voice dominates literary theory. Instead, many distinctive literary voices give rise to a host of differing and exciting

    ways to examine a text. What follows in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is a variety of

    schools of criticism, with each school asking legitimate and relevant but dif-ferent questions about a text. Most of these schools abandon the holistic approach to literary study, which investigates, analyzes, and interprets all

    elements of the artistic situation in favor of concentrating on one or more specific aspects. For example, modernism (and, in particular, the New Criticism, the first critical movement of the twentieth century) wishes to

    break from the past, deemphasizing the cultural and historical influences

    that may affect a work of literature. The text, these critics declare, will inter-pret the text. On the other hand, Cultural Poetics, a school of criticism that

    first appeared in the 1980s and continues to develop its underlying assump-

    tions and methodologies, argues that most critics' historical consciousness

    must be reawakened because, in reality, the fictional text and its historical

    and cultural milieu are amazingly similar. For these critics, a reader can

    never fully discern the truth about a historical or a literary text since truth

    itself is perceived differently from one era to another. For those who espouse

    the principles of Cultural Poetics, the text-only criticism of the early and

    mid-twentieth century appears biased and incomplete.

    In the remaining chapters of this book, we will examine the most promi-

    nent schools of twentieth- and twenty-first-century interpretation. For each

    of These diverse schools, we will note the tenets of the philosophy underly-

    ing their literary theory. Most, if not all, have borrowed ideas, principles, and concerns from the literary critics and theories already discussed. We will ex-amine closely what they borrow from these past schools of criticism, what theym aemdeanbdou, t terry anlidwahatconcepts they add. We will also note each school's

    i historical development, ts working assumptions, its particular vocabulary,

    and its methodology for interpreting texts. By so doing, we will become M-

    ei a text. theorists and critics who articulate clearly our analyses MODERN LITERARY CRITICISM ,,, deiiii

    Matthew Arnold's death in listi8 (and to a lesser degree Henry

    Jam - me

    in 1916) marks a transitional pt nod in literary criticism. Like DrY

    en'A to;

    and Wordsworth before him, Arnold was the recognized authority art'..adiki

    ing literary critic of hit; day, and it is his theories and criticisrn that .enliw-and

    the major ideas of his era. With the passing of Arnold, the preaornic veto

    anymcvone person or set of ideas representing a broad time period

    c .004.

    Af ter

    emnt ends, although Bakhtin's concerns and voice vie for pr

    o oure

    Arnold, literary theory and criticism become splinten4

    ,.AHi***al Survey. rarv CntK'sm

    of Uterafy

    Is, especially those written byChapter iBakhtin maintains that some nove,.,

    Dostoevsky, am polyphonic. In nonpolyphonic novels, the auth o f the novel while writing the novel's beginning r ^ W s

    ' ns and choices' a" d the author a[ shoe ^ riter)Vel, the author's understand-

    >rk. In a \

    Chapter 2 A Historical Survey of Literary Criticism 47

    diversified, with no one voice speaking ex cathedra or no one theory tenaciously held by all. At the end of the nineteenth century, most critics emphasized either a biographical or a historical approach to texts. Using Tame's historical interests in a text and Henry James's newly articulated theory of the novel, many critics investigated a text as if it were the embodiment of its

    historical artifact. In the years that follow Arnold and James, nothe end'"* 01 haracters' actions aiknows all the c (ure. in this . ln a polyphonic novel, there is author or a .the work's entire hlblted m the w nor is the text a work- sinele, universally recognized voice dom inates literary theory. Instead,............. anding of truth. The truth ol b literarv voices give rise to a host of differing and excitingno overall out , worldview or ur _ -----,c r'trviKinPSSPS nf thp an.

    1 * ,he f novel is an active creation inout i e creiu iv nrters, allowing for genuine surprises for all der, and charactersinteract as for truth requires a plurality of

    c nature of the novel implies that there are * *---____

    many distinctive literary voices give ways to examine a text

    v*the polyphonic nuv*. ... thor, the readers, and the characters,concerned. All participantsauthor, reader, and characters equals in creating the novel's "truth," . . . ,nteractas

    nsciousnesses.consciour.. - For Bakhtin, the polyphonic no. - - -nv truths not just one. Each character speaks and thinks his or her own

    truth Although one truth may be preferred to others by a character, a reader, the author, no truth is particularly certain. Readers watch as one character

    r, and traders listen to the multitude of voices heard by these...... .. - - What develops,

    says Bakhtin, is a carnivalistic atmosphere, a sense oi -------- , i.uii'K most significant contributions to literary' avo|c

    orinfluences anoint each character as ,h . * * !

    theory ana neips UWv.---of Dostoevsky. Polyphonic novels, assertsthe world, a sense of joyful abandonment where many voices aiv ouslv heard and directly influence their hearers. Each participant tests both

    iii;o; 0f other participants, creating a

    ? of Bakhtin's most significant u . . . ._____?l's polyphonic style, especially the novels

    Bakhtin, have a carnival sense of voices are simultane-

    -----. k- the ideas and the lives c somewhat seriocomic

    environment.Bakhtin's interest in language, culture, literature, religion, anu compasses much of contemporary literary theory' and criticism. His ideas

    become starting points for conversations and dialogues among compel-1haveing

    and often conflicting voices invarious contemporary cu1

    Itural theories-

    m o d e r n l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m

    n 1916) marks a tran* m and to a lesser degree Henry James s dea and Wordsworth befnr pcnod 'n literary criticism. Like Dryden, PP*'ing Itterary critic of a 'm' ^ rno*d w as the recognized authority and tJtbe major ideas of hi< * ^ 's theories arid criticism thatettl j

    01 h'S Pra' Wl* the passing of Arnold, the p ^ o m W j J a b roa d time period or 1 . -wforpro^

    What follows in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries is a variety of schools of criticism, with each school asking legitimate and relevant but different questions about a text. Most of these schools abandon the holistic approach to literary study, which investigates, analyzes, and interprets all elements of the artistic situation in favor of concentrating on one or more specific aspects. For exam ple, m odernism (and, in particular, the New Criticism, the first critical movem ent of the twentieth century) w ishes to break from the past, deemphasizing the cultural and historical influences that may affect a work of literature. The text, these critics declare, will interpret the text. On the other hand, Cultural Poetics, a school of criticism that first appeared in the 1980s and continues to develop its underlying assum ptions and methodologies, argues that m ost critics' historical consciousness must be reawakened because, in reality, the fictional text and its historical and cultural milieu are am azingly similar. For these critics, a read er can never fully discern the truth about a historical or a literary text since truth itself is perceived differently from one era to another. For those w ho espouse the principles of Cultural Poetics, the text-only criticism of the early and mid-twentieth century appears biased and incom plete.

    In the remaining chapters of this book, we will exam ine the m ost prom i-

    of 1 , 1S f twf nheth~ and tw enty-first-century interpretation. F o r each ine thSe , 1,VerSe schools' we wiU note the tenets of the philosophy underlv-

    ^ t e S 1* M St' if n0t a" ' have b rrOWed d eas' P ciP 'es. and amine closely w h a fh W thcories already discussed . W e will ex-theY amend, and what m*3 ? theSe paSt sch ools of criticism , w hat historical development Cept;\they a d d - We will also note each sch ool's and its m J L - w orking assum ptions, its p articu lar vocabulary,___ _ fcw, ulW llg cand its methodology for interpreting formed about literary theorists and

    1 a text.g texts. By so doing, w e will b ecom e incritics w ho articulate clearly our analyses

    any one person or set of ideas representing a v 0ice vie r , alV mrw/ompnl although Bakhtin s concerns a cpUnte^

    ,0$movement ends, although Bakhtin s w . - - - ec0tne s1 After Arnold, literary theory and criticism

  • Chapter 3 Russian Formalism and New Criticism 49

    practitioners such members as Roman Jakobson, Jan Mukarovsky, Peter Hogatyrev, and G. 0. Vinokur. The following year in Petrograd, the Society for the Study of Poetic Language (OPOYAZ) was formed, including in its membership Victor Shklovsky, Boris Eichenbaum, and Victor Vinogradov. Although the adherents of both groups often disagreed concerning the prin-ciples of literary interpretation, they were united in their rejection of many nineteenth-century assumptions of textual analysis, especially the belief that a work of literature was the expression of the author's worldview and their dismissal of psychological and biographical criticism as being irrelevant to interpretation. These Russian scholars boldly declared the autonomy of literature and poetic language, advocating a scientific approach to literary interpretation. Literature, they believed, should be investigated as its own discipline, not merely as a platform for discussing religious, political, socio-logical, or philosophical ideas. By radically divorcing themselves from previ-ous literary approaches and advocating new principles of hermeneutics, these members of the Moscow Linguistic Circle and of the Society for the Study of Poetic Language are considered the founders of modern literary criticism, establishing what is known as Russian Formalism.

    Coined by opponents of the movement to deprecate Russian Formalism's supposedly strict methodological approach to literary interpre-tation, the terms Formalism and Formalist were first rejected by the Russian Formalists themselves, for they believed that their approach to literature was both dynamic and evolutionary, not a "formal" or dogmatic one. Nevertheless, the terms ultimately became the battle cry for the establish-ment of what they dubbed a science of literature.

    The first task of the Russian Formalists was to define their new science. Framing their theory on the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, the French lin-guist and founder of modern linguistics, the Formalists emphasized the au-tonomous nature of literature. The proper study of literature, they declared, is literature itself. To study literature is to study poetics, which is an analysis of a work's constituent partsits linguistic and structural featuresor its form. Form, they asserted, included the internal mechanics of the work itself, espe-cially its poetic language. It is these internal mechanics or what the Formalists called devices that compose the artfulness and literariness of any given text, not a work's subject matter or content. Each device or compositional feature possesses peculiar properties that can, as in any science, be analyzed. For the Formalists, this new science of literature became an analysis of the literary and artistic devices that the writer manipulates in creating a text.

    The Formalists' chief focus of literary analysis was the examination of a text's literariness, the language employed in the actual text. Literary lan-guage, they asserted, is different from everyday language. Unlike everyday speech, literary language foregrounds itself, shouting, "Look at me; I am special; I am unique." Through structure, imagery, syntax, rhyme scheme, paradox and a host of other devices, literary language identifies itself as

    practitioners such members ns Roman Jnkobson, Jan Mukarovsky, Peter Bogatyrev, and G. O. Vinokur. The following year in Petrograd, the Society for the Study of Poetic Language (OPOYAZ) was formed, including in its membership Victor Shklovsky, Boris Hichenbaum, and Victor Vinogradov. Although the adherents of both groups often disagreed concerning the principles of literary interpretation, they were united in their rejection of many nineteenth-century assumptions of textual analysis, especially the belief that a work of literature was the expression of the author's worldview and their dismissal of psychological and biographical criticism as being irrelevant to interpretation. These Russian scholars boldly declared the autonomy of literature and poetic language, advocating a scientific approach to literary interpretation. Literature, they believed, should be investigated as its own discipline, not merely as a platform for discussing religious, political, sociological, or philosophical ideas. By radically divorcing themselves from previous literary approaches and advocating new principles of hermeneutics, these members of the Moscow Linguistic Circle and of the Society for the Study of Poetic Language are considered the founders of modern literary criticism, establishing what is known as Russian Formalism.

    Coined by opponents of the movement to deprecate Russian Formalism's supposedly strict methodological approach to literary interpretation, the terms Form alism and Form alist were first rejected by the Russian Formalists themselves, for they believed that their approach to literature was both dynamic and evolutionary, not a "formal" or dogmatic one. Nevertheless, the terms ultimately became the battle cry for the establishment of what they dubbed a science of literature.

    The first task of the Russian Formalists was to define their new science. Framing their theory on the work of Ferdinand de Saussure, the French linguist and founder of modern linguistics, the Formalists emphasized the autonomous nature of literature. The proper study of literature, they declared, is literature itself. To study literature is to study poetics, which is an analysis of a work's constituent partsits linguistic and structural featuresor its form. Form, they asserted, included the internal mechanics of the work itself, especially its poetic language. It is these internal mechanics or what the Formalists called devices that compose the artfulness and literariness of any given text, not a work's subject matter or content. Each device or compositional feature possesses peculiar properties that can, as in any science, be analyzed. For the Formalists, this new science of literature became an analysis of the literary and artistic devices that the writer manipulates in creating a text.

    The Formalists' chief focus of literary analysis was the examination of a text's literariness, the language employed in the actual text. Literary language, they asserted, is different from everyday language. Unlike everyday speech, literary language foregrounds itself, shouting, Look at me; I am special; I am unique." Through structure, imagery, syntax, rhyme scheme, paradox and a host of other devices, literary language identifies itself as

    Chapter 3 Russian Formalism and New Criticism 49

  • idisemfaamodaNi: New zCriticismation.coined

    N, chapter 3

    do . h patterns, ultimately producing tt.,_ byFo r rtnhael i' 'least d;ejir::

    dela miliarization is the process tit usslim at new liocilt 'Illswiii

    delviatic'n5 from. R:errvianrinfernissa,

    MR feature of litehk

    alovsky,

    Formalist Victor S.e) the familiar, of putting the old ;

    ,p here of new perception." By making strange 'i 4,1, strange (ostran.dna 7

    ihklovsky calk. zatIon (or what some Russian the act of perception of everyday word call 'rotor. '

    _I.:familiar', down

    poetry and t fi,

    estrangement) slows or reader to reexamine the image. For 5 or ob.

    read in a recn leas, forcing the Its

    tenhi, . the words "dazzling darkness," our at r'canlPle o... of these words. Our ordinary expel.;_ rt is when we

    slowed down because we must now unpack the of we do so, s theme

    everyday

    caught by the unusual pain g language is slow

    's choice of language. When Pc't trY with i, a . c- ing of the author has called attention to itself as

    compan,

    ving poetic diction d

    of wing its listeners or rea ers to experience a small pmtl;I '

    by intensifying the act of perception. literariness, a, their world ra tan

    w way . In addition to era mining the constituent devices present in

    Ivied narrative prose and declared that the structret'Y'

    . scts. tabula (story) and syuzhet (plot), Fabul re Fa Shklovsky also anal

    a 1., iite narrative has two asp, I of Inc story and can be considered somewhat akin to th. raw matena

    writer's working outltae. This outline contains the chronological seriesot events of the 4ory. The svuzhet is the literary devices the writer uses to transform a story (the tabula) into plot. By using such techniques as digres.

    sions, surprises, and disruptions, the writer dramatically alters the fabula making it a work of literature that now has the potential to provoke defarnii: iarization. "to make strange" the language of the text and render a fresh

    view of language and 'Or the reader's world. What Russian Formalism contributed to the study of literature and liter-

    ary theory is a reevaluation of the text itself. Bringing a scientific approach in literary studies, the Formalists redefined a text to mean a unified collection of various literary devices and conventions that can he objectively analyzed Literature is not, they declared, the vision of an author or authorial intent Using linguistic principles, the Formalists asserted that literature, like all sci-ences, is a self-enclosed, law-governed system. To study literature is to stuck: a text's form and only incidentally its content. For the Formalists, form is su-perior to content.

    As a group, the Russian Formalists were suppressed and disbanded in 1930 by the Soviet government because they were unwilling to view litera-ture through the Stalinist regime's political and ideological perspective. Their influence did continue to flourish in Czechoslovakia through the work of the Prague Linguistic Circle (founded in 1926, its leadingfigurebeing Roman Jakobson) and through thework

    Vladimir P Fortunatelyof the Russian folktale scholar

    ropp. for the advancement of literary theoryand crit- icism, Russian Formalism resurfaces structuralism (see Chapter 5).

    in the 1960s in French and American

    Chapter 3 Russian Formalism and New Criticism 51

    BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN RUSSIAN FORMALISM

    AND NEW CRITICISM

    Russian Formalism is sometimes paired with the first modern school of Anglo-American criticism: the New Criticism. Dominating both American

    and British criticism from the 1930s to the 1950s, New Criticism can be con-

    sidered a second cousin of Russian Formalism. Although both schools em-ploy some similar terminology and are identified as types of Formalism,

    there exists no direct relation between them. New Criticism has its own unique history and development in Great Britain and the United States. Interestingly, in the 1940s, two leading Russian Formalists, Roman Jakobson and Rene Wellek, came to the United States and actively participated in the scholarly discussions of the New Critics. The interaction of these Russian Formalists with the New Critics does evidence itself in some of Russian Formalism's ideas being mirrored in New Critical principles.

    APPLYING RUSSIAN FORMALISM TO A LITERARY TEXT

    Read carefully the following poem by the contemporary American essayist, poet, scholar, and editor Mary M. Brown. After reading the text several times, be able to apply, discuss, and demonstrate how the following terms from Russian Formalism can be used in developing an interpretation of this text:

    poetics form devices literariness foregrounchng of literary language defamiliariza lion.

    Early Spring Anbade

    The branches outside this office window too often block the light, but today the early

    morning sun wavers, then prevails, stippling this space with a tentative dawn that crawls

    toward an even more fragile day. All the failures of my life on earth are erased in this quivering

    grace that works its lacy way through its own curious birth. This is the one appointed hour

    Chaps RussianFormalistand New Criticism

    . v cneech patterns, ultimately produc ervday f , .^ : i ;arization. Coined K,,deviations from ^ n ess^ T efam i'iariw tion . Coined b y " ^ ^

    dt of literann . fami|iarization is the proces.n g feature or literariness, *--- :ormahst Victor Shklovsky, defamiliarixation is th itrange (ostranenie) the familiar, o f putting the olH ^r CeSs >hklovsky called a "* > R> ^ ,r> new

    i*T'll,ar' '~n{\ slows . to reexamnu: me imaj ['"fore** the words "dazzling darkness,"Then we read in a t** pf ,hcse words. Our ordinary experi aught by the unusual pa down because we must now unpack the

    evervdav language .s slow age whcn We do so. poetry wi,h >ing of the author scht eaUed attention to itself as poetry and *companying poehc diet. n or readers to experience a small pa *literariness, allowing its 2 ^ the act of perception. oi^ i , world in a new . ,he constituent devices present in p0f

    In addition to narrative prose and declared that the structure of'Shklovsky also analy d^ {story) and syuzhet (p,ot) Fabu]anarrative has.twoasp and can be considered somewhat akin to Zraw material ottn outline contains the chronological series of

    s or Th" svu?.he. is the literary devices the writer u s ^ 6 f 1 a story (the tabula) into plot. By using such techniques as dig** transform a story di tions, the writer dramatically alters the fabula sums, surpr^t ^ literalure that now has the potential to provoke defamil' iari/atfon "to make strange" the language of the text and render a fresh

    View ^ ^ ,lt" - *er-arv theory is a reevaluation of the text itself. Bringing a sc.ent.fic approach to literary studies the Formalists redefined a text to mean a unified collection of various literary devices and conventions that can be objectively analyzed Literature is not'thev declared, the vision of an author or authorial intent Using linguistic principles, the Formalists asserted that literature, like all sciences, is a self-enclosed, law-governed system. To study literature is to study a text's form and only incidentally its content. For the Formalists, form is superior to content.

    Llamili "0"

    US$j,urthe rau***' -- * ~ D . . tight

    here of new perception. By making s t r a n ^ S P (or what some Russian F o r n ^ H

    || ob.

    ur atteXample

    ation V'-'1 .. c , "aiKf.down the act of perception of everyday vvord'

    - reader to reexamine the image. F0r

    As a group, the Russian Formalists were suppressed and disbanded in 1930 by the Soviet government because they were unwilling to view literature through the Stalinist regime's political and ideological perspectives. Their influence did continue to flourish in Czechoslovakia through the work of the Prague Linguistic Circle (founded in 1926, its leading figure being Roman Jakobson) and through the work of the Russian folktale scholar Vladimir Propp. Fortunately for the advancement of literary theory and criticism, Russian Formalism resurfaces in the 1960s in French and American structuralism (see Chapter 5).

    Chapter 3 Russian Formalism and New Criticism 51

    BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN RUSSIAN FORMALISM AND NEW CRITICISM

    Russian Formalism is sometimes paired with the first modern school of Anglo-American criticism: the New Criticism. Dominating both American and British criticism from the 1930s to the 1950s, New Criticism can be considered a second cousin of Russian Formalism. Although both schools employ some similar terminology and are identified as types of Formalism, there exists no direct relation between them. New Criticism has its own unique history and development in Great Britain and the United States. Interestingly, in the 1940s, two leading Russian Formalists, Roman Jakobson and Rene Wellek, came to the United States and actively participated in the scholarly discussions of the New Critics. The interaction of these Russian Formalists with the New Critics does evidence itself in some of Russian Formalism's ideas being mirrored in New Critical principles.

    APPLYING RUSSIAN FORMALISM TO A LITERARY TEXT

    Read carefully the following poem by the contemporary American essayist, poet, scholar, and editor Mary M. Brown. After reading the text several times, be able to apply, discuss, and demonstrate how the following terms from Russian Formalism can be used in developing an interpretation of this text:

    poetics form dev ices literariness foregrounding of literary language defamiliarization.

    Early Spring AubadeThe branches outside this office window too often block the light, but today the early

    morning sun wavers, then prevails, stippling this space with a tentative dawn that crawls

    toward an even more fragile day. All the failures of my life on earth are erased in this quivering

    grace that works its lacy way through its own curious birth. This is the one appointed hour

  • bti Charter 4 Rc.hler-ot wilted Criticism

    Student B objects, declaring that Student A's interpretation is not

    ameni Yaw for the twenty-first century. Student Avsisticli(:rerveicit,itci

    Ha w'thorne's chief

    truth

    within all of

    rve When she notes that Goodman Brown reaelli fz

    ver Purpo., . Brown does not recognize the evil in himself. I

    be applied today. Such us. 1i "Young Goodman Brown" is to show

    hypocrisythenin

    story's significance rests in how its meaning can

    Suc h

    IiinesrsS:how-

    _.ivers,L hypocrisy and prejudice, contends Student B, still exist in Our un' - town. We all have the potential to be Goodman Browns, people filled vv rY

    prejudice and hypocrisy, thinking that we alone know and understandjth

    and goodness. Student C affirms that although both Student A and Student B have made

    valid criticisms of Hawthorne's text, they have overlooked the change that takes place in Goodman Brown himself. After the events of that fateful night in the foresteither real or imaginedno longer do we see a Goodman Brown who trusts in the goodness of humanity. We now have a character whose entire lifehis thoughts and actionsis one of despair, a life that sees no good in anyone. Everyone in the Salem village, Brown believes, is living a lie because all are hypocrites. And for the rest of his life he remains a solemn person who casts suspicious and supposedly knowing glances at his peers and his wife, all of whom, he believes, have pledged their allegiance to evil. And thus Brown's "dying hour was gloom," just like his life after the forest scene.

    With a quiver in her voice, Student D remarks that Goodman Brown re-minds her of her friend Rita. Whenever Rita's husband meets her in publicat the mall, grocery store, or McDonald'she gives her a quick stare then looks the other way. Even when they are at home together, he prefers to sit in his study watching a movie on his computer than sitting with her and their two children in the family room watching one of the children's favorite movies. Like Faith Brown, says Student D, Rita has no idea what she has done to distance herself from her husband. Nightly she cries herself to sleep, wishing her husband would hold her. In "Young Goodman Brown," asserts Student D, Hawthorne has successfully captured the predicament of some twenty-first-century wives, women whose lives are filled with despair and they know not why.

    Each of these four students sees something slightly different in Hawthorne's passage, peeking into the text from different windows and, thus, seeing different scenes, receiving different impressions, and coming away from their readings with different interpretations. Consciously or un-consciously, each of their interpretations rests upon different theoretical as-sumptions with their corresponding interpretative methodologies. four interpretations, Student A's is the

    Of the

    an overall textual the passage. Seeingmost. theoretically distinct approach to

    text is autonomous; it must interpret itself with student presupposes

    other extrinsic factors, with little or no help cal, societal, or any

    from' that the

    with all itsparts relating back to its

    valid criticisms of Hawthorne's text, J ey haV(f ovrl k(ed1 cha"ge thattakes place in Goodman Brown himself. After the events of that fateful night in the forest-cither real or imagined-no longer do we see a Goodman Brown who trusts in the goodness of humanity. We now have a character whose entire lifehis thoughts and actionsis one of despair, a life that sees no good in anyone. Everyone in the Salem village, Brown believes, is living a lie because all are hypocrites. And for the rest of his life he remains a solemn person who casts suspicious and supposedly knowing glances at his peers and his wife, all of whom, he believes, have pledged their allegiance to evil. And thus Brown's "dying hour was gloom," just like his life after the forest scene.

    With a quiver in her voice, Student D remarks that Goodman Brown reminds her of her friend Rita. Whenever Rita's husband meets her in public at the mall, grocery store, or McDonald'she gives her a quick stare then looks the other way. Even when they are at home together, he prefers to sit in his study watching a movie on his computer than sitting with her and their two children in the family room watching one of the children's favorite movies. Like Faith Brown, says Student D, Rita has no idea what she has done to distance herself from her husband. Nightly she cries herself to sleep, wishing her husband would hold her. In "Young Goodman Brown," asserts Student D, Hawthorne has successfully captured the predicament of sometwenty-first-century wives, women whose lives are filled with despair and they know not why.

    Each of these four students sees something slightly different in

    aww fmm m0;r ....... jc iving different impressions, and coming

  • Chapter 4 Reader-oriented Criticism 73

    For Rosenblatt, readers can and do read in one of two ways: efferentlu or aesthetically. When we read for informationfor example, when we read the directions for heating a can of soupwe are engaging in efferent reading (from the Latin effere "to carry away"). During this process, we are interested only in newly gained information that we can "carry away" from the text, not in the actual words as words themselves. When we read efferently, we are motivated by a specific need to acquire information. When we engage in aesthetic reading, we experience the text. We note its every word, its sounds, its patterns, and so on. In essence, we live through the transactional experi-ence of creating the poem. Of primary importance is our engagement or our unique "lived-through" experience with the text. Rosenblatt adds that at any given moment in the reading process a reader may shift back and forth along a continuum between an efferent and an aesthetic mode of reading.

    When reading aesthetically, Rosenblatt maintains that we involve our-selves in an elaborate give-and-take encounter with the text. Though the text may allow for many interpretations by eliciting and highlighting different experiences of the reader, it simultaneously limits the valid meanings the poem can acquire. For Rosenblatt, a poem's meaning is not a smorgasbord of infinite interpretations; rather, it is a transactional experience in which sev-eral different yet probable meanings emerge in a particular social context and thereby create a variety of "poems."

    What differentiates Rosenblatt's and other reader-oriented critics' con-cerns from other critical approaches (especially New Criticism) is their purposive shift in emphasis away from the text, as the sole determiner of meaning and toward the significance of the reader as an essential participant in the reading process and the creation of meaning. Such a shift negates the Formalists' assumption that the text is autonomous and can be scientifically analyzed to discover its meaning. No longer is the reader passive, merely ap-plying a laundry list of learned, poetic devices to a text in the hope of dis-covering its intricate patterns of paradox and irony, which, in turn, will lead, supposedly, to the one correct interpretation. For reader-oriented critics, the reader is an active participant along with the text in creating meaning. It is from the literacy experience (an event that occurs when a reader and print transact), they believe, that meaning evolves.

    literary 4111d lytilti, reader oriented criticism Lioes body 01 theory or a single methodological ai3-hat those who call themselves reader-response s, reader c ritic s, or and ience-oriented critics

    r. Relieving that a literary work's interpretation

    ASSUMPTIONS

    Similar to most approaches to not provide us with a unified proach for textual analysis. W critics, reader-oriented critic share is a concern for the reach

    For Rosenblatt, readers can and do read in one of two ways: efferentlu or aesthetically. When we read for information for example, when we read the directions for heating a can of soup we are engaging in efferent reading (from the Latin effere "to carry away"). During this process, we are interested only in newly gained information that we can "carry away" from the text, not in the actual words as words themselves. When we read efferently, we are motivated by a specific need to acquire information. When we engage in aesthetic reading, we experience the text. We note its every word, its sounds, its patterns, and so on. In essence, we live through the transactional experience of creating the poem. O f primary importance is our engagement or our unique "lived-through" experience with the text. Rosenblatt adds that at any given moment in the reading process a reader may shift back and forth along a continuum between an efferent and an aesthetic mode of reading.

    When reading aesthetically, Rosenblatt maintains that we involve ourselves in an elaborate give-and-take encounter with the text. Though the text may allow for many interpretations by eliciting and highlighting different experiences of the reader, it simultaneously limits the valid meanings the poem can acquire. For Rosenblatt, a poem's meaning is not a smorgasbord of infinite interpretations; rather, it is a transactional experience in which several different yet probable meanings emerge in a particular social context and thereby create a variety of "poem s."

    What differentiates Rosenblatt's and other reader-oriented critics' concerns from other critical approaches (especially New Criticism) is their purposive shift in emphasis away from the text, as the sole determiner of meaning and toward the significance of the reader as an essential participant in the reading process and the creation of meaning. Such a shift negates the Formalists' assumption that the text is autonomous and can be scientifically analyzed to discover its meaning. No longer is the reader passive, merely ap- plying a laundry list of learned, poetic devices to a text in the hope of discovering its intricate patterns of paradox and irony, which, in turn, will lead, supposedly, to the one correct interpretation. For reader-oriented critics, the reader is an active participant along with the text in creating meaning. It is from the literacy experience (an event that occurs when a reader and print transact), they believe, that meaning evolves.

    Chapter 4 Reader-oriented Criticism 73

    A SSU M PTIO N S

    Similar to most approach.-* to literary analysis, reader-oriented cri.totsm does provide us with a unified body of theory or a sm,;le n.ethodoloK>ca! ap

    proach for textual analysis. What those who call themselves reader-response Crhcs, reader-oriented critics, reader cr,tics, or audience-oriented cnt.es **M* is a concern for the reader. Ilelievin,; that a literary work s interpretation

  • Chapter 4 Reader-oriented Criticism 83

    Using Bleich's subjective criticism, can you state the difference between your re-sponse to "Young Goodman Brown" and your interpretation?

    In a classroom setting, develop your class's interpretive strategies for arriving at the meaning of "Young Goodman Brown."

    As you interpret "Young Goodman Brown," can you cite the interpretive com-munity or communities to which you, the reader, belong? By so doing, you will be identifying how this community or communities have influenced your interpretation.

    CRITIQUES AND RESPONSES

    Like most schools of criticism that have emerged since the 1960s, reader-oriented criticism is a collective noun embodying a variety of critical positions. Unlike New Criticism's "text and text alone" approach to interpretation that claims that the meaning of a text is enclosed in the text itself, reader-oriented critics emphasize the reader of a text, declaring that the reader is just as much (or more) a producer of meaning as is the text itself. To vary-ing degrees, the reader helps create the meaning of any text. In approach-ing a work, the reader brings to the interpretive process his or her forestructure, one's accrued life experiences, memories, beliefs, values, and other characteristics that make an individual unique. In making sense of the textwhat we call the interpretationthe elements of the reader's forestructure interact, transact, or intermingle (depending on the reader's theoretical stance), thereby producing the actual interpretation. Because reader-oriented critics agree that an individual reader creates the text's meaning, reader-orientated criticism declares that there can be no one cor-rect meaning for any text, but many valid interpretations. What the reading process is and how readers read are major concerns for all reader-oriented critics. Their answers to these and similar questions, however, are widely divergent.

    Reader-oriented criticism has been harshly critiqued by scholars who believe that the text, not the reader, creates meaning. If multiple interpreta-tions of the same text can exist side by side, how can we ever say what a text means? Can a text actually mean anything a reader says it means? Are there no clearly delineated guidelines for interpretation? Are there no fixed val-ues in any text? If the reader is the producer of meaning, then the reader's physical or mental condition while reading a text will directly influence the interpretation, producing an array of bizarre and, more frequently than not, misguided and pointless interpretations. In response, reader-oriented critics provide a wide range of answers, from Wolfgang Iser's gap theory, to Louise Rosenblatt's transactional theory, to Stanley Fish's rather relativistic assumption that no text can exist until either the reader or an interpretive community creates it.

    ......H II- --------------------------------------. ----------- .. - > * * ..,.*

    Chapter 4 Reader-oriented Criticism 83

    Using Bteich s subjective criticism, can you state the difference between your response to Young Goodman Brown" and your interpretation?

    In a classroom setting, develop your class's interpretive strategies for arriving at the meaning of "Young Goodman Brown."

    As you interpret Young Goodman Brown," can you cite the interpretive community or communities to which you, the reader, belong? By so doing, you will be identifying how this community or communities have influenced your interpretation.

    CRITIQUES A N D RESPO N SES

    Like most schools of criticism that have emerged since the 1960s, reader- oriented criticism is a collective noun embodying a variety of critical positions. Unlike New Criticism's "text and text alone" approach to interpretation that claims that the meaning of a text is enclosed in the text itself, reader- oriented critics emphasize the reader of a text, declaring that the reader is just as much (or more) a producer of meaning as is the text itself. To varying degrees, the reader helps create the meaning of any text. In approaching a work, the reader brings to the interpretive process his or her forestructure, one's accrued life experiences, memories, beliefs, values, and other characteristics that make an individual unique. In making sense of the textwhat we call the interpretationthe elements of the reader's forestructure interact, transact, or intermingle (depending on the reader's theoretical stance), thereby producing the actual interpretation. Because reader-oriented critics agree that an individual reader creates the text's meaning, reader-orientated criticism declares that there can be no one correct meaning for any text, but many valid interpretations. What the reading process is and how readers read are major concerns for all reader-oriented critics. Their answers to these and similar questions, however, are widely divergent.

    Reader-oriented criticism has been harshly critiqued by scholars who believe that the text, not the reader, creates meaning. If multiple interpretations of the same text can exist side by side, how can we ever say what a text means? Can a text actually mean anything a reader says it means? Are there no clearly delineated guidelines for interpretation? Are there no fixed values in any text? If the reader is the producer of meaning, then the reader's physical or mental condition while reading a text will directly influence the interpretation, producing an array of bizarre and, more frequently than not, misguided and pointless interpretations. In response, reader-oriented critics provide a wide range of answers, from Wolfgang Iser's gap theory, to Louise Rosenblatt's transactional theory, to Stanley Fish's rather relativistic assumption that no text can exist until either the reader or an interpretive community creates it.

  • Chapter 5 Modernity/Postmodernism 93

    language system and how it operates rather than its evolution, Saussure drew attention to the nature and composition of language and its constituent parts. For example, along with examining the phonological antecedents of the English sound h, as in the word boy (a diachronic analysis), Saussure opened a new avenue of investigation, asking how the b sound is related to other sounds in use at the same time by speakers of Modern English (a synchronic analysis). This new concern necessitated a rethinking of language theory and a reevaluation of the aims of language research, and it finally resulted in Saussure's articulating the basic principles of modern linguistics.

    Unlike many of his contemporary linguists, Saussure rejected the mimetic theory of language structure. In its place, he asserted that language is primarily determined by its own internally structured and highly system-atized rules. These rules govern all aspects of a language, including the sounds its speakers will identify as meaningful, the grouping of various combinations of these sounds into words, and the process whereby these words may be arranged to produce meaningful communication within a given language.

    The Structure of Language

    According to Saussure, all languages are governed by their own internal rules that do not mirror or imitate the structure of the world. Emphasizing the systematized nature of language, Saussure asserts that all languages are composed of basic units called emes. The task of a linguist is to identify these units (sometimes called paradigms or models) and/or to identify their rela-tionships among symbolslike the letters of the alphabet, for examplein a given language. This task becomes especially difficult when the emes in the linguist's native language and those in an unfamiliar language under inves-tigation differ. According to Saussure, the basic building block or unit of language is the phonemethe smallest meaningful (significant) sound in a language. The number of phonemes differs from language to language, with the least number of total phonemes for any one language being around eleven (Rotokas, a language spoken by approximately four thousand people in Bougainville, an island east of New Guinea) and the most being 112, found in several tonal languages. American English, for example, consists of ap-proximately forty-three to forty-five phonemes, depending on the specific dialect of American English being spoken. Although native speakers of American English are capable of producing phonemes found in other lan-guages, it is these forty-five distinct sounds that serve as the building blocks of American English. For example, the first sound heard in the word pin is the /p/ phoneme, the second /1/, and the last /n/. A phoneme is identified in writing by enclosing the graphemethe written symbol that represents the phoneme's soundin virgules or diagonal lines.

    93

    language system and how it operates rather than its evolution, Saussure drew attention to the nature and composition of language and its constituent parts. For example, along with examining the phonological antecedents of the English sound b as in the word toy (a diachronic analysis), Saussure opened a new avenue of investigation, asking how the b sound is related to other sounds in use at the same time by speakers of Modern English (a synchronic analysis). This new concern necessitated a rethinking of language theory and a reevaluation of the aims of language research, and it finally resulted in Saussure s articulating the basic principles of modem linguistics.

    Unlike many of his contemporary linguists, Saussure rejected the mimetic theory of language structure. In its place, he asserted that language is primarily determined by its own internally structured and highly systematized rules. These rules govern all aspects of a language, including the sounds its speakers will identify as meaningful, the grouping of various combinations of these sounds into words, and the process whereby these words may be arranged to produce meaningful communication within a given language.

    Chapter 5 M odernity/Postmodernism

    The Structure of Language

    According to Saussure, all languages are governed by their own internal rules that do not mirror or imitate the structure of the world. Emphasizing the systematized nature of language, Saussure asserts that all languages are composed of basic units called ernes. The task of a linguist is to identify these units (sometimes called paradigms or models) and/or to identify their relationships among symbolslike the letters of the alphabet, for example in a given language. This task becomes especially difficult when the ernes in the linguist's native language and those in an unfamiliar language under investigation differ. According to Saussure, the basic building block or unit of language is the phonemethe smallest meaningful (significant) sound in a language. The number of phonemes differs from language to language, with the least number of total phonemes for any one language being around eleven (Rotokas, a language spoken by approximately four thousand people in Bougainville, an island east of New Guinea) and the most being 112, found in several tonal languages. American English, for example, consists of approximately forty-three to forty-five phonemes, depending on the specific dialect of American English being spoken. Although native speakers of American English are capable of producing phonemes found in other languages, it is these forty-five distinct sounds that serve as the building blocks of American English. For example, the first sound heard in the word pin is the /p/ phoneme, the second /I/, and the last /n/. A phoneme is identified in writing by enclosing the graphemethe written symbol that represents the phoneme's soundin virgules or diagonal lines.

  • New Critics, who believe that the .,. untlike the

    _ and from the language of science 14s Chapter ii)

    1 0 analr'' . w different . . .

    Postrolonialism

    t that the language of texts ttosainlyszi5e such writings. For their, toat4 and of Myra y

    re is willow

    ation, t!"` P nape and form the text

    the lativik everyday c,"ntveThm

    .wse of literature discourse or culturally bound

    is not distinct f- , In other Wor i analysis helps sha

    , in literary as used langttage -7-i,1

    the iiit;tlacg)SetniUts)eddecri:to,

    anatiLy maintain, the text and the Ian ;4

    a discour4L.

    language of '"e-- nnot Separate,

    i d. W- ca 'cs, faregcage

    helps create and shape--

    being analyze . page used t, al.

    arate,

    can what we call '

    ti ue it. For these crib,

    w,

    be created by language, many post.

    i

    objec i . qfve reality."

    onstruct. From this point of vie

    instead, many realities exist. In 4

    Believing that objectiv . . e reality

    modernists assert t . _aiity exists;

    critics believe that reality is that all reality is a social c

    a unive , his or her subjective understand- disavowingno single or primary objective

    ob3ectwe re

    rsal reality, these

    i

    perspectival, with eac . .

    o s tor r in ogdoeordn, thinkleitYrs isi

    if. How, then, do we come to agree upon public h individual creating

    ing of the nature of ma-1-J I tv itself,

    ! acid

    g, and its

    social concerns, such as values,aenthsicse,rarodr tthheesceomp

    different for each individual? The .t r

    . within itself a dominant cultural

    or, using the Marxist term, its t 1

    that each society or culture contains

    and wron i group

    who determines that culture's ideology

    hegemonythat is, its dominant values, its sense of right

    sense of personal self-worth. All people in a given culture are consciously and

    1 i

    unconsciously asked to conform to the prescribed hegemony. What happens, however, when one's ideas, one's thinking, or one's per-

    sonal background does not conform? What happens, for example, when the dominant culture consists of white, Anglo-Saxon males and one is a black fe-male? Or how does one respond to a culture dominated by white males if one is a Native American? For people of color living in Africa or in the

    I

    Americas, for Native Americans, for females, and for gays and lesbians, and a host of others, the traditional answer already has been articulated by the dominant class and its accompanying hegemony: silence. Live quietly, work

    I quietly, think quietly. The message sent to these "Others" by the dominant culture has been clear and consistentconform and be quiet; deny yourself,

    1

    and all will be well. But many have not been quiet. Writers and thinkers, such as Toni.

    Morrison, Alice Walker, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Carlos Fuentes, Gayatn 1 Spivak, Edward Said, Frantz Fanon, and Judith Butler, to name a few, have

    dared to speak out and challenge the dominant cultures and the dictatesif

    these cultures decree. They continue to refuse silence and choose defiance, necessary. They believe that an individual's view of life, of values, and of ethics really matters. They assert a different perspective, a vantage point not

    of the dominant culture, but one from which to view the world and its pee ples: They speak for not one cult ure, but many; not one cultural perspective' but a host; not one interpretation of life, but countless. Speaking for the oppressed, supp

    ressed, and silenced, scholarsAfrican, Austral in, Native

    critic`

    American, female, gay

    these cr and lesbin,

    r 10 r stcl Chap** lu

    ,lon>jUm ' Wh beUf VC ^,be t f e * ,b e la n g u a g e of science and

    .. . ^ g s f c ^ s t s s s s ai S I S " " I S t " S 5

  • ' ,..a alie.6...S.seabilia....."

    -:

    2t41 Readings on Literary Criticism

    (It could no doubt be demonstrated that this ration supplementaire o f sign. f.

    l cation is the origin of the ratio

    itself.) The word reappears a little i

    n .rther - h.

    after Levi-Strauss has mentioned 'this floating signifier, which is the ser u

    tude of all finite thought': '

    In other wordsand taking as our guide Mauss's precept that all social phe_

    nomena can be assimilated to languagewe see in mana, Wakau, oranda and

    other notions of the same type, the conscious expression of a semantic function, whose role it is to permit symbolic thought to operate in spite of the contradic-tion which is proper to it. In this way are explained the apparently insoluble antinomies attached to this notion. .. . At one and the same time force and ac-tion, quality and state, noun and verb, abstract and concrete, omnipresent and localizedmana is in effect all these things. But is it not precisely because it is

    none of these things that mana is a simple form, or more exactly, a symbol in the

    pure state, and therefore capable of becoming charged with any sort of syrn_ bolic content whatever? In the system of symbols constituted by all cosmolo-

    gies, mana would simply be a zero symbolic value, that is to say, a sign marking

    the necessity of a symbolic content supplementary [my italics] to that with which

    the signified is already loaded, but which can take on any value required, pro_ vided only that this value still remains part of the available reserve and is not, as phonologists put it, a group-term.

    Levi-Strauss adds the note: 'Linguists have already been led to formulate hypotheses of this type.

    For example: "A zero phoneme is opposed to all the other phonemes in French in that it entails no differential characters and no constant phonetic value. On the contrary, the proper function of the zero phoneme is to be op-posed to phoneme absence." (R. Jakobson and J. Lutz, 'Notes on the French Phonemic Pattern', Word 5, no. 2 [August 1949]:155). Similarly, if we schema-tize the conception I am proposing here, it could almost be said that the func-tion of notions like mana is to be opposed to the absence of signification, without entailing by itself any particular signification.'xiv

    The overabundance of the signifier, its supplementary character, is thus the result of a finitude, that is to say, the result of a lack which must be supplemented.

    It can now be understood why the concept of play is important in Levi-Strauss. His references to all sorts of games, notably to roulette, are very frequent, especially in his Conversations," in Race and History ,"i and in The Savage Mind. Further, the reference to play is always caught up in tension.

    Tension with history, first of all. This is a classical problem, objections to which are now well worn. I shall simply indicate what seems to me the formality of the problem: by reducing history, Levi-Strauss has treated as it deserves a concept which has always been in complicity with a teleological and eschatological metaphysics, in other words, paradoxically, in complicity

    (It could no doubt be domonstr.i cation is the origin of the ratio it: after Ltfvi-Strauss has mentione tude of all finite thought':

    pure state, and therefore capable o f becom ing ch arged w ith an y sort o f sym- bolic content whatever? In the system of sym bols con stitu ted b y all cosm ologies, m am would sim ply be a zero sym bolic value, that is to say, a sign marking the necessity of a symbolic content supplem entary [m y italics] to that w ith which the signified is already loaded, but w hich can take on any valu e required, provided only that this value still rem ains part o f the availab le reserve and is not, as phonologists put it, a group-term .

    Levi-Strauss adds the note:'Linguists have already been led to formulate hypotheses of this type.

    For example: "A zero phoneme is opposed to all the other phonemes in French in that it entails no differential characters and no constant phonetic value. On the contrary, the proper function of the zero phoneme is to be opposed to phoneme absence." (R. Jakobson and J. Lutz, 'N otes on the French Phonemic Pattern', Word 5, no. 2 [August 1949]:155). Similarly, if we schematize the conception I am proposing here, it could almost be said that the function of notions like mana is to be opposed to the absence of signification, without entailing by itself any particular signification.'xiv

    The overabundance of the signifier, its supplementary character, is thus the result of a finitude, that is to say, the result of a lack w hich must be supplemented.

    It can now be understood why the concept of play is important in Levi-Strauss. Flis references to all sorts of games, notably to roulette, are very frequent, especially in his Conversations , x v in Race and History, and in The Savage Mind. Further, the reference to play is alw ays caught up in

    Tension with history, first of all. This is a classical problem, objections to which are now well worn. I shall simply indicate what seems to me the form ality of the problem: by reducing history, Levi-Strauss has treated as it deserves a concept which has always been in com plicity with a teleological and eschatological metaphysics, in other words, paradoxically, in complicity

    tension.

  • 278 Readings on Literary Criticism purple quiet, lying content

    old and I Sout

    f mauve eroaonind

    hutter haunting and appeal- phrase

    " and shining in the

    marble;sun;

    a little thing

    melody enus of Milo;7 a Suipi.

    where on a throne rest Veys6 in West Africa, a , black and velvet S,

    the Southern

    the broken curves ye.lowing

    real- ing, suddenly arising out ,

    f night and eternity, beneath the moon. is infinite, its possibility is endless. In no ,

    phrase of music in o

    Such is Beauty. Its variety life all may have it and the mass of human beings are and made ugly. This is not

    have it yet again

    only wrong, t choked away

    The world is full of it; and yet t,,, al

    It is silly. Who shall right this well-

    nigh

    it, and their lives distorted

    Who shall re- store

    well.

    *. a m ay

    nigh universal failing? Who shall let this world be beautiful?

    of sunsets and the peace of quiet sleep? have within us as a race new store to men the glory We black folk may help for we stirrings,

    stirrings of the beginning of a new appreciation of joy, of a new desire to cre-ate, of a new will to be; as though in this morning of group life we had awak-ened from some sleep that at once dimly mourns the past and dreams a splendid future; and there has come the conviction that the Youth that is here today, the Negro Youth, is a different kind of Youth, because in some new way it bears this mighty prophecy on its breast, with a new realization of itself, with new determination for all mankind.

    What has this Beauty to do with the world? What has Beauty to do With Truth and Goodnesswith the facts of the world and the right actions of men? "Nothing," the artists rush to answer. They may be right. I am but an humble disciple of art and cannot presume to say. I am one who tells th

    e truth and exposes evil and seeks with Beauty and for Beauty to set the world right. That somehow, somewhere eternal and perfect Beauty sits above Truth and Right I can conceive, but here and now and in the world in which I wor they are for me unseparated and inseparable. k

    This is brought to us peculiarly when as artists we face our own past as a people. There has come to usand it has come especially through the man we are going to honor tonightsa realization of that past, of which for long years we have been ashamed, for which we have apologized. We thought nothing could come out of that east which we wanted to remember; which we wanted to hand down to ou

    r children. Suddenly, this same past is taking on form, color and reality, an

    din a half shamefaced way we are beginning to be proud of it. We are rememberin die and lie forgotten in the Middle Age; that if you w

    th g at the romance of theantromwoanriccle dtoiddneoatl with you must have it here and now and in your own hands.

    6_0ne

    of the !vlandingo peoples of Senegal, West Africa. 'Famous classical statue of Aphrodite, Greek

    goddess of love (2d C. B.C.E. copy of a 4th c.

    original), now armless. 8

    Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950), to whom the NAACP in 1926 awarded the

    Spinarnvvi_o

    for African American achievement,

    furyn African American educator and historian n 1916 founded the

    Journal of Negro H Medal

    Veys in West Africa, a little thing f 'room w here o n a th ro n l resf ent and shininB in tire sun; a ^ c u r v e s of the Venus of M ilo /old and yellowing marble; the b kuth_ utter m elody, haunting and apPe8'e phrase of music in the South^ . and eternity, beneath the m oon. P al' ing, suddenly arising out ot n b its possibility is endless. In norTv

    Such is Beauty. Its variety is * The w orld is full of it; and Ve? ? ? al

    * -We black folk may help for we have w ithin us as a race new stirring

    stirrings of the beginning of a new appreciation of joy, of a new desire to create, of a new will to be; as though in this m orning o group life w e had awak- ened from some sleep that at once dim ly m ou rn s the p a st and dreams a splendid future; and there has come the conviction that the Youth that is her today, the Negro Youth, is a different kind of Youth, b ecau se in some n ^ way it bears this mighty prophecy on its breast, w ith a new realization itself, with new determination for all mankind. *

    What has this Beauty to do with the w orld? W hat has Beauty to d Truth and Goodnesswith the facts of the w orld and the rieh t art Wltb men? "Nothing," the artists rush to answer. They m ay be right I a m ^ 8 f humbie disdpie of art and cannot presum e to say. I am one w ho tel truth and exposes evil and seeks with Beauty and for B eau ts c wu then 8 HtRT ^atTSOmehOW' so m e w h e re e te r n a l a n d p e r f e c t B e a u t y s i t s a h ^ and Right I can co n ce iv e , b u t h e r e a n d n o w a n d in t h e w orld 1 TrUththey are for m e u n sep a ra te d a n d in s e p a r a b le . d w h lc h 1 w ork

    a p e o p le .T h e m h a sco m e ^ ru t-a ^ ^ C sT o m e 5^ WC Ur own Past as we are going to honor tonight8_ a realiz^Ho 1 Pe c ,ally through the man years we have been ashamed, for whir i f f that P ast' of which for longnothing could come out of that nagf u- u"6 bave aP logized . We thoueht we wanted to hand to^em em b^; S

    b e proud o f t " w reality ' an d ir> a h a l f s h a m t h ls s a m e p a s t is takingd L an d lie f ^ ^ U m b e r i n g t h t th ^ W * Y W e a r e b e g ^ 8 t o w ith you m u st haten ^ ^ M id d le A g e - I ? ! n a n c e o f th e w o r ld did not

    y u m u st h av e it h e re a n d n o w a n d Y U W a n t r o m a n c e to deald m your ow n hands.

    torAfriSnVAOdSOn(187S- 1950)/to > loVe

  • sf ihaneaviwi

    vital 1 role

    in

    ings on 1.1teritv r

    oil Which . inscription 0

    Read

    y cDecicitsotryruektion

    instance is the self-chosen' :ritti,::)...:

    wtsrtihtaint twh:ip"rr.(piprrtlIts 0/

    Arwther

    '" big nenip: tisia(

    ajttri'sfece tiaeivs cosnoemwehoofstehneacr:0-ine.,awmaesln.

    Therdentify with Keatt.sIns tthtlita Kismt, ,anal. will

    becom- citnmttell(dithiliifse (c)nslatr(:

    constructionist. 1.._ s s ironic and self_

    o.x.ical con-

    'nn0totiate their con,cteonns

    ' 11,t7;rtainal'`e.s,thl,illel:ti)there is that these remarks, within tile c

    nora his

    3' The ai4a' not be taken to represent Keats's ironic and

    contra- roc pointess to rather

    the than

    irt4, sins in the strict rhetorical implications of the words,

    achievement. 46,.,,''lle, t -ince in

    but his sense. of aesthetic ilit''''tic5' expression .as aenyapeostshiteivtieclyp

    fact that a

    Nature plays 4 Pt):,: he had no doubt written mature poetry,

    acshin _nscious

    achievements. Sy h

    ' insophic vision was not satisfactory. s and achie iria Phi' -

    o-consciousness . ess engender Jerstanding of his aesthetic ambition

    speculations? N the tin

    Nature is The major question is, how does Keats's ec

    pantheistic and monistic aesthetic and philosophical expression and s

    his 's spirituality.

    d by Coleridge, for

    apprehende , example, from a panth - .

    dimension as a universal force which sheds light o ed from an eco-

    This means, in other words, that the question is exanmill* an

    tytahsea c.onstructive metaphysical dimension. Becoming can be seen criticallm isilonary ex- deferral of spiritual idealism, the argument being tha

    periences encapsulated in texts are an indicator of supra-textua readings Is this the case

    and therefore not closures but dynamic open-endedness.

    with Keats? her of characteristic features in Keats's poetry Though there are a Hum_

    which affiliate with Coleridge and Wordsworth, his nature-consciousness

    will be seen to take a slightly different turn. Keats's poetry and prose show proof of certain monistic traits common in the two elder poets, justifying

    the assertion that he can be discussed within the mainstream of

    Romantic

    idealism with regard to nature, even if he does not handle the matter in a

    like manner. It can be argued equally that his poetry lends credence to apprehend na-

    ture from an organicist viewpoint. Yet, his eco-poe ,

    tics as we intend to

    analyse, does not place priority on the visionary and transcendental and,

    therefore, the dominant spiritual dimension of nature is not

    like that of his

    elder colleagues, for it tends to reduce nature priman

    of his aesthetic quest rather than brood over-

    ly within the confines

    'tely p force or the basis of his spiritual longings.

    it fundamentally as

    an

    a universal

    Keats saw the secret of creative genius as

    urged sym-

    Pathy evident of life . qua .-

    - an exquisi

    with nature. Apprehending nature an

    ever-increasing and .

    14-5

    Keats infused most of his poetry

    progressive momen t a

    d aesthetic creativity .as if

    re with this PP

    in his epistolary self-corisciousness, we

    that was shaping itse ,

    important philosophical remarks

    Readings on Literary Criticism

    the self-chosen inscription on Keats's tomb. a a n c e lS t

    Aot"*r in . .................... - lie* one whose name was writ i Vv ilese are some of the comments that m r T identify with Keats's idealism, an ,/ !?r,,P < > , ,

    v i t ia t e their contention that Keats's i/ W."1 Pfincip o ,--h' .i ns him a Deconstructionist mn,c nd sJ f v Ci>|>ih .e .....' CH''ha

  • Readings on Literory Criticism 191

    The Romantic symbol of the breeze and its impact on the

    creative imagina- iitsy hteoretheevwokaeyda. :Dr nafe_

    lion, common in Wordsworth, Coleridge, and SselinesIlietyiv,

    also notit.ses that Keats is obviously expressing and psycho-pathology,

    fects bodily health. It therefore connects with physio

    - and points to the therapeu-

    which Keats had studied in his medical training,

    tic or pharmaceutical importance of nature to the body and soul. This eco-

    therapeutic perspective is not just a Coleridgean connection, but brings to

    mind post-Novalian philosophy. Novalis (Friedrich Freiherr von Hardenburg 1772-4801) was very

    preoc-

    cupied with the pharmaceutical operations of nature in human life, a cele-

    bration of both thepsychic and somatic nature of man. He nature

    consciousness, stressing that nature is a pharmaceutical principle, a poison

    and a healer. He saw illness as a positive prerequisite for wholeness and the

    soul as the embodiment of the ambivalence of the pharmaceutical principle.

    There is a connection between Novaiis and Keats in this phenomenon. 121 In fact, Keats's broodings over nature actually point to a number of con-

    cerns that are intricately related to his study of medical sciences h. and Is phi-

    losophy of the imagination. The nature of the Romantic imagination here is its aesthetic implications and how it connects inextricably with his progres-sive philosophy of life. The concern here is not unrelated to Keats's imagina-tive view of art, expressed in a letter to George and Thomas Keats, dated December 21, 1817.

    The excellence of every Art is its intensity, capable of making all disagreeables evaporate, from their being in close relationship with Beauty and Truth (John Keats: Letters, 370)

    Keats's notion of beauty and truth is highly inclusive. That is, it blends all life's experiences or apprehensions, negative or positive, into a holistic vision. Art and nature, therefore, are seen as therapeutic in function.

    Keats's views on nature are not to be found only in his poetry but also in his letters. Writing to Tom (1818), he associates nature with poetic inspiration and expression. In other letters to George and Thomas Keats (1817), he talks of the negative capability of the poet that calls for a synaesthetic and em-pathic vision in life, to Reynolds (1818), he asserts the conviction that all de-partments of knowledge are to be seen as excellence and calculated towards a great whole, to John Taylor (1818), he outlines certain axioms of poetry among which is the notion that if poetry comes not naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all. All these connect the imagination with nature-consciousness and demonstrate an affinity with the Plotinist or Spinozist monism inherent in Wordsworth and Coleridge. But the major issue lies in apprehending nature as part of the creative process rather than the poet's adherence to nature's spirituality.

    I Uornrv2)2 Readingson . ct on the creative im agina-

    .. 0 f the breeze and it* 11 t ev is here evoked. OneThe Romantic sy WorJsWorth, Coleridge, an gitivity to the w ay air af-tmn, commoi obviously express K 0 . and psycho-pathology,

    w hich Keats had studied in h is . e to th e b o d y a n d so u l. is eco -tic or pharm aceutical im portance o f md c o n n e c tio n , b u t b r in g s totherapeutic perspective is not j u s t a C omind post-Novalian philosophy. , burg 1772-1801) w as very preoc-

    Novalis (Friedrich Freiherr von H of mature in human life, a cele-cupied with the pharmaceutical ope of m an. H e adopted a hom e-bration of both the psychic and soma cg of natU re and hum anopathic tradition to explain is ^ P ^ aceutical principle, a poison consciousness, stressing that nat ^I nuisite for w holeness and theand a healer. He saw illness as a P s,t^ P ^ * e pharm aceutical principle.soul as the embodiment in this phenom enon.

    There is a connection between Novaiis anu isko. r , ,121 In fa " . Keatss brooding* over nature actually p e n t to a num ber of concerns that are intricately related to his study of m edical sc.ences and his philosophy of the imagination. The nature of the Rom antic im agination here is its aesthetic implications and how it connects inextricably w it is progres- sive philosophy of life. The concern here is not unrelated to K eats s im aginative view of art, expressed in a letter to George and T hom as K eats, dated December 21,1817.

    The excellence of every Art is its intensity, capable of m ak in g a ll d isag reeab les evaporate, from their being in close relationship w ith B eau ty an d T ru th (John Keats: Letters, 370)

    Keats's notion of beauty and truth is highly inclusive. That is, it blends all life 's experiences or apprehensions, negative or p ositive , in to a holistic vision. Art and nature, therefore, are seen as therapeutic in function.

    Keats's views on nature are not to be found only in his poetry but also in his letters. Writing to Tom (1818), he associates nature w ith poetic inspiration and expression. In other letters to George and Thom as Keats (1817), he talks of the negative capability of the poet that calls for a synaesthetic and em- pathic vision in life, to Reynolds (1818), he asserts the conviction that all departments of knowledge are to be seen as excellence and calculated towards a great whole, to John Taylor (1818), he outlines certain axiom s of poetry among which is the notion that if poetry comes not naturally as the leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all. All these connect the imagination with nature-consciousness and demonstrate an affinity w ith the Plotinist or Spinozist monism inherent in W ordsworth and Coleridge. But the major issue lies in apprehending nature as part of the creative process rather than the poet's adherence to nature's spirituality.

  • 11(..itlings urn Liturdry

    _ , so another argument on the Auttigichtion of k iinti n

    ;:itioo .a.1:1)rhenomenon with

    ix' as a sli

    ,errito Li ha e tii in:aginett i.v.e and p.1.1ilosoll lit:I:lir] er to 1.:: :II" yelilb!,:iii(i's)i.i're,:villicl}.(sr)i:jitinrii:la:

    loglt .ve moment of existence, since he u -

    A_.t.tt:rtintilit."a

    I-1 a death into life Suffice cJeath, which to hip- l'ici:11:1:diti Ili' c .4 is a wel , { onie relief rather

    c..,,,nd to

    eco nepti

    dc-centre the tradition ii n Itiiiii141.t:il ri...:sitt-c,..1('I.rfiflit,:e,natil.,,Ler,xKist.t.ta5ntsceis. a tternptingt

    v To Pt" .,,..10 of the seasons to whichparticularmofcharacteristic featur(e: tio , a4crioe--

    of t ' be cv --- ci Not only is Autumn a seas r ipeness and fruitful- lov- he ot..e 0 bet n ' h r seasons can philosophically or metaphorically serve the T.ez... All

    the of one another from a creative and aesthetic perspective. That

    ..1nie OS .fr,e artistically inspiring while engendering deep philosophical is, theY c. - 1 matters of life and death, each season can be spring as well as d .iritua . . an

    The critical stance taken here is that ecology has a mutually enriching death

    warding relationship with ethics and psychology. Dissociating any

    and i human activity from ecological diversity seems impossible. reaira 01

    re

    iOn the Grasshopper and Cricket' and 'Bright Star, would I were

    thou

    sted- art' are two of Keats's sonnets that necessitate critical investiga-

    fasts on with reference

    to the present debate on nature. In the former poem, a . advances statements that go beyond the deceptive simplicity of the

    geat.0 nfjeM'S title: r The poetry of earth is never dead:

    When all the birds are tre

    fes

    n,a voihe we ll r

    ait wit th houn t sun,

    And hide in cooling ci

    From hedge to hedge about the new-mown mead;

    That is the Grasshopper'she takes the lead In Summer's luxury,---he has never done With his delights; for when tired out with fun

    He rests at ease beneath some pleasant heed.

    The poetry of earth is ceasing never.

    On a lone winter evening, w hen the frost

    Has wrought a silence, from the stove there shrills The Cricket's song, in warmth increasing ever, And seems to one in drowsiness half lost, The Grasshopper's among some grassy hills.

    The poet's ecological assertion that the poetry of earth cannot be exhausted is a

    reverberation of the Spinozist idea that we cannot

    have enough of the great

    treasures of nature. Poetic composition can be inspired by any season, given the

    apprehension that any season can be a generative and creative spring. This re-

    current thematic issue, already mentioned above, takes a seemingly simplistic

    di-..nension in this poem. The grasshopper and cricket are nature's elements that

    Spirarisolnand convey different time axes in terms of the changing

    seasons. In com-

    time an insight to philosophlicalband spiritual dispositions.

    nature,

    and at the same to the nig. htingale poem, one

    sees tne lend of aesthetics and

    inHon I.jj,.r,ry C.ritjt is,,, 297

    alm or s s h o p p e r an d C rick et' and 'Bright Star, would I were sted-** 'On the C ra ^ Gf K ea ts 's sonnets that necessitate critical investiga-

    -t as thu art are to th e p resen t d ebate on nature. In the former poem, with sta tem en ts th at go beyond the deceptive simplicity of the

    !2m 's title:r f parth is never dead.

    n e p0euThe birds are faint with the hot sun,When all tne v i treeS/ a v o ic e w ill ru nAnd hide in co o i g th e new-mown m ead;Fr0ffl hehdgG rassh o p p er's-h e takes the lead That is the Gras PP_ hag never doneIn Summer s luxu y, tjred out with fun

    Wi*h ? a , eeagse b e n e a th so m e p le a sa n t heed .He rests at ea reasing never.The poetry of ear when the frostOn a lone winter e v e n in g , ^ gtove there shnUs Has w rought a s ile n c , th in creasin g ever,The C ricket's so n g , i sineSS h a lf lost,And seem s to o n e " c g ra ssy hills.The G rasshop per s a m o i g

    ,t ._ t flao n n p tfV

    Andseem s w ---------The G rasshopper's among some grassy ^ ^ exhausted is a

    e poet's ecological assertion that the P*~*P[an n ot have enough of the great ^iteration of the Sp in ozist idea that inspired by any season, give" th asures of nature. Poetic com position ca and creative spring-prehension that any season can be a ge takes a seemingly simfrrent thematic issue, already mentioned a b o je ,^ are natui*'s e,em ^tension in this poem. The grasshopper ^ the changing nature,

    aland Aifft,rpnt tim e axes m ter UK>nd 0f aesthetics a ^

    ?matic issue, already menuox *- , . e naturc =>in this poem. The grasshopper and season. In comconvey different tim e axes in tenJ? blend 0f aesthetics an> the nichtineale poem , one sees . d spiritual dispos

    insight to philosophical and Pto the nightingale at the same time an n