Imitation And Instruction

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  • 1. Moulay Ismail University
    Faculty of Arts and Humanities
    Department of English
    Master Program ‘’ Communication in Contexts’’
    Approaches to Criticism
    Prof. Kh. Amar
    Critical Approaches
    To Literature.
    David Daiches
    ‘’Imitation and Instruction’’
    Soufiane Adrane
  • 2. Outline
    • Plato’, Aristotle’ and Sidney’s Critics
    • 3. Dryden and the imitation of human nature
    • 4. Instruction and recognition
    • 5. Which aspects of human nature?
    • 6. ‘’Expression’’
    • 7. Dr Johnson and ‘’general nature’’
    • 8. Dr Johnson’s dilemma
    • 9. ‘’Almost a Remembrance’’
    • Plato sees the poet’s world as a second-hand imitation of reality,
    hence of no value.
    • Aristotle thinks that the poet could achieve a reality more profound
    than that represented by the casual surface of things which we meet
    In ordinary experience.
    • Sidney says that the poet created a world morally better than the real
    World, for the edification and improvement of the reader.
  • 10. Dryden and the imitation of human nature:
    ‘’Just,’’ ‘’lively,’’ ‘’image,’’ and ‘’human nature.’’
    • All important and each one contribute materially to the definition.
    • 11. All four element are necessary.
    You obtain a just and lively image of human nature by:
    - representing its ‘’passions and humors'’.
    • representing the changes of fortune to which men are subject.
    • 12. ‘’it is only when we see a character’s reactions to changes of fortune that
    We get a real view of his ‘’passions and humors’’.
    • For Sidney, the poet makes vivid and impressive, by his imaginary examples,
    The ideas of the moral philosopher.
    • For Dryden, the poet makes vivid and impressive, by his imaginary examples,
    The knowledge of the psychologist.
  • 13. Instruction and recognition:
    Dryden’s definition: it is to be done to the delight and instruction
    Of mankind.
    • The delight comes from the liveliness with which human nature is
    Represented.
    • And from the pleasure which comes from recognizing in fictional characters
    Fundamental psycho-logical truths.
    • Instruction is not a moral instruction, but instruction in the fact of human nature.
    • 14. The reader is instructed in psychology.
    • 15. Dryden meant that the function of drama was to delight and instruct by
    Providing lively images of human nature, if at the same time the play is to
    Instruct us in human nature, which is to say, to tell us what we did not know before.
    • The implication of Dryden’s definition is that literature is a form of knowledge
    Rather than a technique of persuasion.
  • 16. Which aspects of human nature?
    The reply would be men acting and suffering.
    • Hamlet’s going to pieces on learning the truth of his father’s death and his
    uncle’s guilt.
    • The ambition represented by Alexander the Great and a draper assistant are
    different.
    • Cleopatra in love is different from Jenny and Jock.
    • 17. Yet both illustrate human nature.
    Poetry pleases and instructs by illuminate human nature.
  • 18. Expression:
    Pope’s view:
    • ‘’what oft was thought but ne’er so well expressed.’’
    • 19. ‘’Rape of the Lock.’’
    • 20. Pope did not mean that poetry was merely the polished expression of well-known
    abstract truths.
    • He must have meant to include in the verb expressed the imaginative way in which
    the general truths are illustrated: expression must include plot as well as style, invention as well as diction.
    • For Pope, the good poet uses his reason and common sense to discover what the
    General truths about human character and behavior are.
  • 21. Dr Johnson and ‘’general nature’’
    • Pope’s notion is a series of generalizations and the difficulties of criticizing.
    • 22. It takes the major questions for granted, and we cannot learn from it:
    • 23. whether the instruction we receive from poetry is instruction in the facts of
    human nature or moral instruction.
    • or whether he would agree with Dryden at all in including instruction as one
    of the functions of poetry.
    • nor he does tell us whether the pleasure in effective expression is the main
    joy and value of poetry.
    Dr Johnson Preface: ‘’Nothing can please many, and please long, but just
    Representations of general nature.’’ The implication of this sentence is clear:
    It is the duty of the poet to please. The way to please the greatest number over
    The longest period of time to provide accurate pictures of general human nature.
  • 24. Dr Johnson praises Shakespeare:
    ‘’The poet that holds up to his readers a faithful mirror of manners and of life.
    ‘’Shakespeare has no heroes; his scenes are occupied only by men, who act and speak
    As the reader thinks that he could himself have spoken or acted on the same occasion.’’
    • He means that his heroes illustrate and act according to the general law of human
    nature. They’re not supermen, but men, whom we recognize as fellow human beings.
    Aristotle: ‘’… poetry is more philosophical and more serious than history because
    Poetry tends to render the general truths while history gives the particular facts.’’
    Johnson is similarly contrasting the general and the particular. Reality and generality
    Are in a sense identified: what is most general is what is most real. The implication here
    Is that human nature does not change.
    Does the poet reach out to the universal through the particular?
    • Johnson’s praise of Shakespeare's psycho-logical realism is by implication a
    recognition of the importance of the particular, through which the general must
    Be presented. No character in a work of fiction or drama can appear real if he is not
    Individualized.
  • 25. Johnson and Dryden see literature as a form of knowledge, it is valuable for its
    Illustration and illumination of human nature. We derive pleasure from seeing
    Human nature.
    Imlac insists that the poet must study all kinds of men of different ages and
    countries; the poet must have a greater store of particulars through which to illustrate
    The known generalities. The pleasure the reader gets derives from his recognition in
    These different characters of general human nature as he knows it.
    • It would be difficult to obtain from Johnson’s criticism any notion that the didactic
    effect of literature lies in its teaching us new things about human nature.
  • 26. Dr Johnson’s dilemma:
    ‘’poetry has the higher function of moral instruction.’’
    ‘’the end of writing is to instruct; the end of poetry is to instruct by pleasing.’’
    ‘’the greatest graces of a play, are to copy nature and instruct life’’
    Johnson discusses Shakespeare’s faults: ‘’ … for it is always a writer’s duty to make
    The world better, and justice is a virtue independent on time and place.’’
    If a poet’s duty is both to represent human nature and to arrange his story so that
    It provides moral instruction for the reader, then it must follow that human nature
    In itself must be edifying.
    Sidney agreed that poetry should be morally instructive, but, well aware that life
    As it is does not convey a moral lesson to the reader, he insisted that poet create
    A new and better world.
    • Johnson wants to have it both ways. As we have seen, this is fair enough if he
    believes that the real world is in fact edifying, but he know very well that it is not.
  • 27. To hold a view of literature which is at once imitative and didactic or instructive
    one must be a very special kind of optimist. ‘’some the eighteenth century writers
    May have had this kind of optimism, but Johnson certainly did not.
  • 28. ‘’Almost a Remembrance’’
    We have seen that for Johnson the imitation of human nature which the poet
    Provided gave to the reader a recognition of what he was likely to have known
    Already. The poet illustrates rather than reveals.
    Johnson insist that great poets are known by the way in which they reveal and
    Illustrate recognizable human nature, he felt that they also in some way instruct
    Us in aspects of human nature we had not known before.
    • the fact is that neither Dryden nor Pope nor Johnson is very explicit on this issue.
    • 29. they all seem sometimes to talk as though the poet provides new exploration
    the human situation and at other times as though he simply illustrated effectively and convincingly what we know to be true.
    Keats’ ‘’almost a Remembrance.’’ we can recognize what we had not previously known. When we see new knowledge rendered in the special way the poet employs, we see it both as new and as familiar, and our reaction combines recognition with insight.
  • 30. Thank you!