Anatomy Of Criticism


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Anatomy Of Criticism

  1. 1. Northrop Frye An Anatomy of Criticism
  2. 2. Reading the poetry of William Blake, I realized that there was a basic mythology and set of symbols that supports all Western literature. A Bit of Background This theory is presented in Frye’s Book A Fearful Symetry
  3. 3. Four Types of Criticism Rhetorical Archetypal Ethical Historical C
  4. 4. Correspondence Historical Ethical Archetypal Rhetorical Symbol Myth Mode Genre Type of Criticism Theory of Literature
  5. 5. Historical Criticism: The Modes of Literature PART ONE
  6. 6. Three Aspects of Mode <ul><li>Elevation of Character </li></ul><ul><li> (superior, equal, inferior) </li></ul><ul><li>B. Historical Period </li></ul><ul><li>(classical, medieval, renaissance, modern, contemporary) </li></ul><ul><li>C. Content of Narrative </li></ul><ul><li>(comedy, tragedy, theme) </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Mode as Elevation of Character in relation to audience </li></ul><ul><li>Superior </li></ul><ul><li>Equal </li></ul><ul><li>Inferior </li></ul>From Aristotle
  8. 8. B. Mode in Historical Period Ironic : narrations of bondage, frustration, and absurdity Contemporary Low Mimetic : realistic dramas of common people Modern High Mimetic : elevated emotional dramas of great people Renaissance Romantic : legend, folklore; epic quests; beast tales; founding of societies Medieval Mythic : c reation stories; stories about gods and forces of nature Primitive, Ancient, Classical Corresponding Literary Mode Historical Period
  9. 9. General Historical Periods 400 to 800 Dark Ages Athenian City State, The Greek and Roman Empires ; Greek Drama (Aeschylus, Sophocles) & Philosophy (Plato); Aesop; Sappho; Roman Poetry (Virgil, Ovid), Neo-Platonic Allegory & Christian Apologetic & Apocalyptic (The Gospels, Plotinus, Boethius, Augustine) 500 BC to 400 AD Classical Historical & Literary Exemplars Time Frame Period Name The World Wars ; Decadence, Symbolism, Existentialism, Deconstruction (Huysmans, Rimbaud, Wilde, Eliot, Pound, Joyce, Proust, Mann, Camus, Faulkner, Hemingway, Kerouac, Pynchon) 1900 to Present Contemporary – Post Modern Revolution ; Literary Movements; Romantic Poetry & the Rise of the Novel; Romantic (Blake, Byron, Chateaubriand, Goethe, Hawthorne, Poe); Victorian (Dickens, Austen); Realist (Hardy, Flaubert, Melville); Russian (Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky) 1650 to 1900 Modern Formation of European Nation States ; Neo-Classicism; Drama and Poetry (Spencer, Shakespeare, Cervantes, Ronsard, Racine, Moliere, Petrarch, Boccacio, Milton) 1400 to 1650 Renaissance Feudalism & Christendom ; Charlemagne’s Frankish Kingdom; Epic and Lyrical Poetry; Beowulf , The Song of Roland, Troubadour Poems; Grail Legends, Celtic Folklore; Norse epic The Nibelungenlied; Dante, Divine Comedy; Chaucer, Canterbury Tales 800 to 1400 Medieval Development of the Fertile Crescent ; the myths of Egypt, Israel, & Greece (Homer & Hesiod, The Bible) to 500 BC Ancient
  10. 10. C. Mode as Content of Narrative <ul><li>TRAGEDY </li></ul><ul><li>COMEDY </li></ul><ul><li>THEME </li></ul>
  11. 11. Mode Historical Period crossed with Elevation of Character excluded from human society Non-Person Ironic powers common to humanity Person Low Mimetic superior in degree to persons but not nature King/Leader High Mimetic superior in degree to persons and nature Hero/King Romantic superior in kind to persons and nature God Mythic Relative Power of Character Character Historical Mode
  12. 12. Mode Historical Period Crossed with Content of Narrative Ironic Comedy Tragic Isolation Ironic New Comedy Pathetic Low Mimetic Cathartic Cathartic High Mimetic Idyllic Elegian Romantic Apollonian Dionysian Mythic Thematic Form Comic Form Tragic Form Historical Mode
  13. 13. The Tragic Modes Defined pity without moralizations; sadness without identification Tragic Isolation Ironic pity & fear communicated externally; sentimental sadness; reaction to injustice Pathetic (domestic tragedy) Low Mimetic purgation of union of pity & fear Cathartic High Mimetic melancholy; passing of time of heroes Elegiac Romantic death agony of a god; passing of spirit out of nature Dionysiac Mythical Description/ Feeling Communicated TYPE of TRAGEDY Modal Category
  14. 14. The Comic Modes Defined Play at human sacrifice (inversion of the pharmakos) Ironic Comedy Ironic A new society forms around an ostracized poor man or degraded woman New Comedy (domestic comedy) Low Mimetic Hero constructs his own society in the face of adversity Cathartic (social comedy) High Mimetic Hero realizes an idealized life in the country Idyllic Romance Hero accepted by a society of gods Apollonian Myth Description/ Feeling Communicated Type of Comedy Modal Category
  15. 15. The Continuum of Ironic Comedy <ul><li>Recognition of the absurdity of Melodrama </li></ul><ul><li>Sentimental comedy without humor </li></ul><ul><li>Parody of Melodrama </li></ul><ul><li>Defines the enemy as a spirit within the society </li></ul><ul><li>Attack on Melodrama </li></ul><ul><li>Scold audiences for desire for sentiment </li></ul><ul><li>Melodramatic </li></ul><ul><li>Hissing at an unbelievable villain </li></ul><ul><li>Regularizing of mob violence </li></ul><ul><li>Propagandistic </li></ul>Satire Comedy of Manners
  16. 16. PART TWO Ethical Criticism : The Theory of Symbols
  17. 17. The Theory of Symbols Monad Anagogic 4 Archetype Mythical 3 Image Formal 2 Motif & Sign Literal/Descriptive 1 Kind of Symbol Kind of Writing (Phase)
  18. 18. Mimesis: The Imitation of Nature Nature Represented as a Process Nature Represented as a Structure In the Mythical Phase In the Formal Phase
  19. 19. Notes on Formal Criticism <ul><li>FC begins with distinctive patterns of repeated images </li></ul><ul><li>Writers imitate the use of images in their predecessors </li></ul><ul><li>FC identifies conventions – the repetition of kinds of images </li></ul>
  20. 20. PART THREE Archetypal Criticism Theory of Myths
  22. 22. Mythical Narrative: Two Movements Cyclical Ascending <ul><li>From Nature </li></ul><ul><li>to the Apocalyptic World </li></ul><ul><li>Within Nature </li></ul><ul><li>Demonic </li></ul>
  23. 23. Types of Mythical Imagery Apocalyptic Demonic U N D I S P L A C E D D I S P L A C E D Analogy of Innocence Analogy of Nature and Reason Analogy of Experience Death Life
  24. 24. <ul><li>Concrete Universals </li></ul><ul><li>Objects that structure identities among categories and between all things within a category </li></ul>
  25. 25. Apocalyptic Imagery <ul><li>Images of Heaven in Literature </li></ul><ul><li>categories of reality </li></ul><ul><li>as of objects of desire </li></ul><ul><li>in a form they take under the work of human civilization </li></ul>
  26. 26. Patterns of Identity in Apocalyptic Imagery One building or one stone City MINERAL One tree Garden, Farm or Park VEGATABLE One lamb Flock ANIMAL One person Community HUMAN One god Pantheon DIVINE INDIVIDUAL SOCIETY WORLD
  27. 27. PART FOUR Rhetorical Criticism Theory of Genres
  28. 28. Structural Definition of Rhetoric <ul><li>Rhetoric is the middle term … </li></ul><ul><li>between </li></ul>Logic Grammar <ul><li>Syntax </li></ul><ul><li>Form </li></ul><ul><li>Physical </li></ul><ul><li>medium </li></ul><ul><li>Semantics/ </li></ul><ul><li>Meaning </li></ul><ul><li>Theme </li></ul><ul><li>Idea </li></ul>&
  29. 29. Per se Definition of Rhetoric <ul><li>The Aesthetic Quality of Language </li></ul><ul><li>The look and sound of language </li></ul><ul><li>The non-cognitive affect of language </li></ul>
  30. 30. The Radical of Representation The radical of representation is the idealized relation between author and audience. Difference in genre relies not on topical considerations (science fiction, romance, mystery), nor in length (e.g. epics are long, lyrics are short), but in the radical of representation.
  31. 31. Applied Literature -- The use of literary art to reenforce the power of argument 2. Persuasive Language Fiction – the creation of a hypothetical verbal structure; the for its own sake of literature 1. Ornamental Language Relation to Literary Purpose Dual Purpose of Rhetoric
  32. 32. The Four Genres <ul><ul><li>Epos - Author speaks directly to audience (e.g. story telling, formal speech). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fiction - Author and audience are hidden from each other (e.g. most novels). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drama - Author is hidden from the audience; audience experiences content directly. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Lyric - Audience is &quot;hidden&quot; from author; that is, the speaker is &quot;overheard&quot; by hearers. </li></ul></ul>