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Body of Vision

Body of Vision: Northrop Frye and the Poetics of Mind

Series: Frye Studies
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 264
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  • Book Info
    Body of Vision
    Book Description:

    By linking Frye's classic studies to exciting recent approaches in the humanities and the cognitive revolution of the past few decades,Body of Visioncasts Frye's achievements in a fascinating new light.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-9815-4
    Subjects: Language & Literature, Anthropology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface and Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
    Michael Sinding
  4. Introduction Landscapes and Prospects
    (pp. 3-26)

    Northrop Frye’s ideas fundamentally changed the landscape of literary and cultural criticism and theory, and powerfully affected other disciplines. Today, however, Frye is somewhat marginal in literary and cultural studies, largely because much of the research in these fields over the past four decades has taken on theories, assumptions, and styles (broadly speaking, post-structuralist) that are incongruous with his in important ways. Yet there are good reasons to think that it is time to begin to reassess, recover, and develop what he has to offer. The topics in these fields are still Frye’s main topics, and his compelling ideas about...

  5. 1 “Systems That Won’t Quite Do”: Schematic Structure in Literary Metaphor, Myth, and Models
    (pp. 27-68)

    My first imaginary conversation will reveal important parallels between Frye’s literary and cultural theory on the one hand, and cognitive literary studies on the other, which make it worthwhile to look at these theories in each others’ lights.¹ The most important parallels concern the relation of metaphors to one another and to the larger mental models that structure culture, literature, philosophy, science, and moral and political worldviews and ideology. Determining their points of agreement and divergence will indicate how they may be developed in concert and supplement, extend, and correct one another’s claims and arguments about common concerns. From this...

  6. 2 Spatial and Spiritual Orders: Metaphoric Coherence in Dante’s and Frye’s Cosmologies
    (pp. 69-90)

    In seeking to understand metaphorical coherence, we must also consider how the specific discourse context affects our analysis. Dante compounds many metaphors in the storyworld of a literary narrative (storyworlds, as I noted, are mental models of the events and worlds depicted by narratives). Spatial modelling is an essential part of narrative processing, as stories prompt readers to “spatialize storyworlds into evolving configurations of participants, objects, and places” (Herman 263). Such a storyworld is ostensibly consistent in Lakoff and Johnson’s sense – that is, in the sense of forming a single image (as the cosmological diagrams that often accompany Dante’s text...

  7. 3 Family, City, and Body Politic: Metaphor and Framing in Social Thought
    (pp. 91-121)

    The foregoing chapters have sketched ways to connect Frye’s literary theory with cognitive linguistic and literary theories, and have shown the advantages such connections offer to literary criticism and to the understanding of how metaphoric, imagistic, and narrative inferences interact in imaginative (aesthetic and moral) worldviews. This chapter moves on to consider how an integrated framework for cognitivecultural poetics can also address the concerns of cultural studies by illuminating non-literary discourse. I now turn to an exploration of how aspects of literary cosmology supply and organize the metaphors and myths that structure moral-political worldview, ideology, and discourse. I found that...

  8. 4 Pastorals with Power: Universal Nature and the Cultural History of Genre
    (pp. 122-173)

    Literary genres can lead long and curious lives. The above remarks on the pastoral genre illustrate three attitudes registering its changing place in cultural knowledge and experience over history. Pastoral, let us confess, is a little weird. Even in the first quotation, from a popular glossary of literary terms, one gets the sense of weariness with an artificial form exhausted long ago by mass production. In the second quotation there is a stronger sense of familiarity breeding contempt, as the genre had begun to lose its vogue when Samuel Johnson penned his well-known complaint on the deadness of the horse...

  9. Conclusion Minds Transfigured Together: Metaphor, Myth, and Culture in Mind
    (pp. 174-182)

    Both Frye and the cognitive critics discuss the relation of metaphor to mind by joining in the imaginary conversations devised by Shakespeare inA Midsummer Night’s Dream. Where Frye picks up Theseus’s remarks on imagination, Lakoff and Turner take the side of Theseus’s interlocutor, Hippolyta, to make another point. Theseus, they say, speaks for the (mistaken) literal meaning theory. He says that figurative language is all illusion; it is about things that are not there. Hippolyta, on the other hand, sees that his dichotomy between fancy and truth is mistaken: poets are imaginativeandtruthful, and can see something that...

  10. Notes
    (pp. 183-208)
  11. Works Cited
    (pp. 209-228)
  12. Index
    (pp. 229-251)