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March 12, 2007

The Critical Path Presentation

Frye, ''The Critical Path'' -- Jerz EL312 (Literary Criticism)

The main idea Frye was trying to get across throughout his essay was to not draw too heavily on one idea but rather take all of ideas/criticisms and encompass them all.
The critical path we need to is a criticism that "accounts for the major phenomena of literary experience, and, second, would lead to some view of the place of literature in civilization as a whole” as well as balances the two aspects of criticism; structure and cultural phenomena (280). With the help of one another, the structure and the cultural phenomena that forms the social environment of literature, it makes a balance. The one is worked on to the exclusion of the other; the critical perspective goes out of focus (284).
As Jason put it nicely on Gina’s blog, “the key word underneath of intertextual criticism: LINKS. There is a link between different types of literature that allow us, the reader, to find something useful or meaningful in both of them, and refer to each as necessary for Reason A and Reason B”. Enough said.
Frye wants readers to include all forms of criticism to celebrate the similarities and differences that interlinked in a variety of works. As Dave commented on Vanessa’s blog, he sees that intertextuality encompasses other criticisms as a natural part of its process than others. Intertextuality criticism allows for social relevance. It picks up historicism in one way through comparing and contrasting works. Tiffany had a question posted on Lorin’s blog about whether intertextuality can be used between periods or if it must remain within the same time period?
I think that intertextuality can be used for both circumstances because it would show the historical differences between the different time periods. Do you believe that it can be used for both?

Frye concentrates a lot on archetypal criticism. By definition it is investigation of recurrent images, character types and story lines that under the assumption the persistence indicates the presence. The idea of looking specifically at conventions, genres and recurring image groups helps explore the context which eventually leads to the discovery of the meaning behind the story from the context.
The context, a set of circumstances or facts that surround a particular event of work, helps a reader or critic delve deeper into the work to see the archetypal criticism within all literary works. Literary study has a great deal of social relevance and it is mostly understood with a criticism, intertextuality/archetype, which opens reader's eyes to see literature as a whole in its social context.
Frye also commented on the importance of the "unfallen" world, a world that most of us can experience only through articulated analogies. Through some kind of articulated analogy that art can supply an illusion based on reality. (Articulated analogy--distinct or clearly represented similarity)

The interconnectedness among texts is the concept that any text is an amalgam (mixture/combination) of others either because it shows signs of influence or contains points of reference with other text with things such as allusions, quotations, genre and style. Frye explained that that recurring structural patterns of literature lead the reader to the conviction that literature is everywhere and is much alike. It is not to keep bringing the student back to the same point but to the sense of identity in literary experience which is the objective counterpart to his own identity. Intertextuality seems like an endless circle to Vanessa that she mentioned on her blog. We “read to understand, understand by reading.”

Kevin Hinton asked a question on his blog about whether or not a text is really unique and individual?
To answer in words of the wise, Frye, yes a text is unique and individual because "the ultimate source of a poem is not so much the individual poet as the social situation from which he springs" (281).
Although literature maybe similar, it is the small differences that show the individuality. Karissa mentioned in her blog that "it seems that even though we compare texts to one another for what they are it's what they aren't, in comparison, that makes them what they truly are in literature as individual works".
The idea that poets are alike is a false statement that Frye emphasizes on. On page 283, Frye explains that "it is identity that makes individuality possible: poems are made out of the same images, just as poems in English are all made out of the same language". The main idea of intertextuality is to compare and contrast works based not only if they are unique and individual thoughts, but also on the archetypes, the conventions, genres, and recurring image groups.
Frye makes another example towards the subject of whether or not a poet is a unique, individual writer. He begins to say that “a scholar, qua scholar, cannot thin for himself or think at random: he can only expand an organic body of thought, add something logically related to what he or someone else has already thought. But this is precisely the way that poets have always talked about their relation to poetry” (284).
Writers’ thoughts are provoked by a social or cultural influence that allows a reader to make connections between different kinds of literature.

In conclusion, Frye ends the essay with a strong point that shows “criticism that studies literature through organizing patterns of conventions, genre and archetype enables him (a reader) to see what the structure is. Such criticism can hardly injure the ‘uniqueness’ of each experience” (286). If we read and could not make connections between novels, poems or plays, it would be basically useless and “time filling” for the leisure reader. With intertextual criticism, that I think we all do subconsciously, we are able to see the similarities and differences between each other and story. It would not be a literary experience if one could not make connections between different pieces of literature.

Posted by Denamarie at March 12, 2007 12:01 PM

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I am really looking forward to your presentation, because Northrop Frye really confused me with some of his thoughts. I understand now the importance of social relevance, because of the effects of how one writes an essay. Culler and Frye were not that dissimilar in their perceptions of cultural influence in an intertextual criticism. Encompassing all ideas would be wonderful in a perfect world, but it is so difficult to complete a task like that; this is why we make comparisons between two, three, maybe four pieces of literature. In my opinion, using too many pieces of literature in comparison actually takes away from the influence, because of how broad of a topic one can delve into. But like I said before, I am still learning about Frye, and you have a much greater grasp on him than I do. If you have any questions about Culler, I'm your man. :)

Posted by: Jason Pugh at March 14, 2007 4:44 PM

Jay I agree with you. Using too many different sources for comparison makes it very difficult to pin down a thesis. My question about this author is if he thinks that this will work the same was if one was comparing the different ages instead of just different poets.

This idea of comparing the ages is one that I just recently thought of and after reading this entry I'm not so sure is plausible any more. I will be interested to see if these questions are answered during your presentation.

Posted by: Tiffany at March 14, 2007 6:53 PM

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