March 12, 2007

The difficulties of Frye

I have to admit that when I first started reading this essay I wasn't sure exactly what it was trying to say. Was he arguing for intertextuality (if that is even what he means because there is nothing that says that right out) or was he saying that a mix of all the different types of criticism is that best way. In about the middle of the essay Frye states:

It seemd to me obvious that, after accepting the poetic form of a poem as its primary basis of meaning, the next step was to look for its context within literature itself. And of course the most obvious literary context for a poem is the entire output of its author.

Now in this passage I can see a bit of formalism, some argument for style, and finally a bit of support for authorial intent or maybe cannon. I think that this last is what we are meant to focus on because it has a sentence all to its own, however I'm not so sure what to make of it.

The essay seemed very vague to me and it jumped around a lot in my opinion and because of that I decided to read a few of my classmates blogs to see if I could make some sense of the essay.

Karissa saw that Frye was arguing that although poems are similar it is the differences that bring out the individuality. I can see that this is true because of what I learned from the introduction. It seemed to me that the whole point of intertextuality was to compare and contrast works and not just to other works done by the author of that piece. Karissa said 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." I think that this is true because we are always looking for similarities in people, but it is the differences that make us who we are. Why shouldn't the same be true for poetry?

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

Posted by Tiffany Brattina at March 12, 2007 11:30 AM | TrackBack

Good question! I felt the same way as you, especially when you said he wanted us to use a mix of all criticisms. I liked your comment that we look for similarities but our differences make us who we are. What a great quote! I think maybe Frye wants us to use different forms of criticism to celebrate the simlarities and differences that intertwine a variety of works.

Posted by: Erin at March 12, 2007 12:50 PM

Uh, those last sentences screams mimesis to me again! I am definitely a fan of that for some reason. But, in terms of the quote that you used, I do think that Frye was emphasizing intertextuality in terms of ALL of an author's works, but he is just naming that as an easy and logical starting point.

Posted by: Lorin at March 15, 2007 2:44 PM
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