JR Lohr : My in class presentation

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I plan to present on Keesey's Chapter 4 Introduction.  In this section, Keesey discusses in general terms the use of Mimetic Criticism, it's strong points as well as drawbacks.  For my presentation I used this website:  http://wwww.ksu.edu.sa/colleges/art/eng/461-Eng/Literary%20Criticism%20Map.htm  which gives a good definition Mimetic Criticism.  This website is part of KSU Department of English.

Some of the Quotes I plan on discussing are as follows:

1.  "Mimesis...explains how the artist must look past the accidents, the individual peculiarities, to discover the essential or characteristic form that underlies them.  The artist gives us the essence of a character, a situation, an action." (Keesey 208).

     I chose this quote because I do believe that art of any sort works in many generalities.  In order to function this is almost a necessity.  If an author presents us with a scene that is incredibly foreign to what we are accustomed too, it is hard to find relations, but if this scene is tempered by the generalities of human emotion, among other things, we find a common ground upon which all viewers of this work can meet.

2.  "Newton's apple and Humpty - Dumpty obey the same 'laws,' whcih can be stated in compact formulas to describe an infinite number of specific cases.  But, replies the literary critic, such description is too general.  It is too abstract to describe the4 heft and the feel, the smell and sound and sight, of the world as we actually experience it" (Keesey 209).

     I liked this one alot, but in truth generalities are what artists use to attempt to make their messages universal.  For instance, if a poet speaks of first love, they are describing something that most people can recognize and remember.  Even if they have only experience love from a distance, and never had that love returned to them.  In another example, in science, H2O will always be water, but this does not do when it comes to describing a waterfalls power.  It doesn't describe the beauty of the rainbow formed by the light reflecting thropugh the mist, nor any number of other sensory observations.

3.  "How does the poem, in conforming to a reality already known, give us knowledge?  Or, if the reality is not already known, how can we be sure the poem does in fact conform to it?" (Keesey 210)

     In this question we have a wide range of possible answers.  For the first question, I don't believe that it is so much knowledge of the reality that we gain, as much as a realization of what we have been overlooking.  When was the last time we sat and watched a sunset?  When was the last time we laid down in the grass and looked for shapes in the clouds?  These are just a few instances in which poetry can redirect our attention to those mundane things in which so much beauty can be found.

     As for the second question, I am not certain that the reality being described needs to be something that the poem conforms too.  Is a love story any less enticing if it takes place in a space shuttle, rather than in Victorian Times?  Do we really need to understand the reality in order to understand the emotions and context?

One should try to remember that it seems that Mimetic Criticism deals with generalities, not specifics.  This is why I find it so fascinating.  We have been trying all term to find an approach that will lead us to the "Truth" of a text.  I don't believe that a truth exists.  By searching for generalities we are allowing for more discussion, this discussion then leads to more ideas.  I find it hard to believe that we as readers, would have anything to discuss if texts were written in such a way as to negate multiple readings.


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