FOURTH ESSAY: Rhetorical Criticism: Theory of Genres


Introduction

The present book employs a diagrammatic framework that has been used in poetics ever since Plato's time. This is the division of "the good" into three main areas, of which the world of art, beauty, feeling, and taste is the central one, and is flanked by two other worlds. One is the world of social action and events, the other the world of individual thought and ideas. Reading from left to right, this threefold structure divides human faculties into will, feeling, and reason. It divides the mental constructs which these faculties produce into history, art, and science and philosophy. It divides the ideals which form compulsions or obligations on these faculties into law, beauty, and truth. Poe gives his version of the diagram (right to left) as Pure Intellect, Taste, and the Moral Sense. "I place Taste in the middle," said Poe, "because it is just this position which in the mind it occupies." Until someone can refute this admirable explanation, we shall retain the traditional structure. True, we have hinted that there may be another way of looking at it in which the middle world is not simply one of three but a trinity containing them all. But as yet the simpler conception has by no means exhausted its usefulness for us.

Similarly, we have portrayed the poetic symbol as intermediate between event and idea, example and precept, ritual and dream, and have finally displayed it as Aristotle's ethos, human nature and the human situation, between and made up of mythos and dianoia, which are verbal imitations of action and thought respectively. There is however still another aspect of the same diagram. The world of social action and event, the world of time and process, has a particularly close association with the ear. The ear listens, and the ear translates what it hears into practical conduct. The world of individual thought and idea has a correspondingly close association with the eye, and nearly all our expressions for thought, from the Greek theoria down, are connected with visual metaphors. Further, not only does art as a whole seem to be central to events and ideas, but literature seems in a way to be central to the arts. [243] It appeals to the ear, and so partakes of the nature of music, but music is a much more concentrated art of the ear and of the imaginative perception of time. Literature appeals to at least the inner eye, and so partakes of the nature of the plastic arts, but the plastic arts, especially painting, are much more concentrated on the eye and on the spatial world. We notice that Aristotle gives a list of six elements of poetry, three of which, mythos, ethos and dianoia, we have been considering. The other three, melos, lexis, and opsis (spectacle) , deal with this second aspect of the same diagram. Considered as a verbal structure, literature presents a lexis which combines two other elements: melos, an element analogous to or otherwise connected with music, and opsis, which has a similar connection with the plastic arts. The word lexis itself may be translated "diction" when we are thinking of it as a narrative sequence of sounds caught by the ear, and as "imagery" when we are thinking of it as forming a simultaneous pattern of meaning apprehended in an act of mental "vision." This second or rhetorical aspect of literature we must now turn to examine. It is an aspect which returns us to the "literal" level of narrative and meaning, the context that Ezra Pound has in mind when he speaks of the three qualities of poetic creation as melopoeia, logopoeia, and phanopoeia. The terms musical and pictorial are often employed figuratively in literary criticism, and we shall attempt among other things to see how much genuine sense they make as critical terms.

The word "rhetoric" reminds us of yet another triad: the traditional division of studies based on words into a "trivium" of grammar, rhetoric, and logic. While grammar and logic have become the names of specific sciences, they also retain something of a more general connection with the narrative and significant aspects respectively of all verbal structures. As grammar may be called the art of ordering words, there is a sense -- a literal sense -- in which grammar and narrative are the same thing; as logic may be called the art of producing meaning, there is a sense in which logic and meaning are the same thing. The second part of this sentence is more traditional, and hence more familiar. There is no historical justification for the first part, as the art of constructing narrative ("invention," "disposition," and the like) has traditionally formed a part of rhetoric. Let us, however, in spite of history, begin with an association between narrative and grammar, grammar being understood primarily as syntax or getting words in the right (narrative) order, and between logic [244] and meaning, logic being understood primarily as words arranged in a pattern with significance. Grammar is the linguistic aspect of a verbal structure; logic is the "sense" which is the permanent common factor in translation.

What we have been calling assertive, descriptive, or factual writing tends to be, or attempts to be, a direct union of grammar and logic. An argument cannot be logically correct unless it is verbally correct, the right words chosen and the proper syntactical relations among them established. Nor does a verbal narrative communicate anything to a reader unless it has continuous significance. In assertive writing, therefore, there seems to be little place for any such middle term as rhetoric, and in fact we often find that among philosophers, scientists, jurists, critics, historians, and theologians, rhetoric is looked upon with some distrust.

Rhetoric has from the beginning meant two things: ornamental speech and persuasive speech. These two things seem psychologically opposed to each other, as the desire to ornament is essentially disinterested, and the desire to persuade essentially the reverse. In fact ornamental rhetoric is inseparable from literature itself, or what we have called the hypothetical verbal structure which exists for its own sake. Persuasive rhetoric is applied literature, or the use of literary art to reinforce the power of argument. Ornamental rhetoric acts on its hearers statically, leading them to admire its own beauty or wit; persuasive rhetoric tries to lead them kinetically toward a course of action. One articulates emotion; the other manipulates it. And whatever we decide about the ultimate literary status of oratory, there seems little doubt that ornamental rhetoric is the lexis or verbal texture of poetry. Aristotle remarks, when he comes to lexis in the Poetics, that that subject belongs more properly to rhetoric. We may, then, adopt the following tentative postulate: that if the direct union of grammar and logic is characteristic of non-literary verbal structures, literature may be described as the rhetorical organization of grammar and logic. Most of the features characteristic of literary form, such as rhyme, alliteration, metre, antithetical balance, the use of exempla, are also rhetorical schemata.

The psychology of creation is not our theme, but it must happen very rarely that a writer sits down to write without any notion of what he proposes to produce. In the poet's mind, then, some kind of controlling and coordinating power, what Coleridge called the [245] "initiative," establishes itself very early, gradually assimilates every thing to itself, and finally reveals itself to be the containing form of the work. This initiative is clearly not a unit but a complex of factors. The theme is one such factor; the sense of the unity of mood which makes certain images appropriate and others not is another. If what is produced is to be a poem in a regular metre, the metre will be a third: if not, some other integrating rhythm will be present. We remarked earlier, too, that the poet's intention to produce a poem normally includes the genre, the intention of producing a specific kind of verbal structure. The poet thus is incessantly deciding that certain things, whether they can be critically accounted for by himself or not, belong in his structure, and that what he cuts out in revising does not, though it may be good enough in itself to belong somewhere else. But as the structure is complex, so these decisions relate to a variety of poetic elements, or a group of initiatives. Of these, theme and the choice of images engaged our attention in the previous essay; genre and the integrating rhythm concern us here.

We complained in our introduction that the theory of genres was an undeveloped subject in criticism. We have the three generic terms drama, epic, and lyric, derived from the Greeks, but we use the latter two chiefly as jargon or trade slang for long and short (or shorter) poems respectively. The middle-sized poem does not even have a jargon term to describe it, and any long poem gets to be called an epic, especially if it is divided into a dozen or so parts, like Browning's Ring and the Book. This poem takes a dramatic structure, a triangle of jealous husband, patient wife, and chivalrous lover involved in a murder trial with courtroom and death-house scenes, and works it all out through the soliloquies of the characters. It is an astounding tour de force, but we can fully appreciate this only when we see it as a generic experiment in drama, a drama turned inside out, as it were. Similarly, we call Shelley's Ode to the West Wind a lyric, perhaps because it is a lyric; if we hesitate to call Epipsychidion a lyric, and have no idea what it is, we can always call it the product of an essentially lyrical genius. It is shorter than the Iliad, and there's an end of it.

However, the origin of the words drama, epic, and lyric suggests that the central principle of genre is simple enough. The basis of generic distinctions in literature appears to be the radical of [246] presentation. Words may be acted in front of a spectator; they may be spoken in front of a listener; they may be sung or chanted; or they may be written for a reader. Criticism, we note resignedly in passing, has no word for the individual member of an author's audience, and the word "audience" itself does not really cover all genres, as it is slightly illogical to describe the readers of a book as an audience. The basis of generic criticism in any case is rhetorical, in the sense that the genre is determined by the conditions established between the poet and his public.

We have to speak of the radical of presentation if the distinctions of acted, spoken, and written word are to mean anything in the age of the printing press. One may print a lyric or read a novel aloud, but such incidental changes are not enough in themselves to alter the genre. For all the loving care that is rightfully expended on the printed texts of Shakespeare's plays, they are still radically acting scripts, and belong to the genre of drama. If a Romantic poet gives his poem a dramatic form, he may not expect or even want any stage representation; he may think entirely in terms of print and readers; he may even believe, like many Romantics, that the stage drama is an impure form because of the limitations it puts on individual expression. Yet the poem is still being referred back to some kind of theatre, however much of a castle in the air. A novel is written, but when Conrad employs a narrator to help him tell his story, the genre of the written word is being assimilated to that of the spoken one.

The question of how we are to classify such a novel is less important than the recognition of the fact that two different radicals of presentation exist in it. It might be thought simpler, instead of using the term radical, to say that the generic distinctions are among the ways in which literary works are ideally presented, whatever the actualities are. But Milton, for example, seems to have no ideal of reciter and audience in mind for Paradise Lost; he seems content to leave it, in practice, a poem to be read in a book. When he uses the convention of invocation, thus bringing the poem into the genre of the spoken word, the significance of the convention is to indicate what tradition his work primarily belongs to and what its closest affinities are with. The purpose of criticism by genres is not so much to classify as to clarify such traditions and affinities, thereby bringing out a large number of literary relationships that would [247] not be noticed as long as there were no context established for them.

The genre of the spoken word and the listener is very difficult to describe in English, but part of it is what the Greeks meant by the phrase ta epe, poems intended to be recited, not necessarily epics of the conventional jumbo size. Such "epic" material does not have to be in metre, as the prose tale and the prose oration are important spoken forms. The difference between metre and prose is evidently not in itself a generic difference, as the example of drama shows, though it tends to become one. In this essay I use the word "epos" to describe works in which the radical of presentation is oral address, keeping the word epic for its customary use as the name of the form of the Iliad, Odyssey, Aeneid, and Paradise Lost. Epos thus takes in all literature, in verse or prose, which makes some attempt to preserve the convention of recitation and a listening audience.

The Greeks gave us the names of three of our four genres: they did not give us a word for the genre that addresses a reader through a book, and naturally we have not invented one of our own. The nearest to it is "history," but this word, in spite of Tom Jones, has gone outside literature, and the Latin "scripture" is too specialized in meaning. As I have to have some word, I shall make an arbitrary choice of "fiction" to describe the genre of the printed page. I know that I used this word in the first essay in a different context, but it seems better to compromise with the present confused terminology than to increase the difficulties of this book by introducing too many new terms. The analogy of the keyboard in music may illustrate the difference between fiction and other genres which for practical purposes exist in books. A book, like a keyboard, is a mechanical device for bringing an entire artistic structure under the interpretive control of a single person. But just as it is possible to distinguish genuine piano music from the piano score of an opera or symphony, so we may distinguish genuine "book literature" from books containing the reduced textual scores of recited or acted pieces.

The connection between a speaking poet and a listening audience, which may be actual in Homer or Chaucer, soon becomes increasingly theoretical, and as it does so epos passes insensibly into fiction. One may even suggest, not quite seriously, that the legendary figure of the blind bard, which is used so effectively by Milton, [248] indicates that the drift toward an unseen audience sets in very early. But whenever the same material does duty for both genres, the distinction between the genres becomes immediately apparent. The chief distinction, though not a simple one of length, is involved with the fact that epos is episodic and fiction continuous. The novels of Dickens are, as books, fiction; as serial publications in a magazine designed for family reading, they are still fundamentally fiction, though closer to epos. But when Dickens began to give readings from his own works, the genre changed wholly to epos; the emphasis was then thrown on immediacy of effect before a visible audience.

In drama, the hypothetical or internal characters of the story confront the audience directly, hence the drama is marked by the concealment of the author from his audience. In very spectacular drama, such as we get in many movies, the author is of relatively little importance. Drama, like music, is an ensemble performance for an audience, and music and drama are most likely to flourish in a society with a strong consciousness of itself as a society, like Elizabethan England. When a society becomes individualized and competitive, like Victorian England, music and drama suffer accordingly, and the written word almost monopolizes literature. In epos, the author confronts his audience directly, and the hypothetical characters of his story are concealed. The author is still theoretically there when he is being represented by a rhapsode or minstrel, for the latter speaks as the poet, not as a character in the poem. In written literature both the author and his characters are concealed from the reader.

The fourth possible arrangement, the concealment of the poet's audience from the poet, is presented in the lyric. There is, as usual, no word for the audience of the lyric: what is wanted is something analogous to "chorus" which does not suggest simultaneous presence or dramatic context. The lyric is, to go back to Mill's aphorism referred to at the beginning of this book, preeminently the utterance that is overheard. The lyric poet normally pretends to be talking to himself or to someone else: a spirit of nature, a Muse (note the distinction from epos, where the Muse speaks through the poet), a personal friend, a lover, a god, a personified abstraction, or a natural object. The lyric is, as Stephen Dedalus says in Joyce's Portrait, the poet presenting the image in relation to himself: it is to epos, rhetorically, as prayer is to sermon. The radical of [249] presentation in the lyric is the hypothetical form of what in religion is called the "I-Thou" relationship. The poet, so to speak, turns his back on his listeners, though he may speak for them, and though they may repeat some of his words after him.

Epos and fiction make up the central area of literature, and are flanked by the drama on one side and by the lyric on the other. Drama has a peculiarly intimate connection with ritual, and lyric with dream or vision, the individual communing with himself. We said at the beginning of this book that there is no such thing as direct address in literature, but direct address is natural communication, and literature may imitate it as it may imitate anything else in nature. In epos, where the poet faces his audience, we have a mimesis of direct address. Epos and fiction first take the form of scripture and myth, then of traditional tales, then of narrative and didactic poetry, including the epic proper, and of oratorical prose, then of novels and other written forms. As we progress historically through the five modes, fiction increasingly overshadows epos, and as it does, the mimesis of direct address changes to a mimesis of assertive writing. This in its turn, with the extremes of documentary or didactic prose, becomes actual assertion, and so passes out of literature.

The lyric is an internal mimesis of sound and imagery, and stands opposite the external mimesis, or outward representation of sound and imagery, which is drama. Both forms avoid the mimesis of direct address. The characters in a play talk to each other, and are theoretically talking to themselves in an aside or soliloquy. Even if they are conscious of an audience, they are not speaking for the poet, except in special cases like the parabasis of Old Comedy or the prologues and epilogues of the rococo theatre, where there is an actual generic change from drama to epos. In Bernard Shaw the comic parabasis is transferred from the middle of the play to a separate prose preface, which is a change from drama to fiction.

In epos some kind of comparatively regular metre tends to predominate: even oratorical prose shows many metrical features, both in its syntax and in its punctuation. In fiction prose tends to predominate, because only prose has the continuous rhythm appropriate for the continuous form of the book. Drama has no controlling rhythm peculiar to itself, but it is most closely related to epos in the earlier modes and to fiction in the later ones. In the lyric a rhythm which is poetic but not necessarily metrical tends to [250] predominate. We proceed to examine each genre in turn with a view to discovering what its chief features are. As in what immediately follows we are largely concerned with diction and linguistic elements, we must limit our survey mainly to a specific language, which will be English: this means that a good deal of what we say will be true only of English, but it is hoped that the main principles can be adapted to other languages as well.

The Rhythm of Recurrence: Epos

The regular pulsating metre that traditionally distinguishes verse from prose tends to become the organizing rhythm in epos or extended oratorical forms. Metre is an aspect of recurrence, and the two words for recurrence, rhythm and pattern, show that recurrence is a structural principle of all art, whether temporal or spatial in its primary impact. Besides metre itself, quantity and accent (or stress) are elements in poetic recurrence, though quantity is not an element of regular recurrence in modern English, except in experiments in which the poet has to make up his own rules as he goes along. The relation of accent or stress to metre needs, perhaps, a different kind of explanation from what is usually given it.

A four-stress line seems to be inherent in the structure of the English language. It is the prevailing rhythm of the earlier poetry, though it changes its scheme from alliteration to rhyme in Middle English; it is the common rhythm of popular poetry in all periods, of ballads and of most nursery rhymes. In the ballad, the eight-six-eight-six quatrain is a continuous four-beat line, with a "rest" at the end of every other line. This principle of the rest, or a beat coming at a point of actual silence, was already established in Old English. The iambic pentameter provides a field of syncopation in which stress and metre can to some extent neutralize one an other. If we read many iambic pentameters "naturally," giving the important words the heavy accent that they do have in spoken English, the old four-stress line stands out in clear relief against its metrical background. Thus:

     To bé, or nót to be: thát is the quéstion.
     Whéther 'tis nóbler in the mínd to súffer
     The slíngs and árrows of outrágeous fórtune,
     Or táke up árms against a séa of tróubles ... [251]

     Of mán's fírst disobédience, and the frúit
     Of that forbídden trée, whose mórtal táste
     Brought déath into the wórld and áll our wóe,
     With lóss of Éden, till one gréater Mán
     Restóre us, and regáin the blíssful séat ...

The stopped couplet of Dryden and Pope, as we should expect, has a higher percentage of five-stress lines, but any rhythmical license such as a feminine caesura is likely to bring back the old beat:

     Forgét their hátred, and consént to féar. (Waller)

     Nor héll a fúry, like a wóman scórn'd. (Congreve)

     A líttle leárning is a dángerous thíng. (Pope)

Any period of metrical uncertainty or transition will illustrate the native strength of the four-stress line. After the death of Chaucer and the change from middle to modern English, we find ourselves in the strange metrical world of Lydgate, in which we are strongly tempted to apply to Lydgate himself what the Minstrel says to Death in the Danse Macabre:

     This newe daunce / is to me so straunge
     Wonder dyverse / and passyngli contrarie
     The dredful fotynge / doth so ofte chaunge
     And the mesures / so ofte sithes varie.

But there is a dance there all the same: let us look at the preceding stanza, Death's speech to the Minstrel:


                   O thow minstral / that cannest so note & pype

                   Un-to folkes / for to do plesaunce

                   By the right honde (anoone) I shal the gripe

                   With these other / to go vp-on my daunce
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                   Ther is no scape / nowther a-voydaunce

                   On no side / to contrarie my sentence

                   For yn musik / be crafte & accordaunce

                   Who maister is / show his science.

This stanza will give us a bad time if we try to analyze it as a pentameter stanza of Chaucer's ABC type: the last line, for instance, is not a pentameter at all. Read as a continuous four-beat line, it is fairly simple; and such a reading will bring out what the prosodic analysis could never do, the grotesque, leaping-skeleton lilt of the voice of Death ending in the measured irony of the last line. I do not claim to know the details of Lydgate's prosody, what e's he might have preferred to pronounce or elide or what foreign words he might have accented differently. It is possible that neither Lydgate nor the fifteenth-century reader was entirely clear on all such points either; but a line with four main stresses and a variable number of syllables between the stresses is the obvious device for getting over such problems, as a good deal can be left to the individual reader's choice. In any case I am not indicating how the passage is to be read so much as how it may most easily be scanned: as with metrical scansion, every reader will make his own modification of the pattern.

The "Skeltonic" line is also usually a four-beat line: the spirited prelude to Philip Sparowe is a quick-march rhythm, with more rests and more accented beats coming close together than we found in Lydgate:


                                       Placebo,

                                       Who is there, who?
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                                       Di le xi,

                                       Dame Margery;

                                       Fa, re, my, my,

                                       Wherefore and why, why?

                                       For the sowle of Philip Sparowe,

                                       That was late slayn at Carowe.

In short, the "new principle" on which Coleridge constructed Christabel was about as new as principles usually are in literature. It is clear too that the Finnish inspiration of Hiawatha was no more fundamentally exotic than such inspirations usually are. Hiawatha fits the four-stress pattern of English very snugly, which explains perhaps why it is one of the easiest poems in the language to parody. Meredith's Love in the Valley, also, is most easily scanned as a four-stress line very similar in its rhythmical make-up to Lydgate's:


                     Under yonder beech-tree single on the green-sward

                     Couched with her arms behind her golden head,

                     Knees and tresses folded to slip and ripple idly,
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                     Lies my young love sleeping in the shade.

These examples have, perhaps, begun to illustrate already some thing of what the word "musical," Aristotle's melos, really means as a term in modern literary criticism. In the music contemporary with English poetry since Lydgate's time, we have had almost uniformly a stress accent, the stresses marking rhythmical units (measures) within which a variable number of notes is permitted. When in poetry we have a predominating stress accent and a variable number of syllables between two stresses (usually four stresses to a line, corresponding to "common time" in music), we have musical poetry, that is, poetry which resembles in its structure the music contemporary with it. We are speaking now of epos or extended poetry in a continuous metre: the music most closely analogous to such poetry is music in its more extended instrumental forms, in which the organizing rhythm has descended more directly from dance than from song.

This technical use of the word musical is very different from the sentimental fashion of calling any poetry musical if it sounds nice. In practice the technical and the sentimental uses are often directly opposed, as the sentimental term would be applied to, for example, Tennyson, and withdrawn from, for example, Browning. Yet if we ask the external but relevant question: Which of these two poets knew more about music, and was a priori more likely to be influenced by it? the answer is certainly not Tennyson. Here is a passage from Tennyson's Oenone:

     O mother Ida, many-fountain'd Ida,
     Dear mother Ida, harken ere I die.
     I waited underneath the dawning hills,
     Aloft the mountain lawn was dewy-dark,
     And dewy dark aloft the mountain pine:
Beautiful Paris, evil-hearted Paris,
     Leading a jet-black goat white-horn'd, white-hooved,
     Came up from reedy Simois all alone.

And here is a passage from Browning's The Flight of the Duchess:

     I could favour you with sundry touches
     Of the paint-smutches with which the Duchess [255]
     Heightened the mellowness of her cheek's yellowness
     (To get on faster) until at last her
     Cheek grew to be one master-plaster
     Of mucus and fucus from mere use of ceruse:
     In short, she grew from scalp to udder
     Just the object to make you shudder.

In the Browning passage speed is a positive factor: one has the sense of a metronome beat. Tennyson has tried to minimize the sense of movement; his passage should be read slowly and with much dwelling on the vowels. Both passages repeat sounds obtrusively, but the repetitions in Tennyson are there to slow down the advance of ideas, to compel the rhythm to return on itself, and to elaborate what is essentially a pattern of sound. In Browning the rhymes sharpen the accentuation of the beat and help to build up a cumulative rhythm. The speed and the sharp accent in Browning's poetry are musical features in it, and it is difficult to see what the words in parentheses can be except a musical direction, an English translation of più mosso.

Such phrases as "smooth musical flow" or "harsh unmusical diction" belong to the sentimental use of the word musical, and are perhaps derived from the fact that the word "harmony" in ordinary English, apart from music, means a stable and permanent relationship. In this figurative sense of the word harmony, music is not a sequence of harmonies at all, but a sequence of discords ending in a harmony, the only stable and permanent "harmony" in music being the final resolving tonic chord. It is more likely to be the harsh, rugged, dissonant poem (assuming of course some technical competence in the poet) that will show in poetry the tension and the driving accented impetus of music. When we find a careful balancing of vowels and consonants and a dreamy sensuous flow of sound, we are probably dealing with an unmusical poet. Pope, Keats, and Tennyson are all unmusical. This term, I need hardly observe, is not pejorative: The Rape of the Lock is unmusical, just as it is a bad example of blank verse, because it is something else altogether. When we find sharp barking accents, crabbed and obscure language, mouthfuls of consonants, and long lumbering polysyllables, we are probably dealing with melos, or poetry which shows an analogy to music, if not an actual influence from it.

The musical diction is better fitted for the grotesque and [256] horrible, or for invective and abuse. It is congenial to a gnarled intellectualism of the so-called "metaphysical" type. It is irregular in metre (because of the syncopation against stress), leans heavily on enjambement, and employs a long cumulative rhythm sweeping the lines up into larger rhythmical units such as the paragraph. The fact that Shakespeare shows an increasing use of melos as he goes on is the principle employed for dating his plays on internal evidence. When Milton says that rhymed heroic verse is "of no true musical delight," because musical poetry must have "the sense variously drawn out from one verse into another," he is using the word musical in its technical sense. When Samuel Johnson speaks of "the old manner of continuing the sense ungracefully from verse to verse," he is speaking from his own consistently anti-musical point of view. The Heretic's Tragedy is a musical poem; Thyrsis is not. The Jolly Beggars is; the Ode on a Grecian Urn is not. Pope's Messiah is not musical, but Smart's Song to David, with its pounding thematic words and the fortissimo explosion of its coda, is a musical tour de force. Crashaw's hymns and Cowley's Pindarics are musical, with their fluent, variable, prevailingly four-stress lines and their relentless pushing enjambement; Herbert's stanzaic poems and Gray's Pindarics are not. Skelton, Wyatt, and Dunbar are musical; Gavin Douglas and Surrey are not. Alliterative verse is usually accentual and musical; elaborate stanza forms usually are not. The use of melos in poetry does not, of course, necessarily imply any technical knowledge of music on the part of the poet, but it often goes with it. Such a technically musical poem as Crashaw's Musicks Duell (a Baroque aria with instrumental accompaniment) is an example.

And occasionally it is at least conceivable that some exposure to music would have guided a tendency to melos in verse. One feels that Southey, for instance, never quite clarified his remarkable experiments in epos rhythm: if so, it may be instructive to set be side Milton's incisive list of the musical qualities of poetry the stammer and mumble of the preface to Thalaba: "I do not wish the improvisatore tune; -- but something that denotes the sense of harmony, something like the accent of feeling, -- like the tone which every poet necessarily gives to poetry." The conception of melos, too, may throw more light on what Wordsworth was trying to do in Peter Bell and The Idiot Boy. Wordsworth's remarks about metre as the source of excitement in verse apply more particularly to accent, in which the physical pulsation of the dance is present. What metre in itself gives is rather the pleasure of seeing a relatively predictable pattern filling up with the inevitably felicitous words. Pope's "What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed" is a metrical conception: as we listen to his couplets, we have a sense of fulfilled expectation which is the opposite of obviousness. The greater violence in the imagery of Donne's satires is appropriate to the greater energy of a more accentually-conceived rhythm.

If we turn to the contrasting group of what we have called the unmusical poets, Spenser, Pope, Keats, Tennyson, we find slower and more resonant rhythms. Four-stress lines are much rarer in The Faerie Queene than in Paradise Lost, and the opposite tendency is marked by the recurrent Alexandrine. The practice of this group of poets is finely expressed by Johnson in his anti-musical dictum: "The musick of the English heroic line strikes the ear so faintly that it is easily lost, unless all the syllables of every line co-operate together; this co-operation can be obtained only by the preservation of every verse unmingled with another, as a distinct system of sounds." The implication is that as the only musical elements in poetry that Johnson is considering have been lost for good with the loss of pitch accent and quantity, English poetry should think in terms of sound-pattern rather than cumulative rhythm.

The relations between poetry and the visual arts are perhaps more far-fetched than those between poetry and music. Unmusical poets are often "pictorial" in a general sense: they frequently use their more meditative rhythms to build up, detail by detail, a static picture, as in the careful description of the nude Venus in Oenone or in the elaborate tapestry-like pageants in The Faerie Queene. Where we do have something really analogous to opsis, however, is in the rhetorical device known as imitative harmony or onomatopoeia, as described and exemplified by Pope in the Essay on Criticism:

     'Tis not enough no harshness gives offence,
     The sound must seem an echo to the sense ...
     When Ajax strives some rock's vast weight to throw,
     The line too labours, and the words move slow;
     Not so, when swift Camilla scours the plain,
     Flies o'er th' unbending com, and skims along the main.
[258]
This device is easy to recognize, and has been remarked on ever since Aristotle, in his treatise on rhetoric, illustrated in Homer's line about the stone of Sisyphus the sound of a large stone rolling downhill:

Pope's translation renders this line "Thunders impetuous down, and smoaks along the ground," and won for once the approval of Johnson, Johnson being in general very doubtful about imitative harmony. He ridicules it in one of the Idler papers in the figure of Dick Minim the critic, who points out that the words bubble and trouble cause "a momentary inflation of the cheeks by the retention of the breath, which is afterwards forcibly emitted, as in the practice of blowing bubbles." All that the ridicule really illustrates, however, is that onomatopoeia is a linguistic as well as a poetic tendency, and that the poet takes advantage of whatever his language offers as a matter of course. The English language has many excellent sound-effects, though it has lost a few: in Old English The Wanderer can express cold weather as a modern poem cannot:

     Hreosan hrim ond snaw hagle gemenged

But because such devices are linguistic as well as literary, they are continually being recreated in colloquial speech. Colloquial speech, when good, is frequently called "picturesque" or "colorful," both words being pictorial metaphors. The narrative passages of Huckleberry Finn have an imitative flexibility about them that the narrative passages of Tom Sawyer, for instance, hardly attain to:

 ... Then there was a racket of ripping and tearing and smashing, and down she goes, and the front wall of the crowd begins to roll in like a wave.

The most remarkably sustained mastery of verbal opsis in English, perhaps, is exhibited in The Faerie Queene, which we have to read with a special kind of attention, an ability to catch visualization through sound. Thus in

     The Eugh obedient to the bender's will,

the line has a number of weak syllables in the middle that makes it sag out in a bow shape. When Una goes astray the rhythm goes astray with her: [259]

     And Una wandring farre in woods and forrests ...

Part of the effect of this line is due to the weak rhyme of "forrests" against "guests." When the subject is wreckage, the rhythm is wrecked with the same kind of disappointment-rhyme:

     For else my feeble vessell crazd, and crackt
     Through thy strong buffets and outrageous blowes,
     Cannot endure, but needs it must be wrackt
     On the rough rocks, or on the sandy shallowes.

When Florimell finds her way difficult to scan, so does the reader:

     Through the tops of the high trees she did descry ...

When the subject is harmony in music, we have an identical rhyme on one of the few appropriate words in the language:

     To th' instruments diuine respondence meet:
     The siluer sounding instruments did meet ...

When the subject is a "perillous Bridge," we have:

     Streight was the passage like a ploughed ridge,
     That if two met, the one mote needes fall ouer the lidge.

Renaissance readers had been put on the alert for such effects by their school training in rhetoric: a harmless looking line from Spenser's January, for instance, is promptly sandbagged by E. K. as "a prety Epanorthosis ... and withall a Paronomasia." The source of Pope's passage quoted above is Vida's Art of Poetry, which is earlier than Spenser. After Spenser the poet who showed the most consistent or persistent interest in imitative harmony was Cowley, who uses it so freely in Davideis as to draw a hoarse growl from Johnson that he saw no reason why a pine tree should be taller in Alexandrines than in pentameters. Some of Cowley's effects however are interesting enough, such as his use of the oracular hemistich. Here, for instance, three feet of a pentameter line are assigned to silent contemplation:

     O who shall tell, who shall describe thy Throne,
     Thou great Three-One?

The first line in the passage quoted from Pope ("Tis not enough no harshness gives offence") implies that a sharp discord or apparent bungle in the writing may often be interpreted as imitative [260] decorum. Pope uses such intentional discords in the same poem when he gives horrible examples of practices he disapproves of, and Addison's discussion of the passage in Spectator 253 shows how lively an interest such devices still aroused. Here, for example, is the way that Pope describes constipated genius:

     And strains, from hard-bound brains, eight lines a year.

Spenser, naturally, employs the same device constantly. A tasteless misuse of alliteration marks a speaker (Braggadocchio) as a liar and hypocrite:

     But minds of mortall men are muchell mard,
     And mou'd amisse with massie mucks vnmeet regard.

and when the false Duessa tempts St. George, the grammar, rhythm, and assonance could hardly be worse: the worthy knight's ear should have warned him that all was not well:

     Yet thus perforce he bids me do, or die.
     Die is my dew; yet rew my wretched state
     You ...

Certain imitative devices become standardized in every language, and most of them in English are too familiar to need recapitulation here: beheaded lines increase speed, trochaic rhythms suggest falling movement, and so on. The native stock of English words consists largely of monosyllables, and a monosyllable always demands a separate accent, however slight. Hence long Latin words, if skilfully used, have the rhythmical function of lightening the metre, in contrast to the sodden unrhythmical roar that results "When ten low words oft creep in one dull line." A by-product of this latter phenomenon in English is more useful: the so-called broken-backed line with a spondee in the middle has since Old English times (when it was Sievers' type C) been most effective for suggesting the ominous and foreboding:

     Thy wishes then dare not be told. (Wyatt)

     Depending from on high, dreadful to sight. (Spenser)

     Which tasted works knowledge of good and evil. (Milton )

Imitative harmony may of course be employed occasionally in any form of writing, but as a continuous effect it seems to adhere [261] most naturally to epos in verse, where it takes the form of variants from a sustained normal pattern. Dramatists and prose writers use it very sparingly: in Shakespeare it occurs only for some definite reason, as when Lear calls to the storm on the heath in the accents of the storm itself. In lyrics its introduction has the effect of a tour de force which absorbs most of the interest and turns the poem into an epigram. An example is the brilliant little fourteenth-century poem The Blacksmiths, which uses the alliterative line to represent hammering:

     Swarte smekyd smethes smateryd wyth smoke
     Dryue me to deth wyth den of here dyntes ...

Recurrently in the history of rhetoric some theory of a "natural" relation between sound and sense turns up. It is unlikely that there is any such natural relation, but that there is an onomatopoeic element in language which is developed and exploited by the poet is obvious enough. It is simpler to think rather of imitative harmony as a special application of a rhetorical feature which is analogous to Classical quantity, but would be better described as "quality": the patterns of assonance made by vowels and consonants. It is not difficult to distinguish epos with a continuous "quality" or sound-pattern, such as Hyperion, from the epos of, say, Red Cotton Nightcap Country, where the sound exists primarily for the sake of the sense, and is consequently felt to be closer to prose. We have an indication that there is no consistent sound-pattern when there are two equally satisfactory versions of the same poem differing in texture, as in the Prologue to Chaucer's Legend of Good Women.

The main reason for the confused use of the term musical in literary criticism is that when critics think of music in poetry, they seldom think of the actual music contemporary with the poetry they are discussing, with its stress accent and dance rhythm, but of the (very largely unknown) structure of Classical music, which was presumably closer to song and to pitch accent. We have stressed imitative harmony because it illustrates the principle that while in Classical poetry sound-pattern or quantity, being an element of recurrence, is part of the melos of the poetry, it is part of the opsis in ours. [262]

The Rhythm of Continuity: Prose

In every poem we can hear at least two distinct rhythms. One is the recurring rhythm, which we have shown to be a complex of accent, metre, and sound-pattern. The other is the semantic rhythm of sense, or what is usually felt to be the prose rhythm. Exaggerating the former, in speaking poetry aloud, will produce sing-song; exaggerating the latter will produce "insanely pompous prose," to quote a remark of Bernard Shaw on the speaking of Shakespeare in his day. We have verse epos when the recurrent rhythm is the primary or organizing one, and prose when the semantic rhythm is primary. Literary prose results from the use within literature of the form used for discursive or assertive writing. Treatises in verse, however "unpoetical," are invariably classified as literary.

The sixteenth century was a period of experiment, mainly in verse epos or running rhythm, to use Hopkins's term. The influence of melos developed blank verse; the influence of opsis the Spenserian stanza and Drayton's hexameter (the fact that Polyolbion is a descriptive poem may account for Drayton's choice of this metre). As in all experimental periods, there were some comparative failures, such as poulterer's measure, which had a vogue and were then dropped. Prose epos, that is, prose which is conceived primarily as oratorical prose, reflects the cultural domination of epos: it is normally thought of as a subsidiary form of spoken expression, of which the highest form is verse. It is assigned to the low or at best the middle style, such metaphors as Milton's "sitting here be low in the cool element of prose" being typical. Hence any attempt to give literary dignity to prose is likely to give it some of the characteristics of verse.

Jeremy Bentham is reputed to have distinguished prose from verse by the fact that in prose all the lines run to the end of the page. Like many simple-minded observations, this has a truth that the myopia of knowledgeability is more apt to overlook. The rhythm of prose is continuous, not recurrent, and the fact is symbolized by the purely mechanical breaking of prose lines on a printed page. Of course every prose writer knows that the writing of prose is not as mechanical as the printing of it, and that it is possible for printing to injure or even spoil the rhythm of a sentence by putting an emphatic word at the end of a line instead of at the beginning of the next one, by hyphenating a strongly stressed word, and so on. [263] But the prose writer is largely the prisoner of his luck, unless he is willing to make the kind of revolt against luck illustrated by Mallarmés Coup des Dés. The characteristics of Renaissance oratorical prose, with the many recurrent features in its rhythm, are often concealed by the continuous printing of typography. The antiphonal chant in which the character books are written is a good example.

     He distastes religion as a sad thing,
          and is six years elder for a thought of heaven.
     He scorns and fears, and yet hopes for old age,
          but dare not imagine it with wrinkles ...
     He offers you his blood today in kindness,
          and is ready to take yours tomorrow.
     He does seldom anything which he wishes not to do again,
          and is only wise after a misfortune ...

Euphuism, again, employs every device known to the rhetoric books, including rhyme, metrical balance, and alliteration, which are usually thought of as the prerogative of verse. Ciceronian prose was based on a periodic rhythm and a balancing of clauses that was often a quasi-metrical balance. In prose works which are deliberate rhetorical exercises, such as Browne's Urn Burial, one can pick out recurring units of rhythm like the clausulae of Cicero: "handsome enclosure in glasses," "revengeful contentions of Rome," are anapestic examples. The 1611 Bible is frequently printed with each verse a separate paragraph: this is doubtless done primarily for the convenience of preachers, but it also gives a clearer idea of its prose rhythm than conventionally printed prose would do. The rhythm of some of Bacon's essays, especially the earlier and more aphoristic ones, would also emerge more clearly if each sentence were a separate paragraph.

By the seventeenth century the period of experiment in running rhythm had run its course, and a period of experiment in prose succeeded. This begins with the "Senecan amble" or Attic prose, the revolt in the direction of a natural speaking style against the formal half-metrical rhetoric of the Ciceronians. In Dryden the emancipating of prose from the domination of metre and the liberating of the distinctive semantic rhythm of prose is an accomplished fact. Thus Matthew Arnold was right in calling the period of Dryden and Pope an age of prose and reason, not because its poetry is [264] prosaic, but because its prose is fully realized prose. One of the curious facts of literary history is that M. Jourdain's celebrated discovery in fact is a discovery, and one that a literature seems most often to make at a well advanced point in its development.

In saying that the distinctive rhythm of prose emerges more clearly from Dryden's time on, we are not, of course, saying that better prose was then written, though perhaps the reader needs no further warnings against premature value-judgements. But it becomes obvious that prose by itself is a transparent medium: it is at its purest that is, at its furthest from epos and other metrical influences when it is least obtrusive and presents its subject-matter like plate glass in a shop window. It goes without saying that such neutral clarity is far from dullness, as dullness is invariably opaque. Hence, while there is no literary reason why prose should not be as rhetorical as the writer pleases, rhetorical prose often becomes a disadvantage when prose is used for non-literary purposes. Something of this is expressed by the remark that it is impossible to tell the truth in Macaulay's style not that Macaulay is the best writer to attach the remark to. A highly mannered prose is not sufficiently flexible to do the purely descriptive work of prose: it continually oversimplifies and over-symmetrizes its material. Even Gibbon is not above sacrificing a necessary qualification of a fact to an antithesis. Some thing of the same principle can be seen within literature itself: in studying the euphuist romances, for example, one becomes aware of how difficult it is to get a story told in euphuist prose. Euphuism grew out of oratorical forms, and remains best adapted to harangue: the euphuist writer seizes every chance for relapsing into monologue that he can get.

Rhetorical prose, in short, is naturally best adapted to the two purposes of rhetoric, ornament and persuasion. But as these two purposes are a psychological contrast, persuasive prose is often neutralized in its effect by the very ornament that makes it delightfully persuasive. The beauty of Jeremy Taylor's devotional writing is a disinterested factor in it which has kept him in the permanent confines of literature instead of in the transient stream of kinetic persuasion. The principle involved is by no means confined to Taylor: even in the Anglo-Saxon congregation of Wulfstan there must have been a few secular-minded highbrows who were thinking less of their sins than of the preacher's mastery of alliterative rhythm: [265]

 Her syndan mannslagan ond maegslagan ond maesserbanan ond mynsterhatan, ond her syndan mansworan ond morthorwyrhtan, ond her syndan myltestran ond bearnmyrthran ond fule forlegene horingas manege, ond her syndan wiccan ond waelcyrian, ond her syndan ryperas ond reaferas ond worolstruderas, ond, hraedest is to cwethenne, mana ond misdaeda ungerim ealra,

We are concerned here with literary prose: an account of non-literary prose rhythm will be given later in the essay. A tendency to long sentences made up of short phrases and coordinate clauses, to emphatic repetition combined with a driving linear rhythm, to invective, to exhaustive catalogues, and to expressing the process or movement of thought instead of the logical word-order of achieved thought, are among the signs of prose melos. Rabelais is one of the greatest masters of melos in prose: the wonderful drinking party in the fifth chapter of the first book seems to me to be technically musical, Jannequin set to words, so to speak. In English we have Burton, who is said to have amused himself by going down to the Isis and listening to the bargemen swear. Perhaps his visits were professional, for the qualities of his style are essentially the qualities of good swearing: a swinging sense of rhythm, a love of invective and of catalogue, an unlimited vocabulary, a tendency to think in short accentual units, and an encyclopaedic knowledge of the two subjects relevant to swearing, theology and personal hygiene. All of these except the last are musical characteristics.

The prose of Milton, like his verse, is at its best full of "true musical delight," though of course of a very different kind. The enormous periodic sentences with their short barking phrases, the variations of speed within these sentences, the rhetorical accumulation of emotionally charged epithets, the roaring Beethovenish-coda perorations, are some of its features. Sterne, however, is the chief master of prose melos before the development of "stream of consciousness" techniques for presenting thought as a process revived it in our own day. In Proust this technique takes the form of a Wagnerian intertwining of leitmotifs. In Gertrude Stein a deliberate prolixity of language gives to the words something of the capacity for repetition that music has. But it is of course Joyce who has made the most elaborate experiments in melos, and the bar-room scene in Ulysses (the one called "Sirens" in the Stuart Gilbert commentary) is, if somewhat acrobatic, still good evidence that the [266] prose techniques just discussed have an analogy to music which is not purely fanciful. The analogy is accepted in Wyndham Lewis, for example, whose Men Without Art is evidently intended as a manifesto in favor of opsis. Here and there we can discern a tendency to melos even in normally unmusical writers. When in the rhetoric of Sartor Resartus, for instance, we run across such a passage as "From amid these confused masses of Eulogy and Elegy, with their mad Petrarchan and Werterean ware lying madly scattered among all sorts of quite extraneous matter," we can see that some of the devices of euphuism are being used for linear accentuation instead of for parallel balance, as they would be in actual euphuism.

In prose, as in verse, the writers most frequently called musical in the sentimental sense are usually the ones most remote from actual music. The tendency to opsis in De Quincey, Pater, Ruskin, and Morris, to name a few at random, often includes a tendency to elaborate pictorial description and long decorative similes, but the second tendency does not define the first: we cannot judge a quality of style by choice of subject-matter. The real difference is rather in the conception of the sentence. The long sentences in the later novels of Henry James are containing sentences: all the qualifications and parentheses are fitted in to a pattern, and as one point after another is made, there emerges not a linear process of thought but a simultaneous comprehension. What is explained is turned around and viewed from all aspects, but it is completely there, so to speak, from the beginning. In Conrad, too, the dislocations in the narrative working backwards and forwards, as he put it are designed to make us shift our attention from listening to the story to looking at the central situation. His phrase "above all to make you see" contains a visual metaphor with much of its original meaning left in it. The dislocations of narrative in Tristram Shandy have the opposite effect: they take our attention away from looking at the external situation to listening to the process of its coming into being in the author's mind.

As prose is by itself a transparent medium, relatively few prose writers show a pronounced leaning to one side or the other. In general, when we are most conscious of a marked "style," or rhetorical idiosyncrasy of verbal structure, we are most likely to be in contact with either melos or opsis. Browne and Jeremy Taylor are as much inclined to opsis as Burton and Milton are to melos: the [267] comment on Taylor made by a character in an O. Henry story, "Why doesn't someone write words to it?", refers to something analogous, not to music, but to a Tennysonian sound-pattern.

One may perhaps risk the generalization that the main weight of Classical influence falls on the opsis side, for the reason that an inflected language permits greater freedom in word order than Modern English or French, and so one tends to think of the sentence as containing all its parts at once. Even in Cicero, who is an orator, we are intensely aware of "balance," and balance implies a neutralizing of linear movement. In later Latin a new kind of linear propulsion begins to be perceptible, and one feels closer to the new Teutonic civilization with its alliterative line and its embryonic stress-accent music. Thus in Cassiodorus thematic words and alliterative accents echo and call and respond through the turgid sentences:
 Hinc etiam appellatam aestimamus chordam, quod facile corda moveat: ubi tenta vocum collecta est sub diversitate concordia, ut vicina chorda pulsata alteram faciat sponte contremiscere, quam nullam contigit attigisse.

The Rhythm of Decorum: Drama

In all literary structures we are aware of a quality that we may call the quality of a verbal personality or a speaking voice something different from direct address, though related to it. When this quality is felt to be the voice of the author himself, we call it style: le style c'est l'homme is a generally accepted axiom. The conception of style is based on the fact that every writer has his own rhythm, as distinctive as his handwriting, and his own imagery, ranging from a preference for certain vowels and consonants to a preoccupation with two or three archetypes. Style exists in all literature, of course, but may be seen at its purest in thematic prose: in fact it is the chief literary term applied to works of prose generally classified as non-literary. Style had its great period in late Victorian times, when the primary connection between writing and personality was a fundamental principle of criticism.

In a novel we are aware of a more complicated problem: dialogue has to speak with the voice of the internal characters, not the author, and sometimes dialogue and narrative are so far apart as to divide the book into two different languages. The suiting of style [268] to an internal character or subject is known as decorum or appropriateness of style to content. Decorum is in general the poet's ethical voice, the modification of his own voice to the voice of a character or to the vocal tone demanded by subject or mood. And as style is at its purest in discursive prose, so decorum is obviously at its purest in drama, where the poet does not appear in person. Drama might be described, from our present point of view, as epos or fiction absorbed by decorum.

Drama is a mimesis of dialogue or conversation, and the rhetoric of conversation obviously has to be a very fluid one. It may range from a set speech to the kind of thrust and parry which is called stichomythia when its basis is metrical; and it has the double difficulty of expressing the speaker's character and speech rhythm and yet modifying them to the situation and the moods of other speakers. In Elizabethan drama the center of gravity, so to speak, is somewhere between verse epos and prose, so that it can move easily from one to the other depending on the requirements of decorum, which are chiefly the social rank of the character and the genre of the play. Comedy and lower ranks run to prose, and in later centuries, as epos gives way before fiction, comedy and prose exhibit a power of adaptation to the changed conditions that tragedy and verse epos conspicuously lack.

Yet even in prose comedy, where the lofty style of rhetoric demanded by ruling-class figures has largely disappeared, there still remains the technical problem of representing in prose the features that a verse drama would express by verse: such features as dignity, passion, witty imagery (probably the most important), and pathos. Prose comedy often meets such requirements by developing a mannered epigrammatic prose style, in which something of the antithetical and repetitive structure of rhetorical prose reappears. Nearly all the great writers of English comedy from Congreve to O'Casey have been Irishmen, and the rhetorical tradition survived longer in Ireland. The dramatic prose of Synge also ranks as literary mannerism, even if it does reproduce the speech rhythms of Irish peasantry. By contrast a verse rhythm like that of Browning in the nineteenth century or that of Eliot and Fry in this one seems to straddle the gap between epos and prose with much less effort. One wonders if there is not something to be said for Shaw's contention that it is actually easier to write a play in blank verse than in prose. The feeling of unnaturalness and strain in a good deal of modern verse [269] drama would in that case be the result of attempting an inappropriate kind of rhetoric, one which is too far out of touch with normal conversational rhythms, in a way that Elizabethan drama, however elaborately stylized, very seldom is.

The attempt to find verse forms for conversational rhythms did not interest very many of the Romantics or Victorians. Students of English are often urged, in Romantic fashion, to use as many short words of native origin as possible, on the ground that they make one's vocabulary concrete, but a style founded on simple native words can be the most artificial of all styles. Samuel Johnson at his most bumbling is still colloquial and conversational compared to a William Morris romance. Standard educated English speech today, with its many long abstract and technical words and the heavy accent of its short ones, is a polysyllabic clatter which is much easier to fit to prose than to verse. Blake's Prophetic Books represent one of the few successful efforts to tackle conversational rhythm in verse so successful that many critics are still wondering if they are "real poetry." Blake's view that a longer line than the pentameter was needed to represent educated colloquial speech in verse may be compared with the experiments of Clough and Bridges in hexameters, which are also attempts to capture the same kind of rhythm, though at least in Clough one feels that a strict adherence to the metre gives a somewhat roller-coaster quality to the accent. In the verse rhythm of The Cocktail Party, which perhaps most clearly foreshadows the development of a new rhythmical center of gravity between verse and prose in modern speech, we go back to a rhythm very close to the old four-accent line. Perhaps what is taking shape here is a long six-or-seven-beat accentual line finally made practicable for spoken dialogue by being split in two.

The question of melos and opsis in drama is easily dealt with: melos is actual music and opsis visible scenery and costume.

The Rhythm of Association: Lyric

In the historical sequence of modes, each genre in turn seems to rise to some degree of ascendancy. Myth and romance express themselves mainly in epos, and in the high mimetic the rise of a new national consciousness and an increase of secular rhetoric bring the drama of the settled theatre into the foreground. The low mimetic brings fiction and an increasing use of prose, the rhythm [270] of which finally begins to influence verse. Wordsworth's theory that apart from metre the lexis of poetry and of prose are identical is a low mimetic manifesto. The lyric is the genre in which the poet, like the ironic writer, turns his back on his audience. It is also the genre which most clearly shows the hypothetical core of literature, narrative and meaning in their literal aspects as word-order and word-pattern. It looks as though the lyric genre has some peculiarly close connection with the ironic mode and the literal level of meaning.

Let us take a line of poetry at random, say the beginning of Claudio's great speech in Measure for Measure:

     Ay, but to die, and go we know not where:

We can hear of course the metrical rhythm, an iambic pentameter spoken as a four-stress line. We can hear the semantic or prose rhythm, and we hear what we may call the rhythm of decorum, the verbal representation of the horror of a man facing death. But we can also, if we listen to the line very attentively, make out still another rhythm in it, an oracular, meditative, irregular, unpredictable, and essentially discontinuous rhythm, emerging from the coincidences of the sound-pattern:

     Ay:
     But to die ...
          and go
          we know
               not where ...

Just as the semantic rhythm is the initiative of prose, and as the metrical rhythm is the initiative of epos, so this oracular rhythm seems to be the predominating initiative of lyric. The initiative of prose normally has its center of gravity in the conscious mind: the discursive writer writes deliberately, and the literary prose writer imitates a deliberative process. In verse epos the choice of a metre prescribes the form of rhetorical organization: the poet develops an unconscious habitual skill in thinking in this metre, and is thereby set free to do other things, such as tell stories, expound ideas, or make the various modifications demanded by decorum. Neither of these by itself seems quite to get down to what we think of as typically the poetic creation, which is an associative rhetorical process, most of it below the threshold of consciousness, a chaos of [271] paronomasia, sound-links, ambiguous sense-links, and memory-links very like that of the dream. Out of this the distinctively lyrical union of sound and sense emerges. Like the dream, verbal association is subject to a censor, which (or whom) we may call the "plausibility-principle," the necessity of shaping itself into a form acceptable to the poet's and his reader's waking consciousness, and of adapting itself to the sign-meanings of assertive language well enough to be communicable to that consciousness. But associative rhythm seems to retain a connection with dream corresponding to the drama's connection with ritual. The associative rhythm, no less than the others, can be found in all writing: Yeats's typographical rearrangement of Pater which begins The Oxford Book of Modem Verse illustrates how it may be extracted from prose.

The most natural unit of the lyric is the discontinuous unit of the stanza, and in earlier periods most lyrics tended to be fairly regular strophic patterns, reflecting the ascendancy of epos. Stanzaic epos, such as we find in medieval romance, is usually much closer to the atmosphere of a dream world than linear epos. With the Romantic movement a sense that the "true voice of feeling" was unpredictable and irregular in its rhythm began to increase. Poe's Poetic Principle maintains that poetry is essentially oracular and discontinuous, that the poetic is the lyrical, and that verse epos consists really of lyrical passages stuck together with versified prose. This is a manifesto of the ironic age, as Wordsworth's preface was a low mimetic one, and announces the arrival of a third period of technical experiment in English literature, in which the object is to liberate the distinctive rhythm of lyric. The aim of "free" verse is not simply revolt against metre and epos conventions, but the articulation of an independent rhythm equally distinct from metre and from prose. If we do not recognize this third rhythm, we shall have no answer for the naive objection that when poetry loses regular metre it becomes prose.

The loosening of rhyme in Emily Dickinson and of stanzaic structure in Yeats are intended, not to make the metrical pattern more irregular, but to make the lyric rhythm more precise. Hopkins's term "sprung rhythm," too, has as close an affinity with lyric as running rhythm has with epos. Pound's theories and techniques, from his early imagism to the discontinuous pastiche of the Cantos (preceded by a half-century of French and English experiment in the "fragmentation" or lyricizing of epos) , are lyric-centered theories [272] and techniques. The rhetorical analysis founded on ambiguity in new criticism is a lyric-centered criticism which tends, often explicitly, to extract the lyrical rhythm from all the genres. The most admired and advanced poets of the twentieth century are chiefly those who have most fully mastered the elusive, meditative, resonant, centripetal word-magic of the emancipated lyrical rhythm. In the course of this development the associative rhythm has be come more flexible, and has consequently moved from its Romantic basis in style to a new kind of subjectivized decorum.

The traditional associations of lyric are chiefly with music. The Greeks spoke of lyrics as ta mele, usually translated as "poems to be sung"; in the Renaissance, lyric was constantly associated with the lyre and the lute, and Poe's essay just referred to lays an emphasis on the importance of music in poetry which makes up in strength what it lacks in precision. We should remember, however, that when a poem is "sung," at least in the modern musical sense, its rhythmical organization has been taken over by music. The words of a "singable" lyric are generally neutral and conventional words, and modern song has the stress accent of music, with little if anything left of the pitch accent that marks the domination of music by poetry. We should therefore get a clearer impression of the lyric if we translated ta mele as "poems to be chanted," for chanting, or what Yeats called cantillation, is an emphasis on words as words. Modern poets who, like Yeats, want their poems chanted are often precisely those who are most suspicious of musical settings.

The history of music shows a recurrent tendency to develop elaborate contrapuntal structures which, in vocal music, almost annihilate the words. There has also been a recurrent tendency to reform and simplify musical structures in order to give the words more prominence. This has sometimes been the result of religious pressure, but literary influences have been at work too. We may take the madrigal, perhaps, as representing something close to a limit of the subservience of poetry to music. In the madrigal the poetic rhythm disappears as the words are tossed from voice to voice, and the imagery in the words is expressed by the devices of what is usually called program music. We may find long passages filled up with nonsense words, or the whole collection may bear the subtitle "apt for voices or viols," indicating that the words can be dispensed with altogether. The dislike of poets for this trituration of [273] their words can be seen in the support they gave to the seventeenth- century style of isolating the words on a single melodic line, the style which made the opera possible. This certainly brings us closer to poetry, though music still predominates in the rhythm. But the closer the composer moves toward emphasizing the verbal rhythm of the poem, the closer he comes to the chanting which is the real rhythmical basis of lyric. Henry Lawes made some experiments in this direction which won the applause of Milton, and the admiration that so many symbolistes expressed for Wagner was evidently based on the notion (if so erroneous a notion can be said to be a base) that he was also trying to identify, or at least closely associate, the rhythm of music and the rhythm of poetry.

But now that we have music on one boundary of lyric, and the purely verbal emphasis of cantillation in the center, we can see that lyric has a relation to the pictorial on the other side which is equally important. Something of this is present in the typographical appearance of a lyric on a printed page, where it is, so to speak, overseen as well as overheard. The arrangement of stanzas and indentations gives a visible pattern to a lyric which is quite distinct from epos, where the lines have approximately the same length, as well as of course from prose. In any case there are thousands of lyrics so intently focussed on visual imagery that they are, as we may say, set to pictures. In the emblem an actual picture appears, and the poet-painter Blake, whose engraved lyrics are in the emblem tradition, has a role in the lyric analogous to that of the poet-composers Campion and Dowland on the musical side. The movement called imagism made a great deal of the pictorial element in the lyric, and many imagistic poems could almost be described as a series of captions to invisible pictures.

In such emblems as Herbert's The Altar and Easter Wings, where the pictorial shape of the subject is suggested in the shape of the lines of the poem, we begin to approach the pictorial boundary of the lyric. The absorption of words by pictures, corresponding to the madrigal's absorption of words by music, is picture-writing, of the kind most familiar to us in comic strips, captioned cartoons, posters, and other emblematic forms. A further stage of absorption is represented by Hogarth's Rake's Progress and similar narrative sequences of pictures, in the scroll pictures of the Orient, or in the novels in woodcuts that occasionally appear. Pictorial arrangements of the visible basis of literature, which is alphabetical [274] writing, have had a more fitful and sporadic existence, ranging from capitals in illuminated manuscripts to surrealist experiments in collage, and have not had much specifically literary importance. They would have had more, of course, if our writing had remained in the hieroglyphic stage, as in hieroglyphics writing and drawing are much the same art. We have previously glanced at Pound's comparison of the imagistic lyric to the Chinese ideogram.

We should expect that during the last century there would have been a good deal said about the relation of poetry to music on the one hand, and to painting on the other. In fact the attempts to bring words as near as possible to the more repetitive and emphatic rhythm of music or the more concentrated stasis of painting make up the main body of what is usually called experimental writing. It would make for clearer thinking if these developments were regarded as lateral explorations of a single phase of rhetoric, not, through a false analogy with science, as "new directions" portending a general advance of literary technique on all fronts. The reverse movement of the same progressive fallacy gives us the moral indignation that talks about "decadence." A question on which little has yet been said is the extent to which poetry may, so to speak, disappear into painting or music and come back with a different rhythm. This happened for example in the emergence of the "prosa" out of the sequence in medieval music, and it happens in a different way when a song becomes a kind of rhythmical reservoir for a number of different lyrics.

The two elements of subconscious association which form the basis for lyrical melos and opsis respectively have never been given names. We may call them, if the terms are thought dignified enough, babble and doodle. In babble, rhyme, assonance, alliteration, and puns develop out of sound-associations. The thing that gives shape to the associating is what we have been calling the rhythmical initiative, though in a free verse poem it would be rather a sense of the oscillations of rhythm within an area which gradually becomes defined as the containing form. We can see from the revisions poets make that the rhythm is usually prior, either in inspiration or in importance or both, to the selection of words to fill it up. This phenomenon is not confined to poetry: in Beethoven's notebooks, too, we often see how he knows that he wants a cadence at a certain bar before he has worked out any melodic sequence to reach it. One can see a similar evolution in [275] children, who start with rhythmical babble and fill in the appropriate words as they go along. The process is also reflected in nursery rhymes, college yells, work songs, and the like, where rhythm is a physical pulsation close to the dance, and is often filled up with nonsense words. An obvious priority of rhythm to sense is a regular feature of popular poetry, and verse, like music, is called "light" whenever it has the rhythmical accentuation of a railway coach with a flat wheel.

When babble cannot rise into consciousness, it remains on the level of uncontrolled association. This latter is often a literary way of representing insanity, and Smart's Jubilate Agno, parts of which are usually considered mentally unbalanced, shows the creative process in an interesting formative stage:

     For the power of some animal is predominant in every language.
     For the power and spirit of a CAT is in the Greek.
     For the sound of a cat is in the most useful preposition KO.T cv-
X*>
     For the Mouse (Mus) prevails in the Latin.
     For edi-mus, bibi-mus, vivi-mus -- ore-mus ...
     For two creatures the Bull & the Dog prevail in the English,
     For all the words ending in ble are in the creature.
     Invisi-ble, Incomprehensi-ble, ineffa-ble, A-ble ...
     For there are many words under Bull ...
     For Brook is under Bull. God be gracious to Lord Bolingbroke.

It is possible that similar sputters and sparks of the fusing intellect take place in all poetic thinking. The puns in this passage impress the reader as both outrageous and humorous, which is consistent with Freud's view of wit as the escape of impulse from the control of the censor. In creation the impulse is the creative energy itself, and the censor is what we have called the plausibility-principle. Paronomasia is one of the essential elements of verbal creation, but a pun introduced into a conversation turns its back on the sense of the conversation and sets up a self-contained verbal sound-sense pattern in its place.

There is a perilous balance in paronomasia between verbal wit and hypnotic incantation. In Poe's line "the viol, the violet and the vine," we have a fusion of two opposed qualities. Wit makes us laugh, and is addressed to the awakened intelligence; incantation by itself is humorlessly impressive. Wit detaches the reader; the [276] oracle absorbs him. In dream-poems like Arthur Benson's The Phoenix, or in poems intended to represent dreaming or drowsy states, like the medieval Pearl and many passages in Spenser and Tennyson, we notice a similar insistence on hypnotically recurrent sound- patterns. If we were to laugh at the wit in such a line as Poe's, we should break the spell of his poem, yet the line is witty, just as Finnegan's Wake is a very funny book, although it never leaves the oracular solemnity of the dream world. In the latter, of course, the researches of Freud and Jung into the mechanisms of both dream and wit have been extensively drawn upon. There may well be buried in it some such word as "vinolent," intended to express everything in Poe's line at once. In fiction the associative process ordinarily shows itself chiefly in the names the author invents for his characters. Thus "Lilliputian" and "Ebenezer Scrooge" are associative names for midgets and misers respectively, because one suggests "little" and "puny" and the other "squeeze," "screw" and perhaps "geezer." Spenser says that a character of his has been named Malfont:

     Eyther for th' euill, which he did therein,
     Or that he likened was to a welhed,

which implies that the second syllable of his name is to be derived both from fons and from facere. We may call this kind of associative process poetic etymology, and we shall say more about it later. The characteristics of babble are again present in doggerel, which is also a creative process left unfinished through lack of skill or patience, though the psychological conditions are of the opposite kind from those of Jubilate Agno. Doggerel is not necessarily stupid poetry; it is poetry that begins in the conscious mind and has never gone through the associative process. It has a prose initiative, but tries to make itself associative by an act of will, and it reveals the same difficulties that great poetry has overcome at a subconscious level. We can see in doggerel how words are dragged in because they rhyme or scan, how ideas are dragged in because they are suggested by a rhyme-word, and so on. Deliberate doggerel, as we have it in Hudibras or German knittehers, can be a source of brilliant rhetorical satire, and one which involves a kind of parody of poetic creation itself, just as malapropism is a parody of poetic etymology. The difficulties in the way of giving prose itself something of the associative concentration of poetry are enormous, and not many [277] prose writers, apart from Flaubert and Joyce, have consistently and resolutely faced them.

The first rough sketches of verbal design ("doodle") in the creative process are hardly separable from associative babble. Phrases are scribbled in notebooks to be used later; a first stanza may suddenly "come" and then other stanzas of the same shape have to be designed to go with it, and all the ingenuity that Freud has traced in the dream has to be employed in putting words into patterns. The elaborateness of conventional forms -- the sonnet and its less versatile congeners the ballade, villanelle, sestina, and the like, together with all the other conventions that the individual lyric poet invents for himself -- indicates how far removed the lyrical initiative really is from whatever a cri de coeur is supposed to be. Poe's essay on his own The Raven is a perfectly accurate account of what he did in that poem, whether he did it on the conscious mental level that the essay suggests or not, and this essay, like The Poetic Principle, anticipates the critical techniques of a new mode.

We may note that although of course lyrics in all ages are addressed to the ear, the rise of fiction and the printing press develops an increasing tendency to address the ear through the eye. The visual patterns of E. E. Cummings are obvious examples, but do not by any means stand alone. A poem of Marianne Moore's, Camellia Sabina, employs an eight-line stanza in which the rhyming words are at the end of the first line, at the end of the eighth line, and at the third syllable of the seventh line. I doubt if the most attentive listener could pick this last rhyme up merely from hearing the poem read aloud: one sees it first on the page, and then translates the visual structural pattern to the ear.

We are now in a position to find more acceptable words for babble and doodle, the radicals of lyrical melos and opsis respectively. The radical of melos is charm: the hypnotic incantation that, through its pulsing dance rhythm, appeals to involuntary physical response, and is hence not far from the sense of magic, or physically compelling power. The etymological descent of charm from carmen, song, may be noted. Actual charms have a quality that is imitated in popular literature by work songs of various kinds, especially lullabies, where the drowsy sleep-inducing repetition shows the underlying oracular or dream pattern very clearly. Invective or flyting, the literary imitation of the spell-binding curse, uses similar [278] incantatory devices for opposite reasons, as in Dunbar's Flyting with Kennedy:

     Mauch mutton, bytbuttoun, peilit gluttoun, air to Hilhous;
     Rank beggar, ostir dregar, foule fleggar in the flet;
     Chittirlilling, ruch rilling, like schilling in the milhous;
     Baird rehator, theif of natour, fals tratour, feyindis gett ...

From here the line of descent is easy to the melos of physical absorption in sound and rhythm, the pounding movement and clashing noise which the heavy accentuation of English makes possible. Lindsay's The Congo and Sweeney Agonistes are modern examples of a tendency to ragtime in English poetry that can be traced back through Poe's Bells and Dryden's Alexander's Feast to Skelton and to Dunbar's Ane Ballat of our Lady. A more refined aspect of melos is exhibited in lyrics which combine accentual repetition with variations in speed. Thus Wyatt's sonnet:

     I abide and abide and better abide,
          And, after the olde proverbe, the happie daye:
          And ever my ladye to me dothe saye,
          "Let me alone and I will provyde."
     I abide and abide and tarrye the tyde
          And with abiding spede well ye maye:
          Thus do I abide I wott allwaye,
          Nother obtayning nor yet denied.
     Aye me! this long abidyng
          Semithe to me as who sayethe
          A prolonging of a dieng dethe,
     Or a refusing of a desyred thing.
          Moche ware it bettre for to be playne,
          Then to saye abide and yet shall not obtayne.

This lovely sonnet is intensely musical in its conception: there is the repeated clang of "abide" and the musical, though poetically very audacious, sequential repetition of the first line in the fifth. Then as hope follows expectancy, doubt hope, and despair doubt, the lively rhythm gradually slows down and collapses. On the other hand, Skelton, like Scarlatti after him, gets fidgety in a slow rhythm and is more inclined to speed up. Here is an accelerando in a rhyme royal stanza from The Garland of Laurell: [279]

     That long tyme blew a full tymorous blaste,
     Like to the Boriall wyndes, whan they blowe,
     That towres and tounes and trees downe cast,
     Drove clouds together like dryftes of snowe;
     The dredful dinne drove all the route on a row;
     Som trembled, som girned, som gasped, som gased,
     As people half pevissh or men that were mased.

In the same poem there is a curious coincidental link with music: the verses to Margery Wentworth, Margaret Hussey, and Gertrude Statham are miniature musical rondos of the abaca type.


We have several times noticed the close relation between the visual and the conceptual in poetry, and the radical of opsis in the lyric is riddle, which is characteristically a fusion of sensation and reflection, the use of an object of sense experience to stimulate a mental activity in connection with it. Riddle was originally the cognate object of read, and the riddle seems intimately involved with the whole process of reducing language to visible form, a process which runs through such by-forms of riddle as hieroglyphic and ideogram. The actual riddle-poems of Old English include some of its finest lyrics, and belong to a culture in which such a phrase as "curiously inwrought" is a favorite aesthetic judgement. Just as the charm is not far from a sense of magical compulsion, so the curiously wrought object, whether sword-hilt or illuminated manuscript, is not far from a sense of enchantment or magical imprisonment. Closely parallel to the riddle in Old English is the figure of speech known as the kenning or oblique description which calls the body the bone-house and the sea the whale-road.

In all ages of poetry the fusion of the concrete and the abstract, the spatial and the conceptual aspects of dianoia, has been a central feature of poetic imagery in every genre, and the kenning has had a long line of descent. In the fifteenth century we have "aureate diction," the use of abstract terms in poetry, then thought of as "colors" of rhetoric. When such words were new and the ideas represented by them exciting, aureate diction must have sounded far less dull and bumbling than it generally does to us, and have had much more of the sense of intellectual precision that we feel in such phrases as Eliot's "piaculative pence" or Auden's "cerebrotonic Cato." The seventeenth century gave us the conceit or [280] intellectualized image of "metaphysical" poetry, typically Baroque in its ability to express an exuberant sense of design combined with a witty and paradoxical sense of the stress and tension underlying the design. The eighteenth century showed its respect for the categorizing power of abstract thought in its poetic diction, in which fish appear as the finny tribe. In the low mimetic period a growing prejudice against convention made poets less aware of the conventional phrases they used, but the technical problems of poetical imagery did not thereby disappear, nor did conventional figures of speech.

Two of these connected with the matter under discussion, the fusion of the concrete with the abstract, may be noted. An abstract noun in the possessive case followed by an adjective and a concrete noun ("death's dateless night" is a Shakespearean example) is a nineteenth-century favorite. In J. R. Lowell's Harvard Commemoration Ode of 1865 this figure is employed nineteen times, "life's best oil/' "Oblivion's subtle wrong" and "Fortune's fickle moon" being three examples. In the twentieth century it was succeeded in favor by another phrase of "the adjective noun of noun" type, in which the first noun is usually concrete and the second abstract. Thus: "the pale dawn of longing," "the broken collar-bone of silence," "the massive eyelids of time," "the crimson tree of love." I have made these up myself, and they are free to any poet who wants them, but on examining a volume of twentieth-century lyrics I find, counting all the variants, thirty-eight phrases of this type in the first five poems.

The fusion of the concrete and abstract is a special case, though a very important one, of a general principle that the technical development of the last century has exposed to critical view. All poetic imagery seems to be founded on metaphor, but in the lyric, where the associative process is strongest and the ready-made descriptive phrases of ordinary prose furthest away, the unexpected or violent metaphor that is called catachresis has a peculiar importance. Much more frequently than any other genre does the lyric depend for its main effect on the fresh or surprising image, a fact which often gives rise to the illusion that such imagery is radically new or un conventional. From Nashe's "Brightness falls from the air" to Dylan Thomas's "A grief ago," the emotional crux of the lyric has over and over again tended to be this "sudden glory" of fused metaphor. [281]

Specific Forms of Drama

We have now to see whether this expansion of perspective, which enables us to consider the relation of the lexis or verbal pattern to music and spectacle, gives us any new light on the traditional classifications within the genres. The division of dramas into tragedies and comedies, for instance, is a conception based entirely on verbal drama, and does not include or account for types of drama, such as the opera or masque, in which music and scenery have a more organic place. Yet verbal drama, whether tragic or comic, has clearly developed a long way from the primitive idea of drama, which is to present a powerful sensational focus for a community, The scriptural plays of the Middle Ages are primitive in this sense: they present to the audience a myth already familiar to and significant for that audience, and they are designed to remind the audience of their communal possession of this myth.

The scriptural play is a form of a spectacular dramatic genre which we may provisionally call a "myth-play." It is a somewhat negative and receptive form, and takes on the mood of the myth it represents. The crucifixion play in the Towneley cycle is tragic because the Crucifixion is; but it is not a tragedy in the sense that Othello is a tragedy. It does not, that is, make a tragic point; it simply presents the story because it is familiar and significant. It would be nonsense to apply such tragic conceptions as hybris to the figure of Christ in that play, and while pity and terror are raised, they remain attached to the subject, and there is no catharsis of them. The characteristic mood and resolution of the myth-play are pensive, and pensiveness, in this context, implies a continuing imaginative subjection to the story. The myth-play emphasizes dramatically the symbol of spiritual and corporeal communion. The scriptural plays themselves were associated with the festival of Corpus Christi, and Calderon's religious plays are explicitly autos sacramentdes or Eucharist plays. The appeal of the myth-play is a curious mixture of the popular and the esoteric; it is popular for its immediate audience, but those outside its circle have to make a conscious effort to appreciate it. In a controversial atmosphere it disappears, as it cannot deal with controversial issues unless it selects its audience. In view of the ambiguities attaching to the word myth, we shall speak of this genre as the auto.

When there is no clear-cut distinction between gods and heroes [282] in a society's mythology, or between the ideals of the nobility and the priesthood, the auto may present a legend which is secular and sacred at once. An example is the No drama of Japan, which with its unification of chivalric and otherworldly symbols and its dreamy un-tragic, un-comic mood so strongly attracted Yeats. It is interesting to see how Yeats, both in his theory of the anima mundi and in his desire to get his play as physically close to the audience as possible, reverts to the archaic idea of corporeal communion. In Greek drama, too, there is no sharp boundary line between the divine and the heroic protagonist. But in Christian societies we can see glimpses of a secular auto, a romantic drama presenting the exploits of a hero, which is closely related to tragedy, the end of a hero's exploit being eventually his death, but which in itself is neither tragic nor comic, being primarily spectacular.

Tamburlaine is such a play: there the relation between the hero's hybris and his death is more casual than causal. This genre has had varying luck: more in Spain, for instance, than in France, where the establishing of tragedy was part of an intellectual revolution. The two attempts in France to move tragedy back towards heroic romance, Le Cid and Hernani, each precipitated a big row. In Germany, on the other hand, it is clear that the actual genre of many plays by Goethe and Schiller is the heroic romance, however much affected they have been by the prestige of tragedy. In Wagner, who expands the heroic form all the way back to a sacramental drama of gods, the symbol of communion again occupies a conspicuous place, negatively in Tristan, positively in Parsifal. In pro portion as it moves closer to tragedy and further from the sacred auto, drama tends to make less use of music. If we look at the earliest extant play of Aeschylus, The Suppliants, we can see that close behind it is a predominantly musical structure of which the modern counterpart would normally be the oratorio it is perhaps possible to describe Wagner's operas as fermented oratorios.

In Renaissance England the audience was too bourgeois for a chivalric drama to get firmly established, and the Elizabethan secular auto eventually became the history-play. With the history- play we move from spectacle to a more purely verbal drama, and the symbols of communion become much attenuated, although they are still there. The central theme of Elizabethan history is the unifying of the nation and the binding of the audience into the myth as the inheritors of that unity, set over against the disasters [283] of civil war and weak leadership. One may even recognize a secular Eucharist symbol in the red and white rose, just as one may recognize in the plays that end by pointing to Elizabeth, like Peek's Arraignment of Paris, a secular counterpart of a mystery play of the Virgin. But the emphasis and characteristic resolution of the history play are in terms of continuity and the closing up both of tragic catastrophe and (as in the case of Falstaff) of the comic festival. One may compare Shaw's "chronicle play" of Saint Joan, where the end of the play is a tragedy, followed by an epilogue in which the rejection of Joan is, like the rejection of Falstaff, historical, suggesting continuity rather than a rounded finish.

The history merges so gradually into tragedy that we often can not be sure when communion has turned into catharsis. Richard II and Richard III are tragedies insofar as they resolve on those defeated kings; they are histories insofar as they resolve on Boling- broke and Richmond, and the most one can say is that they lean toward history. Hamlet and Macbeth lean toward tragedy, but Fortinbras and Malcolm, the continuing characters, indicate the historical element in the tragic resolution. There seems to be a far less direct connection between history and comedy: the comic scenes in the histories are, so to speak, subversive. Henry V ends in triumph and marriage, but an action that kills Falstaff, hangs Bardolph and debases Pistol is not related to comedy in the way that Richard II is related to tragedy.

We are here concerned only with tragedy as a species of drama. Tragic drama derives from the auto its central heroic figure, but the association of heroism with downfall is due to the simultaneous presence of irony. The nearer the tragedy is to auto, the more closely associated the hero is with divinity; the nearer to irony, the more human the hero is, and the more the catastrophe appears to be a social rather than a cosmological event. Elizabethan tragedy shows a historical development from Marlowe, who presents his heroes more or less as demigods moving in a kind of social ether, to Webster, whose tragedies are almost clinical analyses of a sick society. Greek tragedy never broke completely from the auto, and so never developed a social form, though there are tendencies to it in Euripides. But whatever the proportions of heroism and irony, tragedy shows itself to be primarily a vision of the supremacy of the event or mythos. The response to tragedy is "this must be," or, [284] perhaps more accurately, "this does happen": the event is primary, the explanation of it secondary and variable.

As tragedy moves over towards irony, the sense of inevitable event begins to fade out, and the sources of catastrophe come into view. In irony catastrophe is either arbitrary and meaningless, the impact of an unconscious (or, in the pathetic fallacy, malignant) world on conscious man, or the result of more or less definable social and psychological forces. Tragedy's "this must be" becomes irony's "this at least is," a concentration on foreground facts and a rejection of mythical superstructures. Thus the ironic drama is a vision of what in theology is called the fallen world, of simple humanity, man as natural man and in conflict with both human and non-human nature. In nineteenth-century drama the tragic vision is often identical with the ironic one, hence nineteenth-century tragedies tend to be either Schicksal dramas dealing with the arbitrary ironies of fate, or (clearly the more rewarding form) studies of the frustrating and smothering of human activity by the combined pressure of a reactionary society without and a disorganized soul within. Such irony is difficult to sustain in the theatre because it tends toward a stasis of action. In those parts of Chekhov, notably the last act of The Three Sisters, where the characters one by one withdraw from each other into their subjective prison-cells, we are coming about as close to pure irony as the stage can get.

The ironic play passes through a dead center of complete realism, a pure mime representing human life without comment and with out imposing any sort of dramatic form beyond what is required for simple exhibition. This idolatrous form of mimesis is rare, but the thin line of its tradition can be traced from Classical mime- writers like Herodas to their tranche-de-vie descendants in recent times. The mime is somewhat commoner as an individual performance, and, outside the theatre, the Browning monodrama is a logical development of the isolating and soliloquizing tendencies of ironic conflict. In the theatre we usually find that the spectacle of "all too human" life is either oppressive or ridiculous, and that it tends to pass directly from one to the other. Irony, then, as it moves away from tragedy, begins to merge into comedy.

Ironic comedy presents us of course with "the way of the world," but as soon as we find sympathetic or even neutral characters in a comedy, we move into the more familiar comic area where we have a group of humors outwitted by the opposing group. Just as tragedy [285] is a vision of the supremacy of mythos or thing done, and just as irony is a vision of ethos, or character individualized against environment, so comedy is a vision of dianoia, a significance which is ultimately social significance, the establishing of a desirable society. As an imitation of life, drama is, in terms of mythos, conflict; in terms of ethos, a representative image; in terms of dianoia, the final harmonic chord revealing the tonality under the narrative movement, it is community. The further comedy moves from irony, the more it becomes what we here call ideal comedy, the vision not of the way of the world, but of what you will, life as you like it. Shakespeare's main interest is in getting away from the son-father conflict of ironic comedy towards a vision of a serene community, a vision most prominent in The Tempest. Here the action is polarized around a younger and an older man working in harmony together, a lover and a benevolent teacher.

The next step brings us to the extreme limit of social comedy, the symposium, the structure of which is, as we should expect, clearest in Plato, whose Socrates is both teacher and lover, and whose vision moves toward an integration of society in a form like that of the symposium itself, the dialectic festivity which, as is explained in the opening of the Laws, is the controlling force that holds society together. It is easy to see that Plato's dialogue form is dramatic and has affinities with comedy and mime; and while there is much in Plato's thought that contradicts the spirit of comedy as we have outlined it, it is significant that he contradicts it directly, tries to kidnap it, so to speak. It seems almost a rule that the more he does this, the further he moves into pure exposition or dictatorial monologue and away from drama. The most dramatic of his dialogues, such as Euthydemus, are regularly the most in decisive in philosophical "position." In our own day Bernard Shaw has tried hard to keep the symposium in the theatre. His early manifesto, The Quintessence of Ibsenism, states that a play should be an intelligent discussion of a serious problem, and in his preface to Getting Married he re marks approvingly on the fact that it observes the unities of time and place. For comedy of Shaw's type tends to a symposium form which occupies the same amount of time in its action that the audience consumes in watching it. However, Shaw discovered in practice that what emerges from the theatrical symposium is not a dialectic that compels to a course of action or thought, but one [286] that emancipates from formulated principles of conduct. The shape of such a comedy is very clear in the bright little sketch In Good King Charles's Golden Days, where even the most highly developed human types, the saintly Fox and the philosophical Newton, are shown to be comic humors by the mere presence of other types of people. Yet the central symposium figure of the haranguing lover bulks formidably in Man and Superman, and even the renunciation of love for mathematics at the end of Back to Methusaleh is consistent with the symposium spirit.

The view of poetry which sees it as intermediate between history and philosophy, its images combining the temporal events of the one with the timeless ideas of the other, seems to be still involved in this exposition of dramatic forms. We can now see a mimetic or verbal drama stretching from the history-play to the philosophy-play (the act-play and the scene-play) , with the mime, the pure image, halfway between. These three are specialized forms, cardinal points of drama rather than generic areas. But the whole mimetic area is only a part, a semicircle, let us say, of all drama. In the misty and unexplored region of the other semicircle of spectacular drama we have identified a quadrant that we have called the auto, and we have now to chart the fourth quadrant that lies between the auto and comedy, and establish the fourth cardinal point where it meets the auto again. When we think of the clutter of forms that belong here, we are strongly tempted to call our fourth area "miscellaneous" and let it go; but it is precisely here that new generic criticism is needed.

The further comedy moves from irony, and the more it rejoices in the free movement of its happy society, the more readily it takes to music and dancing. As music and scenery increase in importance, the ideal comedy crosses the boundary line of spectacular drama and becomes the masque. In Shakespeare's ideal comedies, especially A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Tempest, the close affinity with the masque is not hard to see. The masque or at least the kind of masque that is nearest to comedy, and which we shall here call the ideal masque is still in the area of dianoia: it is usually a compliment to the audience, or an important member of it, and leads up to an idealization of the society represented by that audience. Its plots and characters are fairly stock, as they exist only in relation to the significance of the occasion.

It thus differs from comedy in its more intimate attitude to the [287] audience: there is more insistence on the connection between the audience and the community on the stage. The members of a masque are ordinarily disguised members of the audience, and there is a final gesture of surrender when the actors unmask and join the audience in a dance. The ideal masque is in fact a myth-play like the auto, to which it is related much as comedy is to tragedy. It is designed to emphasize, not the ideals to be achieved by discipline or' faith, but ideals which are desired or considered to be already possessed. Its settings are seldom remote from magic and fairyland, from Arcadias and visions of earthly Paradise. It uses gods freely, like the auto, but possessively, and without imaginative subjection. In Western drama, from the Renaissance to the end of the eighteenth century, masque and ideal comedy make great use of Classical mythology, which the audience is not obliged to accept as "true."

The rather limited masque throws some light on the structure and characteristics of its two far more important and versatile neighbors. For the masque is flanked on one side by the musically organized drama which we call opera, and on the other by a scenically organized drama, which has now settled in the movie. Puppet-plays and the vast Chinese romances where, as in the movie, the audience enters and leaves unpredictably, are examples of pre-camera scenic masques. Both opera and movie are, like the masque, proverbial for lavish display, and part of the reason for it in the movie is that many movies are actually bourgeois myth-plays, as half a dozen critics suddenly and almost simultaneously discovered a few years ago. The predominance of the private life of the actor in the imaginations of many moviegoers may perhaps have some analogy with the consciously assumed disguise of the masque.

Opera and movie possess, unlike the masque, the power of producing spectacular imitations of mimetic drama. The opera can only do this by simplifying its musical organization, otherwise its dramatic structure will be blurred by the distortion of acting which the highly repetitive structure of music makes necessary. The movie similarly must simplify its spectacle. In proportion as it follows its natural bent for scenic organization, the movie reveals its affinities with other forms of scenic masque: with the puppet-play in Chaplin and others, with the commedia deir arte in recent Italian films, with the ballet and pantomime in musical comedies. When the movie succeeds in imitating a mimetic drama, the distinction [288] between the two forms is not worth making, but the generic difference shows itself in other ways. Mimetic drama works towards an end which illuminates, by being logically connected with, the beginning: hence the parabola shape of the typical five-act mimetic structure, and hence the ideological quality in drama expressed by the term discovery. Spectacular drama, on the other hand, is by nature processional, and tends to episodic and piecemeal discovery, as we can see in all forms of pure spectacle, from the circus parade to the revue. In the auto too, on the other side of spectacular drama, the same processional structure appears in the long continued stories of Shakespearean history and scriptural pageant. In the rotating performance and casual attendance of the movie, and the sequence of arias forcibly linked to dramatic structure by recitative in the opera, one can see the strong native tendency to linear movement in spectacular forms. In Shakespeare's first experimental romance, Pericles, the movement toward processional structure, a sequence of scenes "dispersedly in various countries/' is very clear.

The essential feature of the ideal masque is the exaltation of the audience, who form the goal of its procession. In the auto, drama is at its most objective; the audience's part is to accept the story without judgement. In tragedy there is judgement, but the source of the tragic discovery is on the other side of the stage; and what ever it is, it is stronger than the audience. In the ironic play, audience and drama confront each other directly; in the comedy the source of the discovery has moved across to the audience itself. The ideal masque places the audience in a position of superiority to discovery. The verbal action of Figaro is comic and that of Don Giovanni tragic; but in both cases the audience is exalted by the music above the reach of tragedy and comedy, and, though as profoundly moved as ever, isn't emotionally involved with the discovery of plot or characters. It looks at the downfall of Don Juan as spectacular entertainment, much as the gods are supposed to look at the downfall of Ajax or Darius. The same sense of viewing the dramatic mimesis through a haze of spectacular exhilaration is also of central importance in the movie, as it is even more obviously in the puppet-play from which the movie is chiefly descended. We move from ironic to ideal comedy through the symposium, and we note that at the conclusion of Plato's Symposium the prophecy is made that the same poet should be able to write both tragedy and comedy, though the ones who have done so most successfully are [289] those who, like Shakespeare and Mozart, have had a strong interest in spectacular forms.

For our next step we must return to the masque proper. The further comedy moves from irony, the less social power is allowed to the humors. In the masque, where the ideal society is still more in the ascendant, the humors become degraded into the uncouth figures of the Jonsonian antimasque, who are said to be descended from a dramatic form far older than the rest of the masque. Farce, being a non-mimetic form of comedy, has a natural place in the masque, though in the ideal masque its natural place is that of a rigorously controlled interlude. In The Tempest, a comedy so pro found that it seems to draw the whole masque into itself, Stephano and Trinculo are comic humors and Caliban an antimasque figure, and the group shows the transition very clearly. The main theme of the masque involves gods, fairies, and personifications of virtues; the figures of the antimasque thus tend to become demonic, and dramatic characterization begins to split into an antithesis of virtue and vice, god and devil, fairy and monster. The tension between them partly accounts for the importance of the theme of magic in the masque. At the comic end this magic is held by the benevolent side, as in The Tempest; but as we move further away from comedy, the conflict becomes increasingly serious, and the anti- masque figures less ridiculous and more sinister, possessed in their turn of powers of enchantment. This is the stage represented by Comus, which is very close to the open conflict of good and evil in the morality play. With the morality play we pass into another area of masque which we shall here call the archetypal masque, the prevailing form of most twentieth-century highbrow drama, at least in continental Europe, as well as of many experimental operas and unpopular movies.

The ideal masque tends to individualize its audience by pointing to the central member of it: even the movie audience, sitting in the dark in small units (usually of two) , is a relatively individualized one. A growing sense of loneliness is noticeable as we move away from comedy. The archetypal masque, like all forms of spectacular drama, tends to detach its settings from time and space, but in stead of the Arcadias of the ideal masque, we find ourselves frequently in a sinister limbo, like the threshold of death in Everyman, the sealed underworld crypts of Maeterlinck, or the nightmares of the future in expressionist plays. As we get nearer the rationale of [290] the form, we see that the auto symbol of communion in one body is reappearing, but in a psychological and subjective form, and with out gods. The action of the archetypal masque takes place in a world of human types, which at its most concentrated becomes the interior of the human mind. This is explicit even in the old moralities, like Mankynd and The Castell of Perseveraunce, and at least implicit in a good deal of Maeterlinck, Pirandello, Andreyev, and Strindberg.

Naturally, with such a setting, characterization has to break down into elements and fragments of personality. This is why I call the form the archetypal masque, the word archetype being in this con text used in Jung's sense of an aspect of the personality capable of dramatic projection. Jung's persona and anima and counsellor and shadow throw a great deal of light on the characterization of modern allegorical, psychic, and expressionist dramas, with their circus barkers and wraith-like females and inscrutable sages and obsessed demons. The abstract entities of the morality play and the stock types of the commedia del? arte (this latter representing one of the primitive roots of the genre) are similar constructions.

A sense of confusion and fear accompanies the sense of loneliness: Maeterlinck's early plays are almost dedicated to fear, and the constant undermining of the distinction between illusion and reality, as mental projections become physical bodies and vice versa, splits the action up into a kaleidoscopic chaos of reflecting mirrors. The mob scenes of German expressionist plays and the mechanical fantasies of the Capeks show the same disintegration at work in a social context. From the generic point of view, one of the most interesting archetypal plays is Andreyev's powerful The Black Maskers, in which its author saw reflected not only the destruction of an individual's nobile castello, which is its explicit theme, but the whole social collapse of modern Russia. This play distinguishes two groups of dissociative elements of personality, one group connected with self-accusation and the other with the death-wish, and it exhibits the human soul as a castle possessed by a legion of demons. It is evident that the further the archetypal masque gets from the ideal masque, the more clearly it reveals itself as the emancipated antimasque, a revel of satyrs who have got out of control. The progress of sophisticated drama appears to be towards an anagnorisis or recognition of the most primitive of all dramatic forms. [291]

At the far end of the archetypal masque, where it joins the auto, we reach the point indicated by Nietzsche as the point of the birth of tragedy, where the revel of satyrs impinges on the appearance of a commanding god, and Dionysos is brought into line with Apollo. We may call this fourth cardinal point of drama the epiphany, the dramatic apocalypse or separation of the divine and the demonic, a point directly opposite the mime, which presents the simply human mixture. This point is the dramatic form of the point of epiphany, most familiar as the point at which the Book of Job, after describing a complete circuit from tragedy through symposium, finally ends. Here the two monsters behemoth and leviathan replace the more frequent demonic animals.

The Classical critics, from Aristotle to Horace, were puzzled to understand why a disorganized ribald farce like the satyr-play should be the source of tragedy, though they were clear that it was. In medieval drama, where the progression through sacred and heroic auto to tragedy is so much less foreshortened, the development is plainer. The most clearly epiphanic form of scriptural drama is the Harrowing of Hell play, which depicts the triumph of a divine redeemer over demonic resistance. The devils of that play are the Christian forms of figures very like the Greek satyrs, and dramatic groups generically very close to the satyrs are never far from any scriptural play that deals directly with Christ, whether tamed and awed as in the Secunda Pastorum, or triumphantly villainous, as in the crucifixion and Herod plays. And just as Greek tragedy retained and developed the satyr-play, so Elizabethan tragedy retains a satyric counterpoint in its clown scenes and the farcical under plots of Faustus and many later tragedies. The same element pro vides those superb episodes of the porter in Macbeth, the grave-diggers in Hamlet, and the serpent-bearer in Antony and Cleopatra, which so baffled Classically-minded critics who had forgotten about the satyr-play. Perhaps we could make more dramatic sense out of Titus Andronicus if we could see it as an unharrowed hell, a satyr- play of obscene and gibbering demons.

The two nodes of the scriptural play are Christmas and Easter: the latter presents the triumphant god, the former the quiet virgin mother who gathers to herself the processional masque of the kings and shepherds. This figure is at the opposite end of the masque from the watching queen or peeress of an ideal masque, with the virtuous but paralyzed Lady of Comus halfway between. [292]

A female figure symbolizing some kind of reconciling unity and order appears dimly at the end of the great panoramic masques of Faust and Peer Gynt, the "eternal feminine" of the former having some of its traditional links. Modern examples of the same epiphanic form range from Claudel's Annunciation play to Yeats's Countess Cathleen, where the heroine is really a female and Irish Jesus, sacrificing herself for her people and then cheating the devils by the purity of her nature, very much as in the pre-Anselm theory of the atonement. As Yeats remarks in a note, the story represents one of the supreme parables of the world.

Specific Thematic Forms (Lyric and Epos)

We said that the drama was an external and the lyric an internal mimesis of sound and imagery, both genres avoiding the mimesis of direct address. Again, in the terms of our first essay, drama tends to be a fictional and lyric a thematic mode. We found it most convenient to survey the specific forms of drama as a cycle of fictions, and this gave us a rough but possibly useful classification of the species of drama as well. We propose now to make a survey of a corresponding cycle of themes, and apply the survey to the lyric, along with such epos forms, including oratorical prose, as are sufficiently thematic or close to the lyric to belong here. Purely narrative poems, being fictions, will, if episodic, correspond to the species of drama; if continuous, to the species of prose fiction to be examined later.

The lyric, however, can obviously be on any subject and of any shape. It is not conventionalized by its audience, like the drama, or by a fixed radical of presentation, such as the drama has in the theatre. Consequently this survey will not give, and is not intended to give, a classification of specific forms of lyric: what it attempts to give is an account of the chief conventional themes of lyric and epos. Once more, the object is not to "fit" poems into categories, but to show empirically how conventional archetypes get embodied in conventional genres.

Let us start with the oracular associative process that we identified as one of the initiatives of lyric, and which corresponds to what we called the epiphany in drama. One of the most direct products of this is a type of religious poetry marked by a concentration of sound and ambiguity of sense, of which the most familiar [293] modern example is the poetry of Hopkins. In religious poetry with elaborate stanzaic patterns, such as the Pearl and many poems of Herbert, we realize that the discipline of finding rhymes and arranging words in intricate patterns is appropriate to the sense of chastened wit, a type of sacrificium intellectus, that 'goes with the form. Such intricate verbal patterns go back through the acrostics of Aldhelm at the very beginning of poetry in England to the He brew psalms themselves.

We notice that a good deal of sacred literature is written in a style full of puns and verbal echoes, in which the distinction in rhythm between verse and prose is often hard to feel consistently. The English translations of the Bible, especially the 1611, preserve this oracular prose-verse rhythm admirably; the Hebrew puns of course are another matter. The curious sing-song chant of the Koran is a very pure example of oracular style, and the poetic ambiguities of the Classical oracles are in the same convention. Such features survive vestigially throughout religious poetry: in English from Anglo-Saxon times to the opening of the fifth section of Ash Wednesday. From what has been said it is clear that the oracle is the germ or growing point of an oratorical prose rhythm as well. The most obvious result of this is prayer, and prayer seems to re quire a rhetoric of parataxis, short phrases strung together in a rhythm close to free verse.

In the more public type of religious lyric represented by the Apollonian paean, the Hebrew psalm, the Christian hymn, or the Hindu Vedas, the rhythms become more stately, simple, and dignified, the "I" of the poem is one of a visible community of worshippers, and the syntax and diction become less ambiguous. Here the emphasis is usually thrown on the objectivity and ascendancy of the god, and the lyric reflects the sense of an external and social discipline.

The narrative epos form corresponding to the psalm or hymn presents a more connected account of the god. This myth has two main parts: legend, recounting the god's biography or his former dealings with his people; and the description of the ritual he re quires. Often the first leads up to, and provides an explanation for, the second. The Homeric hymns are largely concerned with legend; the Vedic hymns tend to subordinate the past legend to the present ritual. One may compare the "P" narrative of creation with which the Bible opens, and which, in the strophic form given it by the [294] seven days of creation, has many of the characteristics of a hymn: here the account of creation has the establishing of the Sabbath as its climax. In contrast to the more rhapsodic or dithyrambic forms that we shall deal with later, the desire of the worshipper in the paean or psalm is not so much to be identified with his god as to be identified as his worshipper.

Closely related to the hymn is the panegyrical ode to a human representative of deity, whether hero or king. In some of the Hebrew psalms, notably the 45th, the king is the intermediary figure out of which the Messiah, the son of David who reaches the extreme both of exaltation and of suffering for his people, develops. In Greek literature, the Pindaric ode focusses on the victorious athlete who, though a human figure, has the ritual link with deity brought out by the mythology and legend incorporated into the ode. In Roman times the honors paid to the Emperor and the state pro vided another focus for mythological panegyric, which continues in the fourth eclogue of Virgil, the first of Calpurnius, and the Carmen Saeculare of Horace. Later the chief form of panegyric becomes the poem in praise of the Courtly Love mistress. The panegyric is also one of the rhetorical prose forms, not one with a very impressive literary record when its subject is a human being, but capable of some flexibility in more impersonal directions. Prose panegyrics of virtues or aspects of culture, notably poetry, appear from time to time, often in the quasi-legal aspect of the apology or defence. In poetry itself we have such forms as the St. Cecilia ode, the panegyric of music. The epithalamium, the triumph, and similar poems of festivity or procession are also species of panegyric. As it is naturally a public convention, the panegyric is often in an extended form which combines both lyric and epos characteristics.

In the panegyric the poet invites his reader to gaze with him at something else. If this something else is not visibly present, we have the poem of community, such as we get in patriotic verse of all kinds. The poem of community brings us to the next cardinal point of the lyric, defined earlier as the charm or response to some kind of physical or quasi-physical compulsion perhaps propulsion is the word. One's education in this type of charm begins with nursery rhymes, where the infant is swung or bounced to the rhythm, or where the theme includes some form of affectionate assault on the child. It continues through college yells, sing-songs, and similar forms of participation mystique. The national anthem [295] is another form which illustrates the close relationship to the poem of community. In earlier societies we find work songs in peace and battle songs in war, both with the same characteristics. Of epos developments, the best known is the ballad, many features of which, such as incremental repetition and the demand for attention with which it often begins, are so close to the poem of community as to have led some scholars to believe that its origin was in communal composition. The cardinal point of oratorical prose corresponding to the charm is the commandment or exhortation, and of the longer prose forms founded on the exhortation the most highly developed in Western literature is the sermon. Other forms will be mentioned later.

Participation mystique is essentially spasmodic: in primitive com munities it may be sustained for hours by dance, and in decadent ones by oratory, but in a state of culture it falls into the background. For literature, the disappearance of the visible presence of panegyric usually means the invisible presence of death. With the panegyrical funeral ode we move from the conventions corresponding to the dramatic auto to those corresponding to tragedy. Here we meet first of all the elegy or threnody on the death of a hero, friend, leader or mistress. Threnodies also show a strong tendency to mythological expansion: the subject is not only idealized but often exalted into a nature-spirit or dying god. The pastoral elegy, which traditionally identifies its subject with Adonis, forms the conventional center of the threnody. Some of Wordsworth's Lucy poems indicate the capacity of even a very brief and simple elegy to absorb such imagery. The corresponding form in oratorical prose is the oraison funebre, which survives in some forms of modern obituary: here, as is natural for a prose medium, mythological expansion is less marked, and is often replaced by doctrinal or conceptual expansion. A rare and difficult epos form, the tragic panegyric, in which a hero is presented as a tragic figure as well as a conquering hero, is represented by Marvel's ode on Cromwell and by its prototype, the Regulus ode of Horace.

We come to a more isolated form of elegy in the convention of the epitaph, in which the whole shape of a life is frequently indicated. Epitaphs may vary in tone from the panegyrical to the ribald, but even in the Greek Anthology they retain something of their original function as markers, as something visibly set up to arrest the passer-by and compel him to read. The corresponding [296] epos form is the historical epitaph, the meditation over a vanished past which has the same relation to the ruin that the individual epitaph has to the gravestone. In prose there is the rhetorical elegiac meditation represented in English by Browne's Urn Burial.

Still closer to irony is the complaint, the poem of exile, neglect or protest at cruelty. Here the individual demanding attention, unlike the corpse in the epitaph, is able to speak for himself, and is of course usually represented as the poet himself. This theme takes up most of the Courtly Love convention, where the central archetype is the scornful and unrelenting mistress. Such a figure is an ironic reversal of the original form of pastoral elegy. The most logical person to lament the death of Adonis is Venus, though she seldom does so in literature unless that specific myth is the theme; but in most Courtly Love poetry the mistress is responsible for all the lover's sufferings, including his death. We shall meet this ambivalent female figure later in the essay. The complaint is easily extended into epos forms, including narrative tragedies in which the emotional focus is not the catastrophe but the lament following the catastrophe, as in the two narrative poems of Shakespeare.

The phase of tragic irony is represented by the poem of melancholy in its extreme form of accidia or ennui, where the individual is so isolated as to feel his existence a living death. In Baudelaire's geante the scornful mistress takes on a more deeply sinister tone, and the theme of death is presented in terms of simple physical dissolution: "earth upon earth," as a medieval poem has it. The appropriate epos form of this phase is the danse macabre, the poem of the dying community.

Our next cardinal point is difficult to name: we might almost parody Hopkins's term and call it the poem of "outscape." It is the lyrical counterpart of what in drama we call the mime, the center of the irony which is common to tragedy and comedy. It is a convention of pure projected detachment, in which an image, a situation, or a mood is observed with all the imaginative energy thrown outward to it and away from the poet. The word epigram in its broadest sense defines some of its characteristics, except that epigram as ordinarily used leans strongly in the direction of comedy and satire. The lyrical poetry of China and Japan appears to be based very largely on this convention, in striking contrast to Western poetry, where epigram shows much more of a tendency to attach [297] emotions or make out a rhetorical case. Some of Shakespeare's son nets, such as "The expense of spirit in a waste of shame/' are exceptions.

The corresponding cardinal point of prose is the proverb or aphorism, the germ of such forms as the wisdom literature of the Bible. Here we are close to the counsel-of-prudence type of satire, and at the opposite pole from the oracle. The proverb is a secular or purely human oracle: it usually has the same rhetorical features, alliteration, assonance, parallelism, that we find in the oracle, but it is addressed to the detached consciousness and the critical wit. Its authority comes from experience: for it, wisdom is the tried and tested way; only folly seeks what is new, and the essential virtues are prudence and moderation. The proverbs in Blake's Marriage of Heaven and Hell are parody-proverbs, written from the oracular or epiphanic point of view.

As we move into the conventions of satire, either in the lyric forms of Hardy and Housman or the epos form of Dryden and Pope, the features of epigram and proverb persist. Such poets pro duce brilliance and clarity rather than mystery or magic, and their technique is concerned with concentration of sense. Two things are essential to this: one is a tight metrical framework of words stepping along in a sharply outlined order; the other is a clear statement of what sound-patterns we may expect, such as the full ring of the rhyming couplet. Additional or unexpected sound-patterns, such as alliteration or assonance within the line, are kept to a minimum, and the poetry follows Wordsworth's precept in being, except for the metre, very like non-rhetorical prose in its diction. The epos and prose forms of this phase, such as the epistle and the formal satire, are naturally very close together.

In satire observation is still primary, but as the observed phenomena move from the sinister to the grotesque, they grow more illusory and unsubstantial. We note among epos forms a comic counterpart of the danse macabre: the "testament" poem, of which the best known English example is Swift's poem on his death. Closely related to the testament convention are Donne's Anniversaries where the death of a girl expands into a general satire or "anatomy" this term will also meet us later.

We are now in the area corresponding to comedy, and still within the vision of experience. The convention that marks a slight removal from satire is the poem of paradox, i.e., the poem in which [298] some form of paradox is the theme and not simply an incidental feature of the technique. Naturally we find many of this type in the "metaphysical" poetry which makes a regular use of a deliberately forced and consequently humorous conceit. Donne and Herbert provide examples, and so does Emily Dickinson. The paradox is among other things often a paradox of feeling as well, so that we are sometimes in doubt whether to "take" the poem seriously or humorously. The paradox poem belongs in the comedy of experience, near satire, because paradox in poetry is usually an ironic treatment of quixotic love or religion, like the stylized Petrarchan code of which Donne remarks "May barren angels love so," or the vaunting virtue that ignominiously collapses into human nature in some poems of Herbert. Another paradoxical treatment of the Courtly Love convention is the pastourelle, or deadlocked love dialogue. A closely related epos form, recalling the association of comedy with law courts, is the debate, in which two sides of a question are argued at length and then submitted to an umpire, who often postpones or puts off the decision. Examples include The Owl and the Nightingale, Chaucer's Parliament of Fowls, and Spenser's Mutability Cantos.

A less ambiguous form of lyrical comedy is represented by the carpe diem poem based on a moment of pleasure in experience. The mood of such a poem is one of detachment, both subjective and objective. The poet is usually, even when drunk, in full conscious control, and the moment of pleasure itself is detached from time. Most unqualified poems of joy are associated with some kind of innocent vision, as in Blake: the great Epicurean poets, from Horace to Herrick, accept the limitations of joy in experience, its transience in an abyss of "endless night." Even in Herrick there are many features, such as the love of folklore and the imagery of clothes, jewels and perfumes, which indicate an affinity with masque rather than comedy. The limits of ordinary experience in lyrical comedy are reached by the poem of the quiet mind, the triumphant eiron or "settled low content," the serenity which adjusts itself to experience and renounces the emotionally quixotic. Wordsworth's formula of tranquil recollection marks his tendency to remain within the state of experience, in contrast to most Romantics. The epos expression of serenity is frequently the descriptive poem, where the poet climbs a hill and surveys a landscape below, an imitation in experience of the point of epiphany. The poem of [299] the quiet mind, if it has a subject beyond recommending itself, attempts to communicate to the reader a private and secret pos session, which brings us to the next cardinal point, the riddle.

The idea of the riddle is descriptive containment: the subject is not described but circumscribed, a circle of words drawn around it. In simple riddles, the central subject is an image, and the reader feels impelled to guess, that is, to equate the poem to the name or sign-symbol of its image. A slightly more complicated form of riddle is the emblematic vision, probably one of the oldest forms of human communication, where an example will be briefer than description:

And the Lord said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel.

Other prophets are represented as carrying symbolic apparatus around with them, like Diogenes' lantern, a rhetorical device surviving as late as Burke's dagger. Literary developments of the same form include the emblem itself, to the tradition of which Blake's tiger and sunflower and sick rose belong, and such pictorial conceit- poems as Herbert's Pulley. The connection of the emblematic vision with the heraldic image of modern fiction is easy to see. In symbolisme we have a third form of riddle where it is normally a mood rather than an object that is contained. Here, too, as usually happens in sophisticated developments, simpler elements in the same tradition survive vestigially, like the riddling "ptyx" in Mallarmé.

The riddle and emblematic vision are closely related to the corresponding cardinal point of prose, which is the parable or fable, both of which are of course epos forms as well. The fable is the simpler of the two forms, and nearer the simple riddle, the pro viding of the moral in the fable being the counterpart of guessing the riddle. The parable is a more highly developed form with a greater tendency to contain its own moral. In the fable, mythical stylizing (talking animals and the like) is a regular feature of the narrative; in the parable the stylizing is less obvious. Of the parables of Jesus, only the parable of the sheep and goats, which is an apocalypse, makes much use of material outside the realistic range of credibility.

In Herrick's poems on primroses and daffodils we are still very [300] close to the fable and emblem tradition: so close that there is no incongruity in "reading a lecture" from the primroses. Nevertheless Herrick's daffodils, unlike Wordsworth's, are directly confronted, and the confronted image readily becomes personified. Here we are in the area corresponding to the masque in drama, and the innocent vision and the fairyland of animistic romance return. The poem of imaginative confrontation, where a close connection between the poet's mood and the imagery is expressed by the personifying of the imagery, is the genre of the Keats ode, the Grecian Urn being the nearest to the emblem poem. The next step takes us into the pastoral, where we come back to the mode of romance mentioned in the first essay, pity and terror becoming modes of pleasure, usually the beautiful and the sublime respectively. These are generally thought of as a contrast, as they are in Milton's wonderful diptych of idyllic and pensive moods, but occasionally, as in some of the "green" poems of Marvell, we have a poetry of absorption so complete that the two moods seem blended into one.

But when the vision of innocence becomes unified, the contrasting vision of experience often reappears, in a convention that we might call the poem of expanded consciousness, where the poet balances the catharsis of his view of experience with the ecstasis of his view of a spiritual, invisible, or imaginative world. Here, as in the corresponding forms of drama, we have not a direct mimesis of life but a spectacular mimesis of it, able to look down on experience because of the simultaneous presence of another kind of vision. In drama this spectacular mimesis is attained by the help of music as well as spectacle. Music and painting can not express the tragic or comic, which are verbal conceptions only: they express moods which we may fit to tragedy or comedy if we have some literary program ready for them. In our day the most impressive examples of the poem of expanded consciousness are the Eliot quartets and the Duino elegies of Rilke, and the musical references of the one and the pictorial images of the other express the close affinity of the genre with arts which, much more obviously than poetry, do not speak.

The next convention we might call the recognition poem, the poem which reverses the usual associations of dream and waking, so that it is experience that seems to be the nightmare and the vision that seems to be reality. The epos form of this convention includes the medieval love vision, where we have again a spectacle [301] of a direct personal relation, attained by being placed in an extraordinary world. Of lyrical forms, a very pure modern example, generically speaking, is Eliot's Marina, which is close to the corresponding dramatic forms. Many of Rilke's Orpheus sonnets belong to it; it is also the central convention of Vaughan and Traherne. This theme is rare and difficult to handle in the rhythm of prose, but we have it in the Centuries of Meditation, especially the famous "The corn was orient and immortal wheat" passage.

A very important group of recognition poems are the poems of self-recognition, where the poet himself is involved in the awakening from experience into a visionary reality. Examples include Collins's Ode on the Poetical Character, Coleridge's Kubla Khan, and Yeats's Tower and Sailing to Byzantium. This genre is near the boundary line of our next and last group of themes, which bring us back to the oracle again. These are the dithyrambic or rhapsodic forms, where the poet feels taken possession of by some internal and quasi-personal force. Nearest the poem of recognition is the poem of iconic response, such as we have in some of the odes of Crashaw; in Romantic times a more subjective and dithyrambic form became very popular. Shelley's Ode to the West Wind, a good deal of Swinburne, of Victor Hugo, of Nietzsche (who makes the curious statement that he invented the dithyramb), of Blake's prophecies, especially the ninth night of The Four Zoos, and the two great poems of Smart, are examples. Most of these are epos forms: the dithyrambic lends itself readily to recurring metre. Of lyric forms, we may note the convention of the mad song, which we have in Edgar's songs in King Lear, in Yeats's Crazy Jane poems, and sporadically in a few other poets, including Scott. As the singer of a mad song is usually a vagrant, he suggests a closer rapport with mysterious beings and forces, such as nature-spirits, than normal people have. On a more sophisticated level, where the poet suggests the breaking of autonomous visions into his own mind, the illuminations of Rimbaud may be mentioned.

As we come nearer to the oracular rhythm with which we began, the rhythms of verse and prose begin to merge once more. We no tice in Whitman, for example, that there is a strong pause at the end of every line naturally enough, for where the rhythm is irregular there is no point in a run-on line. The rhythm is approaching a form in which the lyrical associative rhythm, the epos line and the prose sentence are becoming much the same unit, a [302] tendency that we can observe in dithyrambic poetry as naive as Ossian's or as sophisticated as the modern French developments of it that follow the Saison en Enfer.

Specific Continuous Forms (Prose Fiction)

In assigning the term fiction to the genre of the written word, in which prose tends to become the predominating rhythm, we collide with the view that the real meaning of fiction is falsehood or unreality. Thus an autobiography coming into a library would be classified as non-fiction if the librarian believed the author, and as fiction if she thought he was lying. It is difficult to see what use such a distinction can be to a literary critic. Surely the word fiction, which, like poetry, means etymologically something made for its own sake, could be applied in criticism to any work of literary art in a radically continuous form, which almost always means a work of art in prose. Or, if that is too much to ask, at least some protest can be entered against the sloppy habit of identifying fiction with the one genuine form of fiction which we know as the novel.

Let us look at a few of the unclassified books lying on the boundary of "non-fiction" and "literature/' Is Tristram Shandy a novel? Nearly everyone would say yes, in spite of its easygoing disregard of "story values." Is Gulliver's Travels a novel? Here most would demur, including the Dewey decimal system, which puts it under "Satire and Humor/' But surely everyone would call it fiction, and if it is fiction, a distinction appears between fiction as a genus and the novel as a species of that genus. Shifting the ground to fiction, then, is Sartor Resartus fiction? If not, why not? If it is, is The Anatomy of Melancholy fiction? Is it a literary form or only a work of "non-fiction" written with "style"? Is Sorrow's Lavengro fiction? Everyman's Library says yes; the World's Classics puts it under "Travel and Topography."
The literary historian who identifies fiction with the novel is greatly embarrassed by the length of time that the world managed to get along without the novel, and until he reaches his great deliverance in Defoe, his perspective is intolerably cramped. He is compelled to reduce Tudor fiction to a series of tentative essays in the novel form, which works well enough for Deloney but makes non sense of Sidney. He postulates a great fictional gap in the seventeenth century which exactly covers the golden age of rhetorical [303] prose. He finally discovers that the word novel, which up to about 1900 was still the name of a more or less recognizable form, has since expanded into a catchall term which can be applied to practically any prose book that is not "on" something. Clearly, this novel-centered view of prose fiction is a Ptolemaic perspective which is now too complicated to be any longer workable, and some more relative and Copernican view must take its place.

When we start to think seriously about the novel, not as fiction, but as a form of fiction, we feel that its characteristics, whatever they are, are such as make, say, Defoe, Fielding, Austen, and James central in its tradition, and Borrow, Peacock, Melville, and Emily Bronte somehow peripheral. This is not an estimate of merit: we may think Moby Dick ''greater" than The Egoist and yet feel that Meredith's book is closer to being a typical novel. Fielding's conception of the novel as a comic epic in prose seems fundamental to the tradition he did so much to establish. In novels that we think of as typical, like those of Jane Austen, plot and dialogue are closely linked to the conventions of the comedy of manners. The conventions of Wuthering Heights are linked rather with the tale and the ballad. They seem to have more affinity with tragedy, and the tragic emotions of passion and fury, which would shatter the balance of tone in Jane Austen, can be safely accommodated here. So can the supernatural, or the suggestion of it, which is difficult to get into a novel. The shape of the plot is different: instead of manoeuvering around a central situation, as Jane Austen does, Emily Bronte tells her story with linear accents, and she seems to need the help of a narrator, who would be absurdly out of place in Jane Austen. Conventions so different justify us in regarding Wuthering Heights as a different form of prose fiction from the novel, a form which we shall here call the romance. Here again we have to use the same word in several different contexts, but romance seems on the whole better than tale, which appears to fit a somewhat shorter form.

The essential difference between novel and romance lies in the conception of characterization. The romancer does not attempt to create "real people" so much as stylized figures which expand into psychological archetypes. It is in the romance that we find Jung's libido, anima, and shadow reflected in the hero, heroine, and villain respectively. That is why the romance so often radiates a glow of subjective intensity that the novel lacks, and why a suggestion of allegory is constantly creeping in around its fringes. Certain [304] elements of character are released in the romance which make it naturally a more revolutionary form than the novel The novelist deals with personality, with characters wearing their personcte or social masks. He needs the framework of a stable society, and many of our best novelists have been conventional to the verge of fussiness. The romancer deals with individuality, with characters in vacuo idealized by revery, and, however conservative he may be, something nihilistic and untamable is likely to keep breaking out of his pages.

The prose romance, then, is an independent form of fiction to be distinguished from the novel and extracted from the miscellaneous heap of prose works now covered by that term. Even in the other heap known as short stories one can isolate the tale form used by Poe, which bears the same relation to the full romance that the stories of Chekhov or {Catherine Mansfield do to the novel. "Pure" examples of either form are never found; there is hardly any modern romance that could not be made out to be a novel, and vice versa. The forms of prose fiction are mixed, like racial strains in human beings, not separable like the sexes. In fact the popular demand in fiction is always for a mixed form, a romantic novel just romantic enough for the reader to project his libido on the hero and his anima on the heroine, and just novel enough to keep these projections in a familiar world. It may be asked, therefore, what is the use of making the above distinction, especially when, though undeveloped in criticism, it is by no means unrealized. It is no surprise to hear that Trollope wrote novels and William Morris romances.

The reason is that a great romancer should be examined in terms of the conventions he chose. William Morris should not be left on the side lines of prose fiction merely because the critic has not learned to take the romance form seriously. Nor, in view of what has been said about the revolutionary nature of the romance, should his choice of that form be regarded as an "escape" from his social attitude. If Scott has any claims to be a romancer, it is not good criticism to deal only with his defects as a novelist. The romantic qualities of The Pilgrim's Progress, too, its archetypal characterization and its revolutionary approach to religious experience, make it a well-rounded example of a literary form: it is not merely a book swallowed by English literature to get some religious bulk in its diet. Finally, when Hawthorne, in the preface to The House of [305] the Seven Gables, insists that his story should be read as romance and not as novel, it is possible that he meant what he said, even though he indicates that the prestige of the rival form has induced the romancer to apologize for not using it.

Romance is older than the novel, a fact which has developed the historical illusion that it is something to be outgrown, a juvenile and undeveloped form. The social affinities of the romance, with its grave idealizing of heroism and purity, are with the aristocracy (for the apparent inconsistency of this with the revolutionary nature of the form just mentioned, see the introductory comment on the mythos of romance in the previous essay) . It revived in the period we call Romantic as part of the Romantic tendency to archaic feudalism and a cult of the hero, or idealized libido. In England the romances of Scott and, in less degree, the Brontes, are part of a mysterious Northumbrian renaissance, a Romantic reaction against the new industrialism in the Midlands, which also produced the poetry of Wordsworth and Burns and the philosophy of Carlyle. It is not surprising, therefore, that an important theme in the more bourgeois novel should be the parody of the romance and its ideals. The tradition established by Don Quixote continues in a type of novel which looks at a romantic situation from its own point of view, so that the conventions of the two forms make up an ironic compound instead of a sentimental mixture. Examples range from Northanger Abbey to Madame Bovary and Lord Jim.

The tendency to allegory in the romance may be conscious, as in The Pilgrim's Progress, or unconscious, as in the very obvious sexual mythopoeia in William Morris. The romance, which deals with heroes, is intermediate between the novel, which deals with men, and the myth, which deals with gods. Prose romance first appears as a late development of Classical mythology, and the prose Sagas of Iceland follow close on the mythical Eddas. The novel tends rather to expand into a fictional approach to history. The soundness of Fielding's instinct in calling Tom Jones a history is confirmed by the general rule that the larger the scheme of a novel becomes, the more obviously its historical nature appears. As it is creative history, however, the novelist usually prefers his material in a plastic, or roughly contemporary state, and feels cramped by a fixed historical pattern. Waverley is dated about sixty years back from the time of writing and Little Dorrit about forty years, but the historical pattern is fixed in the romance and plastic in the [306] novel, suggesting the general principle that most "historical novels" are romances. Similarly a novel becomes more romantic in its appeal when the life it reflects has passed away: thus the novels of Trollope were read primarily as romances during the Second World War. It is perhaps the link with history and a sense of temporal con text that has confined the novel, in striking contrast to the world wide romance, to the alliance of time and Western man.

Autobiography is another form which merges with the novel by a series of insensible gradations. Most autobiographies are inspired by a creative, and therefore fictional, impulse to select only those events and experiences in the writer's life that go to build up an integrated pattern. This pattern may be something larger than him self with which he has come to identify himself, or simply the coherence of his character and attitudes. We may call this very important form of prose fiction the confession form, following St. Augustine, who appears to have invented it, and Rousseau, who established a modern type of it. The earlier tradition gave Religio Medici, Grace Abounding, and Newman's Apologia to English literature, besides the related but subtly different type of confession favored by the mystics.

Here again, as with the romance, there is some value in recognizing a distinct prose form in the confession. It gives several of our best prose works a definable place in fiction instead of keeping them in a vague limbo of books which are not quite literature be cause they are "thought," and not quite religion or philosophy because they are Examples of Prose Style. The confession, too, like the novel and the romance, has its own short form, the familiar essay, and Montaigne's livre de bonne joy is a confession made up of essays in which only the continuous narrative of the longer form is missing. Montaigne's scheme is to the confession what a work of fiction made up of short stories, such as Joyce's Dubliners or Boccaccio's Decameron, is to the novel or romance.

After Rousseau in fact in Rousseau the confession flows into the novel, and the mixture produces the fictional autobiography, the Kunstler-roman, and kindred types. There is no literary reason why the subject of a confession should always be the author himself, and dramatic confessions have been used in the novel at least since Moll Flanders. The "stream of consciousness" technique permits of a much more concentrated fusion of the two forms, but [307] even here the characteristics peculiar to the confession form show up clearly. Nearly always some theoretical and intellectual interest in religion, politics, or art plays a leading role in the confession. It is his success in integrating his mind on such subjects that makes the author of a confession feel that his life is worth writing about. But this interest in ideas and theoretical statements is alien to the genius of the novel proper, where the technical problem is to dissolve all theory into personal relationships. In Jane Austen, to take a familiar instance, church, state, and culture are never examined except as social data, and Henry James has been described as having a mind so fine that no idea could violate it. The novelist who can not get along without ideas, or has not the patience to digest them in the way that James did, instinctively resorts to what Mill calls a "mental history" of a single character. And when we find that a technical discussion of a theory of aesthetics forms the climax of Joyce's Portrait, we realize that what makes this possible is the presence in that novel of another tradition of prose fiction.

The novel tends to be extroverted and personal; its chief interest is in human character as it manifests itself in society. The romance tends to be introverted and personal: it also deals with characters, but in a more subjective way. (Subjective here refers to treatment, not subject-matter. The characters of romance are heroic and there fore inscrutable; the novelist is freer to enter his characters' minds because he is more objective.) The confession is also introverted, but intellectualized in content. Our next step is evidently to discover a fourth form of fiction which is extroverted and intellectual.

We remarked earlier that most people would call Gulliver's Travels fiction but not a novel. It must then be another form of fiction, as it certainly has a form, and we feel that we are turning from the novel to this form, whatever it is, when we turn from Rousseau's Emile to Voltaire's Candide, or from Butler's The Way of All Flesh to the Erewhon books, or from Huxley's Point Counterpoint to Brave New World. The form thus has its own traditions, and, as the examples of Butler and Huxley show, has preserved some integrity even under the ascendancy of the novel. Its existence is easy enough to demonstrate, and no one will challenge the statement that the literary ancestry of Gulliver's Travels and Candide runs through Rabelais and Erasmus to Lucian. But while much has been said about the style and thought of Rabelais, Swift, and [308] Voltaire, very little has been made of them as craftsmen working in a specific medium, a point no one dealing with a novelist would ignore. Another great writer in this tradition, Huxley's master Peacock, has fared even worse, for, his form not being understood, a general impression has grown up that his status in the development of prose fiction is that of a slapdash eccentric. Actually, he is as exquisite and precise an artist in his medium as Jane Austen is in hers.

The form used by these authors is the Menippean satire, also more rarely called the Varronian satire, allegedly invented by a Greek cynic named Menippus. His works are lost, but he had two great disciples, the Greek Lucian and the Roman Varro, and the tradition of Varro, who has not survived either except in fragments, was carried on by Petronius and Apulems. The Menippean satire appears to have developed out of verse satire through the practice of adding prose interludes, but we know it only as a prose form, though one of its recurrent features (seen in Peacock) is the use of incidental verse.

The Menippean satire deals less with people as such than with mental attitudes. Pedants, bigots, cranks, parvenus, virtuosi, enthusiasts, rapacious and incompetent professional men of all kinds, are handled in terms of their occupational approach to life as distinct from their social behavior. The Menippean satire thus resembles the confession in its ability to handle abstract ideas and theories, and differs from the novel in its characterization, which is stylized rather than naturalistic, and presents people as mouthpieces of the ideas they represent. Here again no sharp boundary lines can or should be drawn, but if we compare a character in Jane Austen with a similar character in Peacock we can immediately feel the difference between the two forms. Squire Western belongs to the novel, but Thwackum and Square have Menippean blood in them. A constant theme in the tradition is the ridicule of the philosophus gloriosus, already discussed. The novelist sees evil and folly as social diseases, but the Menippean satirist sees them as diseases of the intellect, as a kind of maddened pedantry which the philosophus gloriosus at once symbolizes and defines.

Petronius, Apuleius, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire all use a loose-jointed narrative form often confused with the romance. It differs from the romance, however (though there is a strong admixture of romance in Rabelais), as it is not primarily concerned with the [309] exploits of heroes, but relies on the free play of intellectual fancy and the kind of humorous observation that produces caricature. It differs also from the picaresque form, which has the novel's interest in the actual structure of society. At its most concentrated the Menippean satire presents us with a vision of the world in terms of a single intellectual pattern. The intellectual structure built up from the story makes for violent dislocations in the customary logic of narrative, though the appearance of carelessness that results reflects only the carelessness of the reader or his tendency to judge by a novel-centered conception of fiction.

The word "satire,' in Roman and Renaissance times, meant either of two specific literary forms of that name, one (this one) prose and the other verse. Now it means a structural principle or attitude, what we have called a mythos. In the Menippean satires we have been discussing, the name of the form also applies to the attitude. As the name of an attitude, satire is, we have seen, a combination of fantasy and morality. But as the name of a form, the term satire, though confined to literature (for as a mythos it may appear in any art, a cartoon, for example), is more flexible, and can be either entirely fantastic or entirely moral. The Menippean adventure story may thus be pure fantasy, as it is in the literary fairy tale. The Alice books are perfect Menippean satires, and so is The Water-Babies, which has been influenced by Rabelais. The purely moral type is a serious vision of society as a single intellectual pattern, in other words a Utopia.

The short form of the Menippean satire is usually a dialogue or colloquy, in which the dramatic interest is in a conflict of ideas rather than of character. This is the favorite form of Erasmus, and is common in Voltaire. Here again the form is not invariably satiric in attitude, but shades off into more purely fanciful or moral discussions, like the Imaginary Conversations of Landor or the "dialogue of the dead." Sometimes this form expands to full length, and more than two speakers are used: the setting then is usually a cena or symposium, like the one that looms so large in Petronius. Plato, though much earlier in the field than Menippus, is a strong influence on this type, which stretches in an unbroken tradition down through those urbane and leisurely conversations which define the ideal courtier in Castiglione or the doctrine and discipline of angling in Walton. A modern development produces the country-house weekends in Peacock, Huxley, and their imitators in which [310] the opinions and ideas and cultural interests expressed are as important as the love-making.

The novelist shows his exuberance either by an exhaustive analysis of human relationships, as in Henry James, or of social phenomena, as in Tolstoy. The Menippean satirist, dealing with intellectual themes and attitudes, shows his exuberance in intellectual ways, by piling up an enormous mass of erudition about his theme or in overwhelming his pedantic targets with an avalanche of their own jargon. A species, or rather sub-species, of the form is the kind of encyclopaedic farrago represented by Athenaeus' Deipnosophists and Macrobius' Saturnalia, where people sit at a banquet and pour out a vast mass of erudition on every subject that might conceivably come up in a conversation. The display of erudition had probably been associated with the Menippean tradition by Varro, who was enough of a polymath to make Quintilian, if not stare and gasp, at any rate call him vir Romanorum eniditissimus. The tendency to expand into an encyclopaedic farrago is clearly marked in Rabelais, notably in the great catalogues of torcheculs and epithets of codpieces and methods of divination. The encyclopaedic compilations produced in the line of duty by Erasmus and Voltaire suggest that a magpie instinct to collect facts is not unrelated to the type of ability that has made them famous as artists. Flaubert* s encyclopaedic approach to the construction of Bouvard et Pecuchet is quite comprehensible if we explain it as marking an affinity with the Menippean tradition.

This creative treatment of exhaustive erudition is the organizing principle of the greatest Menippean satire in English before Swift, Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy. Here human society is studied in terms of the intellectual pattern provided by the conception of melancholy, a symposium of books replaces dialogue, and the result is the most comprehensive survey of human life in one book that English literature had seen since Chaucer, one of Burton's favorite authors. We may note in passing the Utopia in his introduction and his "digressions,' which when examined turn out to be scholarly distillations of Menippean forms: the digression of air, of the marvellous journey; the digression of spirits, of the ironic use of erudition; the digression of the miseries of scholars, of the satire on the philosophus gloriosus. The word "anatomy" in Burton's title means a dissection or analysis, and expresses very accurately the intellectualized approach of his form. We may as well adopt it as a [311] convenient name to replace the cumbersome and in modern times rather misleading "Menippean satire."

The anatomy, of course, eventually begins to merge with the novel, producing various hybrids including the roman a these and novels in which the characters are symbols of social or other ideas, like the proletarian novels of the thirties in this century. It was Sterne, however, the disciple of Burton and Rabelais, who combined them with greatest success. Tristram Shandy may be, as was said at the beginning, a novel, but the digressing narrative, the catalogues, the stylizing of character along "humor" lines, the marvellous journey of the great nose, the symposium discussions, and the constant ridicule of philosophers and pedantic critics are all features that belong to the anatomy.

A clearer understanding of the form and traditions of the anatomy would make a good many elements in the history of literature come into focus. Boethius' Consolation of Philosophy, with its dialogue form, its verse interludes and its pervading tone of contemplative irony, is a pure anatomy, a fact of considerable importance for the understanding of its vast influence. The Compleat Angler is an anatomy because of its mixture of prose and verse, its rural cena setting, its dialogue form, its deipnosophistical interest in food, and its gentle Menippean raillery of a society which considers everything more important than fishing and yet has discovered very few better things to do. In nearly every period of literature there are many romances, confessions, and anatomies that are neglected only because the categories to which they belong are unrecognized. In the period between Sterne and Peacock, for example, we have, among romances, Melmoth the Wanderer; among confessions, Hogg's Confessions of a Justified Sinner; among anatomies, Southey's Doctor, Amory's John Bundle, and the Noctes Ambrosianae.

To sum up then: when we examine fiction from the point of view of form, we can see four chief strands binding it together, novel, confession, anatomy, and romance. The six possible combinations of these forms all exist, and we have shown how the novel has combined with each of the other three. Exclusive concentration on one form is rare: the early novels of George Eliot, for instance, are influenced by the romance, and the later ones by the anatomy. The romance-confession hybrid is found, naturally, in the [312] autobiography of a romantic temperament, and is represented in English by the extroverted George Borrow and the introverted De Quincey. The romance-anatomy one we have noticed in Rabelais; a later example is Moby Dick, where the romantic theme of the wild hunt expands into an encyclopaedic anatomy of the whale. Confession and anatomy are united in Sartor Resartus and in some of Kierkegaard's strikingly original experiments in prose fiction form, including Either/Or. More comprehensive fictional schemes usually employ at least three forms: we can see strains of novel, romance, and confession in Pamela, of novel, romance, and anatomy in Don Quixote, of novel, confession, and anatomy in Proust, and of romance, confession, and anatomy in Apuleius.

I deliberately make this sound schematic in order to suggest the advantage of having a simple and logical explanation for the form of, say, Moby Dick or Tristram Shandy. The usual critical approach to the form of such works resembles that of the doctors in Brob- dingnag, who after great wrangling finally pronounced Gulliver a lusus naturae. It is the anatomy in particular that has baffled critics, and there is hardly any fiction writer deeply influenced by it who has not been accused of disorderly conduct. The reader may be reminded here of Joyce, for describing Joyce's books as monstrous has become a nervous tic. I find "demogorgon," "behemoth," and "white elephant" in good critics; the bad ones could probably do much better. The care that Joyce took to organize Ulysses and Finnegans Wake amounted nearly to obsession, but as they are not organized on familiar principles of prose fiction, the impression of shapelessness remains. Let us try our formulas on him.

If a reader were asked to set down a list of the things that had most impressed him about Ulysses, it might reasonably be some what as follows. First, the clarity with which the sights and sounds and smells of Dublin come to life, the rotundity of the character-drawing, and the naturalness of the dialogue. Second, the elaborate way that the story and characters are parodied by being set against archetypal heroic patterns, notably the one provided by the Odyssey. Third, the revelation of character and incident through the searching use of the stream-of-consciousness technique. Fourth, the constant tendency to be encyclopaedic and exhaustive both in technique and in subject matter, and to see both in highly intellectualized terms. It should not be too hard for us by now to see that these four points describe elements in the book which relate to [313] the novel, romance, confession, and anatomy respectively. Ulysses, then, is a complete prose epic with all four forms employed in it, all of practically equal importance, and all essential to one another, so that the book is a unity and not an aggregate.

This unity is built up from an intricate scheme of parallel contrasts. The romantic archetypes of Hamlet and Ulysses are like remote stars in a literary heaven looking down quizzically on the shabby creatures of Dublin obediently intertwining themselves in the patterns set by their influences. In the "Cyclops" and "Circe" episodes particularly there is a continuous parody of realistic patterns by romantic ones which reminds us, though the irony leans in the opposite direction, of Madame Bovary. The relation of novel and confession techniques is similar; the author jumps into his characters' minds to follow their stream of consciousness, and out again to describe them externally. In the novel-anatomy combination, too, found in the "Ithaca" chapter, the sense of lurking antagonism between the personal and intellectual aspects of the scene accounts for much of its pathos. The same principle of parallel contrast holds good for the other three combinations: of romance and confession in "Nausicaa" and "Penelope," of confession and anatomy in "Proteus" and "The Lotos-Eaters," of romance and anatomy (a rare and fitful combination) in "Sirens" and parts of "Circe."

In Finnegans Wake the unity of design goes far beyond this. The dingy story of the sodden HCE and his pinched wife is not contrasted with the archetypes of Tristram and the divine king: HCE is himself Tristram and the divine king. As the setting is a dream, no contrast is possible between confession and novel, between a stream of consciousness inside the mind and the appearances of other people outside it, Nor is the experiential world of the novel to be separated from the intelligible world of the anatomy. The forms we have been isolating in fiction, and which depend for their existence on the commonsense dichotomies of the daylight consciousness, vanish in Finnegans Wake into a fifth and quintessential form. This form is the one traditionally associated with scriptures and sacred books, and treats life in terms of the fall and awakening of the human soul and the creation and apocalypse of nature. The Bible is the definitive example of it; the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the Icelandic Prose Edda, both of which have left deep imprints on Finnegans Wake, also belong to it. [314]

Specific Encyclopaedic Forms

We met in the first essay the principle that in every age of literature there tends to be some kind of central encyclopaedic form, which is normally a scripture or sacred book in the mythical mode, and some "analogy of revelation,' as we called it, in the other modes. In our culture the central sacred book is the Christian Bible, which is also probably the most systematically constructed sacred book in the world. To say that the Bible is "more" than a work of literature is merely to say that other methods of approaching it are possible. No book could have had its influence on literature without itself having literary qualities, and the Bible is a work of literature as long as it is being examined by a literary critic.

The absence of any genuinely literary criticism of the Bible in modern times (until very recently) has left an enormous gap in our knowledge of literary symbolism as a whole, a gap which all the new knowledge brought to bear on it is quite incompetent to fill. I feel that historical scholarship is without exception "lower" or analytic criticism, and that "higher" criticism would be a quite different activity. The latter seems to me to be a purely literary criticism which would see the Bible, not as the scrapbook of corruptions, glosses, redactions, insertions, conflations, misplacings, and misunderstandings revealed by the analytic critic, but as the typological unity which all these things were originally intended to help construct. The tremendous cultural influence of the Bible is inexplicable by any criticism of it which stops where it begins to look like something with the literary form of a specialist's stamp collection. A genuine higher criticism of the Bible, therefore, would be a synthetizing process which would start with the assumption that the Bible is a definitive myth, a single archetypal structure extending from creation to apocalypse. Its heuristic principle would be St. Augustine's axiom that the Old Testament is revealed in the New and the New concealed in the Old: that the two testaments are not so much allegories of one another as metaphorical identifications of one another. We cannot trace the Bible back, even historically, to a time when its materials were not being shaped into a typological unity, and if the Bible is to be regarded as inspired in any sense, sacred or secular, its editorial and redacting processes must be regarded as inspired too.

This is the only way in which we can deal with the Bible as [315] the major informing influence on literary symbolism which it actually has been. Such an approach would be a conservative criticism recovering and re-establishing the traditional typologies based on the assumption of its figurative unity. The historical critic of the Song of Songs, for instance, is largely concerned with fertility cults and village festivals: the cultural criticism of it would concern itself mainly with the developments of its symbolism in Dante, Bernard of Clairvaux and other mystics and poets, for whom it represented the love of Christ for his Church. This latter is not an allegory inappropriately stuck on to the poem, but the larger archetypal or cultural context of interpretation into which it has been fitted. There is no need to choose between the two types of criticism; no need to regard the book's literary career as the result of a prudish distortion or over-imaginative mistake; no need to treat the view of it as a voluptuous orientate as a modern and an ironic discovery.

Once our view of the Bible comes into proper focus, a great mass of literary symbols from The Dream of the Rood to Little Gidding begins to take on meaning. We are concerned at present with the heroic quest of the central figure called the Messiah, who is associated with various royal figures in the Old Testament and identified with Christ in the New. The stages and symbols of this quest have been dealt with under the mythos of romance. A mysterious birth is followed by an epiphany or recognition as God's son; symbols of humiliation, betrayal, and martyrdom, the so-called suffering servant complex, follow, and in their turn are succeeded by symbols of the Messiah as bridegroom, as conqueror of a monster, and as the leader of his people into their rightful home. The oracles of the original prophets appear to have been mainly if not entirely denunciatory, but they have been furnished with "post-exilic" sequels which help to infuse the whole Bible with the rhythm of the total cyclical mythos in which disaster is followed by restoration, humiliation by prosperity, and which we find in epitome in the stories of Job and the prodigal son.

The Bible as a whole, therefore, presents a gigantic cycle from creation to apocalypse, within which is the heroic quest of the Messiah from incarnation to apotheosis. Within this again are three other cyclical movements, expressed or implied: individual from birth to salvation; sexual from Adam and Eve to the apocalyptic wedding; social from the giving of the law to the established [316] kingdom of the law, the rebuilt Zion of the Old Testament and the millennium of the New. These are all completed or dialectic cycles, where the movement is first down and then up to a permanently redeemed world. In addition there is the ironic or "all too human" cycle, the mere cycle of human life without redemptive assistance, which goes recurrently through the "same dull round," in Blake's phrase, from birth to death. Here the final cadence is one of bondage, exile, continuing war, or destruction by fire (Sodom, Babylon) or water (the flood). These two forms of cyclical movement supply us with two epic frameworks: the epic of return and the epic of wrath. The fact that the cycle of life and death and rebirth is closely analogous in its symbolism to the Messianic cycle of pre-existence, life-in-death and resurrection gives us a third type of analogical epic. A fourth type is the contrast-epic, where one pole is the ironic human situation and the other the origin or continuation of a divine society.

Even in myth the full apocalyptic cadence is rare, though it occurs in Northern mythology, in the Eddas and the Muspilli, and the last book of the Mahabharata is an entry into heaven. There are myths of apotheosis, as in the legend of Hercules, and of salvation, as in the Osiris symbolism of the Book of the Dead, but the main concern of most sacred books is to lay down the law, chiefly of course the ceremonial law. The resulting shape is an embryonic form of contrast-epic: myths accounting for the origin of law, including creation myths, are at one pole and human society under the law is at the other. The antiquity of the contrast-epic is indicated by the epic of Gilgamesh, where the hero's search for im mortality leads him only to hear about the end of the natural cycle, symbolized here, as in the Bible, by a flood. The collections of myth made by Hesiod and Ovid are based on the same form: here the poet himself, a victim of injustice or exile, has a prominent place at the human pole. The same structure is carried on through Boethius, where the two poles are the lost golden age. and the poet in prison falsely accused, into medieval times.

Romantic encyclopaedic forms use human or sacramental imitations of the Messianic myth, like the quest of Dante in the Commedia, of St. George in Spenser, and of the knights of the Holy Grail. The Commedia reverses the usual structure of the contrast-epic, as it starts with the ironic human situation and ends with divine vision. The human nature of Dante's quest is [317] established by the fact that he is unable to overcome or even to face the monsters who confront him at the beginning: his quest thus begins in a retreat from the conventional knight-errant role. In Langlanc's great vision we have the first major English treatment of the contrast-epic. At one pole is the risen Christ and the salvation of Piers: at the other is the somber vision of human life which presents at the end of the poem something very like a triumph of Antichrist. The Faerie Queene was to have ended with an epithalamium, which would probably have been filled with Biblical bride groom imagery, but as we have it the poem ends with the Blatant Beast of calumny still at large and the poet a victim of it.

In the high mimetic we reach the structure that we think of as typically epic, the form represented by Homer, Virgil, and Milton. The epic differs from the narrative in the encyclopaedic range of its theme, from heaven to the underworld, and over an enormous mass of traditional knowledge. A narrative poet, a Southey or a Lydgate, may write any number of narratives, but an epic poet normally completes only one epic structure, the moment when he decides on his theme being the crisis of his life.

The cyclical form of the Classical epic is based on the natural cycle, a mediterranean known world in the middle of a boundless ness (apeiron) and between the upper and the lower gods. The cycle has two main rhythms: the life and death of the individual, and the slower social rhythm which, in the course of years (periplomenon eniauton in Homer, volvibus or labentibus annis in Virgil), brings cities and empires to their rise and fall. The steady vision of the latter movement is possible only to gods. The convention of beginning the action in medias res ties a knot in time, so to speak. The total action in the background of the Iliad moves from the cities of Greece through the ten-year siege of Troy back to Greece again; the total action of the Odyssey is a specialized example of the same thing, moving from Ithaca back to Ithaca. The Aeneid moves with the household gods of Priam, from Troy to New Troy.

The foreground action begins at a point describe4 in the Odyssey as hamothen, "somewhere": actually, it is far more carefully chosen. All three epics begin at a kind of nadir of the totel cyclical action: the Iliad, at a moment of despair in the Greek camp; the Odyssiey, with Odysseus and Penelope furthest from one another, both wooed by importunate suitors; the Aeneid, with its hero [318] shipwrecked on the shores of Carthage, citadel of Juno and enemy of Rome. From there, the action moves both backward and forward far enough to indicate the general shape of the historical cycle. The discovery of the epic action is the sense of the end of the total action as like the beginning, and hence of a consistent order and balance running through the whole. This consistent order is not a divine fiat or fatalistic causation, but a stability in nature controlled by the gods, and extended to human beings if they accept it. The sense of this stability is not necessarily tragic, but it is the kind of sense that makes tragedy possible.

It does so in the Iliad, for example. The number of valid reasons for praising the Iliad would fill a bigger book than this, but the relevant reason for us here is the fact that its theme is menis, a song of wrath. It is hardly possible to overestimate the importance for Western literature of the Iliad's demonstration that the fall of an enemy, no less than of a friend or leader, is tragic and not comic. With the Iliad, once for all, an objective and disinterested element enters into the poet's vision of human life. Without this element, poetry is merely instrumental to various social aims, to propaganda, to amusement, to devotion, to instruction: with it, it acquires the authority that since the Iliad it has never lost, an authority based, like the authority of science, on the vision of nature as an impersonal order.

The Odyssey begins the other tradition of the epic of return. The story is a romance of a hero escaping safely from incredible perils and arriving in the nick of time to claim his bride and baffle the villains, but our central feeling about it is a much more prudent sense, rooted in all our acceptance of nature, society, and law, of the proper master of the house coming to reclaim his own. The Aeneid develops the theme of return into one of rebirth, the end in New Troy being the starting-point renewed and transformed by the hero's quest. The Christian epic carries the same themes into a wider archetypal context. The action of the Bible, from the poetic point of view, includes the themes of the three great epics: the theme of the destruction and captivity of the city in the Iliad, the theme of the nostos or return home in the Odyssey, and the theme of the building of the new city in the Aeneid. Adam is, like Odysseus, a man of wrath, exiled from home because he angered God by going hyper moron, beyond his limit as a man. In both stories the provoking act is symbolized by the eating of food [319] reserved for deity. As with Odysseus, Adam's return home is contingent on the appeasing of divine wrath by divine wisdom (Poseidon and Athene reconciled by the will of Zeus in Homer; the Father reconciled with man in the Christian atonement). Israel carries its ark from Egypt to the Promised Land just as Aeneas carries his household goods from the fallen Troy to the eternally established one.

Hence there is, as we go from the Classical to the Christian epic, a progress in completeness of theme (not in any kind of value), as Milton indicates in such phrases as 'Beyond the Aonian mount,' In Milton the foreground action of the epic is again the nadir of the total cyclical action, the fall of Satan and Adam. From there the action works backward through the speech of Raphael, and forward through the speech of Michael, to the beginning and end of the total action. The beginning is God's presence among the angels before the Son is manifested to them; the end comes after the apocalypse when God again is "all in all," but the beginning and end are the same point, the presence of God, renewed and transformed by the heroic quest of Christ. As a Christian, Milton has to reconsider the epic theme of heroic action, to decide what in Christian terms a hero is and what an act is. Heroism for him consists in obedience, fidelity and perseverance through ridicule or persecution, and is exemplified by Abdiel, the faithful angel. Action for him means positive or creative act, exemplified by Christ in the creation of the world and the recreation of man. Satan thus takes over the traditional qualities of martial heroism: he is the wrathful Achilles, the cunning Ulysses, the knight-errant who achieves the perilous quest of chaos; but he is from God's point of view a mock-hero, what man in his fallen state naturally turns to with admiration as the idolatrous form of the kingdom, the power, and the glory.

In the low mimetic period the encyclopaedic structure tends to become either subjective and mythological, or objective and historical. The former is usually expressed in epos and the latter in prose fiction. The main attempts to combine the two were made, somewhat unexpectedly, in France, and extend from the fragments left by Chenier to Victor Hugo's Legendes des Siecles. Here the theme of heroic action is transferred, consistently with low mimetic conventions, from the leader to humanity as a whole. Hence the [320] fulfilment of the action is conceived mainly as social improvement in the future.

In the traditional epic the gods affect the action from a continuous present: Athene and Venus appear epiphanically, on definite occasions, to illuminate or cheer the hero at that moment. To gain information about the future, or what is "ahead" in terms of the lower cycle of life, it is normally necessary to descend to a lower world of the dead, as is done in the nekyia, or katabasis, in the eleventh book of the Odyssey and the sixth of the Aeneid. Similarly in Dante the damned know the future but not the present, and in Milton the forbidden knowledge which "brought death into the world" is actualized in the form of Michael's prophecy of the future. We are thus not surprised to find a great increase, in the low mimetic period of future hopes, of a sense of Messianic powers as coming from "underneath" or through esoteric and hermetic traditions. Prometheus Unbound is the most familiar English example: the attempt to insert a katabasis into the second part of Faust, first as the descent to the "mothers" and then as the Classical Walpurgis Night, was evidently one of the most baffling structural problems in that work. Sometimes, how ever, the katabasis is combined with and complemented by the more traditional point of epiphany, Keats's Endymion goes "down" in search of truth and "up" in search of beauty, discovering, not surprisingly for Keats, that truth and beauty are the same. In Hyperion some alignment between a Dionysian "below" and an Apollonian "above" was clearly on the agenda. Eliot's Burnt Norton is founded on the principle that 'the way up and the way down are the same,' which resolves this dichotomy in Christian terms. Time in this world is a horizontal line, and God's timeless presence is a vertical one crossing it at right angles, the crossing point being the Incarnation. The rose garden and subway episodes outline the two semi-circles of the cycle of nature, the upper one the romantic mythopoeic fantasy world of innocence and the lower the world of experience. But if we go further up than the rose garden and further down than the subway we reach the same point.

Comedy and irony supply us with parody-symbolism, of which the relation of the bound Gulliver in Lilliput to Prometheus, of the staggering hod-carrier in Finnegans Wake to Adam, of the made- leine cake in Proust to the Eucharist, are examples on varying levels of seriousness. Here too belongs the kind of use of archetypal [321] structure made in Absalom and Achitophel, where the resemblance between the story and its Old Testament model is treated as a series of witty coincidences. The theme of encyclopaedic parody is endemic in satire, and in prose fiction is chiefly to be found in the anatomy, the tradition of Apuleius and Rabelais and Swift. Satires and novels show a relation corresponding to that of epics and narratives: the more novels a novelist writes the more successful he is y but Rabelais, Burton, and Sterne build their creative lives around one supreme effort. Hence it is in satire and irony that we should look for the continuing encyclopaedic tradition, and we should expect that the containing form of the ironic or satiric epic would be the pure cycle, in which every quest, however successful or heroic, has sooner or later to be made over again.

In Blake's poem The Mental Traveller we have a vision of the cycle of human life, from birth to death to rebirth. The two charac ters of the poem are a male and a female figure, moving in opposite directions, one growing old as the other grows young, and vice versa. The cyclical relation between them runs through four cardi nal points: a son-mother phase, a husband-wife phase, a father- daughter phase, and a fourth phase of what Blake calls spectre and emanation, terms corresponding roughly to Shelley's alastor and epipsyche. None of these phases is quite true: the mother is on ly a nurse, the wife merely "bound down" for the male's delight, the daughter a changeling, and the emanation does not "emanate," but remains elusive. The male figure represents humanity, and therefore includes women the "female will" in Blake becomes associated with women only when women dramatize or mimic the above relation in human life, as they do in the Courtly Love con vention. The female figure represents the natural environment which man partially but never wholly subdues. The controlling symbolism of the poem, as the four phases suggest, is lunar.

To the extent that the encyclopaedic form concerns itself with the cycle of human life, an ambivalent female archetype appears in it, sometimes benevolent, sometimes sinister, but usually presid ing over and confirming the cyclical movement. One pole of her is represented by an Isis figure, a Penelope or Solveig who is the fixed point on which the action ends. The goddess who frequently be gins and ends the cyclical action is closely related. This figure is Athene in the Odyssey and Venus in the Aeneid; in Elizabethan literature, for political reasons, usually some variant of Diana, like [322] the Faerie Queen in Spenser. The alma Venus who suffuses Lu cretius' great vision of life balanced in the order of nature is an other version. Beatrice in Dante presides over not a cycle "but a sacramental spiral leading up to deity, as does, in a far less concrete way, the Ewig-Weibliche of Faust. At the opposite pole is a figure- Calypso or Circe in Homer, Dido in Virgil, Cleopatra in Shake speare, Duessa in Spenser, sometimes a "terrible mother" but often sympathetically treated who represents the opposite direction from the heroic quest. Eve in Milton, who spirals man downward into the Fall, is the contrasting figure to Beatrice.

In the ironic age there are naturally a good many visions of a cycle of experience, often presided over by a female figure with lunar and femme fatale affiliations. Yeats's Vision, which Yeats was quite right in associating with The Mental Traveller, is based on this symbolism, and more recently Mr. Robert Graves' The White Goddess has expounded it with even greater learning and ingenuity. In Eliot's Waste Land the figure in the background is less "the lady of situations" than the androgynous Teiresias, and although there is a fire sermon and a thunder sermon, both with apocalyptic overtones, the natural cycle of water, the Thames flowing into the sea and returning through death by water in the spring rains, is the containing form of the poem. In Joyce's Ulysses a female figure at once maternal, marital, and meretricious, a Penelope who em braces all her suitors, merges in her sleep with the drowsy spinning earth, constantly affirming but never forming, and taking the whole book with her.

But it is Finnegans Wake which is the chief ironic epic of our time. Here again the containing structure is cyclical, as the end of the book swings us around to the beginning again. Finnegan never really wakes up, because HCE fails to establish any continuity between his dreaming and waking worlds. The central figure is ALP, but we notice that ALP, although she has very little of the Beatrice or Virgin Mary about her, has even less of the femme fatale. She is a harried but endlessly patient and solicitous wife and mother: she runs through her natural cycle and achieves no quest herself, but she is clearly the kind of being who makes a quest possible. Who then is the hero who achieves the permanent quest in Finnegans Wake? No character in the book itself seems a likely candidate; yet'one feels that this book gives us something more than the merely irresponsible irony of a turning cycle. [323] Eventually it dawns on us that it is the reader who achieves the quest, the reader who, to the extent that he masters the book of Doublends Jined, is able to look down on its rotation, and see its form as some thing more than rotation.

In encyclopaedic forms, such as the epic and its congeners, we see how the conventional themes, around which lyrics cluster, re appear as episodes of a longer story. Thus the panegyric reappears in the klea andron or heroic contests, the poem of community ac tion in the convention of the games, the elegy in heroic death, and so on. The reverse development occurs when a lyric on a conventional theme achieves a concentration that expands it into a miniature epic: if not the historical "little epic" or epyllion, some thing very like it generically. Thus Lycidas is a miniature scriptural epic extending over the whole range covered by Paradise Lost, the death of man and his redemption by Christ. Spenser's Epithalamion also probably contains in miniature as much symbolic range as the unwritten conclusion to his epic would have had. In modern times the miniature epic becomes a very common form: the later poems of Eliot, of Edith Sitwell, and many cantos of Pound belong to it.

Often too, in illustration of our general principle, a miniature epic actually forms part of a bigger one. The prophecy of Michael in Paradise Lost presents the whole Bible as a miniature contrast- epic, with one pole at the apocalypse and the other at the flood. The Bible itself contains the Book of Job, which is a kind of microcosm of its total theme, and is cited by Milton as the model for the "brief" epic.

Similarly, oratorical prose develops into the more continuous forms of prose fiction, and similarly too the growing points of prose, so to speak, which we called the commandment, parable, aphorism, and oracle, reappear as the kernels of scriptural forms. In many types of prose romance verse or characteristics of verse are promi nent: the old Irish epics, euphuism in Elizabethan romance, the rhyming prose of the Arabian Nights, the use of poems for culti vated dialogue in the Japanese Tale of Genji, are random examples showing how universal the tendency is. But as epos grows into epic, it conventionalizes and unifies its metre, while prose goes its own way in separate forms. In the low mimetic period the gap between the subjective mythological epic and the objective historical one [324] is increased by the fact that the former seems to belong by its decorum to verse and the latter to prose. In prose satire, however, we notice a strong tendency on the part of prose to reabsorb verse. We have mentioned the frequency of the verse interlude in the anatomy tradition, and in the melos of Rabelais, Sterne and Joyce the tendency is carried much farther. In scriptural forms, we have seen, the gap between prose and verse is very narrow, and some times hardly exists at all.

We come back to where we started this section, then, to the Bible, the only form which unites the architectonics of Dante with the disintegration of Rabelais. From one point of view, the Bible presents an epic structure of unsurpassed range, consistency and completeness; from another, it presents a seamy side of bits and pieces which makes the Tale of a Tub, Tristram Shandy, and Sartor Resartus look as homogeneous as a cloudless sky. Some mystery is here which literary criticism might find it instructive to look into.

When we do look into it, we find that the sense of unified con tinuity is what the Bible has as a work of fiction, as a definitive myth extending over time and space, over invisible and visible orders of reality, and with a parabolic dramatic structure of which the five acts are creation, fall, exile, redemption, and restoration. The more we study this myth, the more its descriptive or sigmatic aspect seems to fall into the background. For most readers, myth, legend, historical reminiscence, and actual history are inseparable in the Bible; and even what is historical fact is not there because it is "true" but because it is mythically significant. The begats in Chronicles may be authentic history; the Book of Job is clearly an imaginative drama, but the Book of Job is more important, and closer to Christ's practice of revelation through parable. The priority of myth to fact is religious as well as literary; in both con texts the significance of the flood story is in its imaginative status as an archetype, a status which no layer of mud on top of Sumeria will ever account for. When we apply this principle to the gospels, with all the variations in their narratives, the descriptive aspect of them too dissolves. The basis of their form is something other than biography, just as the basis of the Exodus story is something other than history.

At this point the analytic view of the Bible begins to come into focus as the thematic aspect of it In proportion as the continuous [325] fictional myth begins to look illusory, as the text breaks down into smaller and smaller fragments, it takes on the appearance of a se quence of epiphanies, a discontinuous but rightly ordered series of significant moments of apprehension or vision. The Bible may thus be examined from an* aesthetic or Aristotelian point of view as a single form, as a story in which pity and terror, which in this con text are the knowledge of good and evil, are raised and cast out. Or it may be examined from a Longinian point of view as a series of ecstatic moments or points of expanding apprehension this ap proach is in fact the assumption on which every selection of a text for a sermon is based. Here we have a critical principle which we can take back to literature and apply to anything we like, a prin ciple in which the "holism," as it has been called, of Coleridge and the discontinuous theories of Foe, Hulme, and Pound are recon ciled, Yet the Bible is "more" than a work of literature, so perhaps the principle has a wider range of extension even than literature, In any case we have gone as far as we can within literature, and the remainder of this book will be concerned with the literary aspect of verbal structures generally called non-literary.

The Rhetoric of Non-Literary Prose

Prose is, unlike verse, used also for non-literary purposes; it ex tends not only to the literary boundaries of melos and opsis, but to the outer worlds of praxis and theoria, social action and indi vidual thought themselves. Renaissance critics used to argue about what the greatest form for poetry was, and whether it was epic or tragedy. There is probably no answer to such a question, but one can learn a good deal about literary form by discussing it. Now if we ask the question: What is the greatest possible prose form? there is probably no answer to that question either, but the moment we ask it, a great number of works, the Bible, the dialogues of Plato, the meditations of Pascal in fact, all "great books" usually placed outside literature leap into a new literary significance, It is thus necessary for us at this point to consider what literary elements are involved in the verbal structures in which the literary or hypo thetical intention is not the primary one,
We are still thinking of literature as facing the world of social action on one side, and of individual thought on the other, so that the rhetoric of non-literary prose would tend to emphasize emotion [326] and the appeal to action through the ear in the former area, and intellect and the appeal to contemplation based predominantly on visual metaphors in the latter. Let us begin with that extensive suburb of prose that is concerned with the technique of social or oratorical persuasion.

The most concentrated examples of this are to be found in the pamphlet or speech that catches the rhythm of history, that seizes on a crucial event or phase of action, interprets it, articulates the emotions concerned with it, or in some means employs a verbal structure to insulate and conduct the current of history. Areopa- gitica, Johnson's letter to Chesterfield, some sermons in the pe riod between Latimer and the Commonwealth, some of Burke's speeches, Lincoln's Gettysburg address, Vanzetti's death speech, Churchill's 1940 speeches, are a few examples that come readily to mind. None of these were designed with a primarily literary intention, and would have failed of their original purpose if they had been, but they are literary now, and data for the critic. Nearly all of them are marked by the emphatic patterns of repetition and anaphora characteristic of rhetorical prose.

The measured cadences of these historical oracles represent a kind of strategic withdrawal from action: they marshal and review the ranks of familiar but deeply-held ideas. The rhetoric of persua sion to action itself, which is the next stage of prose as we proceed from literature outwards into social life, is considerably stepped up in its rhythm. Here the repetitions are hypnotic and incantatory, aimed at breaking down customary associations of ideas and habitual responses, and at excluding any alternative line of action. Such a rhetoric may be heard in its purest form in the speech rhythms of a boy talking to a dog, with the object of persuading him to sit up or shake hands or otherwise move out of the normal line of canine endeavor. When addressed to a human audience, such rhetoric must follow the dialectic of rhetoric: it must have either a rallying point or a point of attack, or both. The rhetoric of attack or in vective is exemplified in the pulpit's crusade against sin and in the prosecutor's summing-up in the courtroom. The latter has produced the by-form of the philippic, the indictment of a social enemy. The rhetoric of eulogy, the so-called epideictic rhetoric of the Classical world, is in our day most clearly seen in advertising and publicity, although it has a more genuinely literary form in the type of "purple [327] passage" prose, usually with a descriptive content, that attempts to communicate some kind of wordless emotion.

As these examples show, we are moving rapidly away from litera ture towards the direct verbal expression of kinetic emotion. The further we go in this direction, the more likely the author is to be, or to pretend to be, emotionally involved with his subject, so that what he exhorts us to embrace or avoid is in part a projection from his own emotional life. As this increases, a certain automatism comes into the writing: the verbal expression of infantile-centered hatreds, fears, loves, and objects of adoration. When Swinburne speaks of "the yelling Yahoos whom the scandalous and senseless license of our own day allows to run and roar about the country unmuzzled and unwhipped," we may not know what he is referring to, but a glance at the prose structure, with its automatic allitera tion and doubling of adjectives, makes it clear that whatever it is we hardly need to take it seriously. Such writing is a familiar and easily recognized phenomenon: it is tantrum prose, the prose of so much Victorian criticism, of several acres of Carlyle and Ruskin, of clerical denunciations of heresies or secular amusements, of totalitarian propaganda, and in fact of nearly all rhetoric in which we feel that the author's pen is running away from him, setting up a mechanical for an imaginative impetus. The metaphor of "in toxication" is often employed for the breakdown of rhetorical control.

The more incoherent this kind of rhetoric becomes, the more clearly it shows itself to be an attempt to express emotion apart from or without intellect. At this point we enter the area of emo tional jargon, which consists largely in an obsessive repetition of verbal formulas. Not far removed is the kind of vulgar inarticulate ness that uses one word, generally unprintable, for the whole rhetori cal ornament of the sentence, including adjectives, adverbs, epi thets, and punctuation. Finally, words disappear altogether, and we are back to a primitive language of screams and gestures and sighs. The whole sequence can of course be imitated within literature, Shakespeare giving us everything from Henry V's address before the walls of Harfleur to Othello's "goats and monkeys" speech. The imitation of emotional rhetoric in literary prose is a feature making for melos in the latter. Similarly in literature we occasionally run across a writer who uses such rhetorical material without being able to absorb or assimilate it: the result is pathological, a kind of [328] literary diabetes, and may be studied in the novels of Amanda Ros.

The expression of conceptual thought in prose exhibits a parallel sequence of phenomena, moving in the opposite direction. Philos ophy is assertive or prepositional writing, and we notice in the history of philosophy a persistent attempt to isolate the rhythm of the proposition. Philosophy begins in proverbs and axioms/and at vari ous times it has produced the dialectic dialogue of Plato and the Upanishads, the closely related question-objection-answer scheme of St. Thomas, the quasi-mathematical arrangements of ideas in Spi noza, the aphorisms of Bacon (who remarks that aphorisms are a sign of vitality in philosophy) , and, in our day, the numbered prop ositions of Wittgenstein's Tractates. All of these are clearly at least in part endeavors to purify verbal communication of the emo tional content of rhetoric; all of them, however, impress the literary critic as being themselves rhetorical devices.

The implication is that there is a conceptual rhetoric aimed, like persuasive rhetoric, at separating emotion and intellect, but at tempting to throw away the emotional half. It seeks the book and the individual reader as its fellow seeks the audience; its goal is understanding as the goal of persuasion is action or emotional re sponse. A good deal of the strategy of teaching is rhetorical strategy, choosing words and images with great care in order to evoke the response: "I never thought of it that way before," or "Now that you put it that way, I can see it." What distinguishes, not simply the epigram, but profundity itself from platitude .is very frequently rhetorical wit. In fact it may be doubted whether we ever really call an idea profound unless we are pleased with the wit of its expres sion. Teaching, like persuasion, employs a dissociative rhetoric aimed at breaking down habitual response: the maddening prolixity of Oriental sutras results from this, and there are passages in the New Testament almost as dissociative as Gertrude Stein:

That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) That which we have seen and heard de clare we unto you ... [329]

Without trying to suggest that only good writers can be good philosophers, we may still observe that much of the difficulty in a philosophical style is rhetorical in origin, resulting from a feeling that it is necessary to detach and isolate the intellect from the emo tions, A sentence from James Mill's Essay on Government will il lustrate what I mean:

One caution, first of all, we should take along with us, and it is this: that all those persons who hold the powers of govern ment without having an identity of interests with the community, and all those persons who share in the profits which are made by the abuse of those powers, and all those persons whom the ex ample and representations of the two first classes influence, will be sure to represent the community, or a part having an identity of interest with the community, as incapable in the highest de gree of acting according to their own interest; it being clear that they who have not an identity of interest with the community ought to hold the power of government no longer, if those who have that identity of interest could be expected to act in any tolerable conformity with their interest.

This is finally discovered to mean, after one has worked it all out like a crossword puzzle, that those who have a stake in one form of government are likely to resist the introduction of another. The critic, searching for the reasons why, if James Mill meant that, he could not have said it, eventually realizes that the style is motivated by a perverse, bristly intellectual honesty. He will not condescend to employ any of the pretty arts of persuasion, sugar-coated illustra tions or emotionally-loaded terms; he will appeal only to the cold logic of reason itself reinforced, to be sure, by a peculiarly Vic torian sense that the more difficult the style, the tougher the moral and intellectual fibre one develops in wrestling with it.

We note that the basis of James Mill's rhetoric is the imitation of legal style, with its careful qualifying inclusiveness. The long containing sentences of the later Henry James already mentioned illustrate the literary use of similar devices. Passing over some inter mediate stages, we eventually arrive, in this pursuit of non-emo tional rhetoric, at conceptual jargon, otherwise known as gobble- dygook or officialese. This is a naive intensification of Mill's desire to speak with the voice, not of personality, but of Reason itself. The jargon of government reports, inter-office memoranda, and [330] military instructions is motivated by a wish to be as impersonal as possible, to represent verbally the Institution or some anonymous cybernetic deity functioning in a state of "normalcy/' What it ac tually utters, of course, is the voice of the lonely crowd, the anxiety of the outward-directed conformist. Such jargon may be called, borrowing a term from medicine, benign jargon: it is unmistakably a disease of language, but not yet a cancerous disease like a dema gogue's oratory. It is found in most aspects of journalism and is the dress uniform of a large amount of professional writing, including that of humanists. That it could become malignant is indicated in 1984, where a further stage of it is caricatured as "Newspeak," a pseudo-logical simplification of language which has, like emotional jargon, complete automatism as its goal. We are not surprised to find that the further we depart from literature, or the use of lan guage to express the completely integrated state of emotional con sciousness we call imagination, the nearer we come to the use of language as the expression of reflex. Whether we go in the emo tional or in the intellectual direction, we arrive at much the same point, a point antipodal to literature in which language is a run^ ning commentary on the unconscious, like a squirrel's chatter.

If there is such a thing as conceptual rhetoric, which is likely to increase in proportion as the discursive writer tries to avoid it, it seems as though the direct union of grammar and logic, which we suggested at the beginning of this essay might be the characteristic of the non-literary verbal structure, does not, in the long run, exist. Anything which makes a functional use of words will always be involved in all the technical problems of words, including rhetorical problems. The only road from grammar to logic, then, runs through the intermediate territory of rhetoric.

We notice in the first place that attempts to reduce grammar to logic, or logic to grammar, have not had the success they should have had if there were a large and important non-rhetorical com mon factor on which non-literary writing could be built. For a long time the prestige of the discursive reason fostered the notion that logic was the formal cause of language, that universal grammars on logical principles were possible, and that the entire resources of linguistic expression could fee categorized. We are now more ac- pustomed to think pf reasoning as one of many things that man does with words, a specialized function of language. There seems [331] to be no evidence whatever that man learned to speak primarily because he wanted to speak logically.

The attempts to reduce logic to grammar are more recent, but not much more successful. Logic grows out of grammar, the un conscious or potential logic inherent in language, and we often find that the containing forms of conceptual thought are of gram matical origin, the stock example being the subject and predicate of Aristotelian logic. The fluid primitive linguistic conceptions often mentioned by anthropologists, such as the Polynesian mana or the Iroquois orenda, are participial or gerundive conceptions: they belong in a world where energy and matter have not been clearly separated, either in thought or into the verbs and nouns of our own less flexible language-structure. As energy and matter are not clearly separated in nuclear physics either, we might do worse than to re turn to such "primitive" words ourselves. The words atom and light, for example, being nouns, may be too material and static to be adequate symbols for what they now mean, and when they pass from the equations of a physicist into the linguistic apparatus of contemporary social consciousness, the grammatical difficulties in the translation show up clearly.

But there is still the scholar's mate in the argument for reducing logic to grammar: the fallacy of thinking that we have explained the nature of something by accounting for its origin in something else. Logic may have grown out of grammar, but to grow out of something is in part to outgrow it. For grammar may also be a hampering force in the development of logic, and a major source of logical confusions and pseudo-problems. These confusions ex tend much further than even the enormous brood of fallacies spawned by paronomasia, which is, like so many of our phenomena, a structural principle in literature and an obstacle in discursive writ ing. For instance, many long arguments may be annihilated by a grammatical change from definite articles and statements of identity to indefinite articles and active verbs. To say "reason is a function of the mind" is unlikely to lead to dispute; to say "reason is the function of the mind" involves one in a pointless struggle for the exclusive possession of an essence. To say "art communicates" is similarly to be content with an obvious plurality of functions: to say "art is communication" forces us into circular wrangling around a metaphor taken as an assertion. It is no wonder, then, that many logicians tend to think of grammar as something of a logical disease, [332] some of them even maintaining that mathematics is the real source of coherence in logic. I have no opinion on this, except to repeat that anything which makes a functional use of words will always be involved in all the problems of words.

Grammar and logic both seem to develop through internal con flict. The humanist tradition has always, and rightly, stressed the importance of linguistic conflict in training the mind: if we do not know another language, we have missed the best and simplest op portunity of getting our ideas disentangled from the swaddling clothes of their native syntax. Similarly logic cannot develop prop erly without dialectic, the principle of opposition in thought. Now when people speaking different languages come into contact, an ideogrammatic structure is built up out of the efforts at communi cation. The figure 5 is an ideogram,- because it means the same num ber to people who call it five, cinq, cinque, flinf, and a dozen other things. Similarly, the purely linguistic associations of English "time" and French "temps" are different, but it is quite practicable to translate Proust or Bergson on time into English without serious risk of misunderstanding the meaning. When two languages are in different cultural orbits, like English and Zulu, the ideogrammatic structure is more difficult to build up, but it always seems to be more or less possible. There are French equivalents for all English words and ideas, but obviously one cannot walk into a Polynesian or Iroquois society and ask: "What are your words for God, the soul, reality, knowledge?" They may have no such words or con cepts, nor can we give them our equivalents for mana and orenda. Yet it seems clear that we can eventually, with patient and sym pathetic study, find out what is going on in a Polynesian or Iroquois mind. The problems of communication between two people speak ing the same language may in some respects be even greater, be cause more difficult to become aware of, but even they can be ulti mately surmounted. It is out of such ideogrammatic inner struc tures, whether produced linguistically between two languages, or psychologically between two people speaking the same language, that the capacity to assimilate language to rational thought devel ops.

This ideogrammatic middle ground between two languages, or between two personal structures of meaning in the same language, must itself be a symbolic structure, not simply a bilingual dictionary. Hence the ideogram is neither purely grammatical nor purely [333] logical: it is both at once, and rhetorical as well, for, like rhetoric, it brings an audience into being, and reinforces the language of con sciousness with that of association. The ideogram, in short, is a metaphor, the identification of two things of which each retains its own form, the realization that what you mean by X in this context is what I mean by Y. Such an ideogram may differ from the purely hypothetical metaphor of the poem, but the mental leap of met aphor away from the simple "this means that" sign is present in it.

Whether the reader agrees with all this or not, he may at any rate be willing to admit the possibility of links between grammar and rhetoric, and between rhetoric and logic, that have a neglected but crucial importance. Let us take the link of grammar and rhet oric first.

We remember that a good deal of verbal creation begins in asso ciative babble, in which sound and sense are equally involved. The result of this is poetic ambiguity, the fact that, as remarked earlier, the poet does not define his words but establishes their powers by placing them in a great variety of contexts. Hence the importance of poetic etymology, or the tendency to associate words similar in sound or sense. For many centuries this tendency passed itself off as genuine etymology, and the student was taught to think in terms of verbal association. He learned to think of snow as coming ety- mologically as well as physically from clouds (nix a nubes), and of dark groves as derived from sunlight (the derivation by opposites which produced the famous lucus a non lucendo). When real etymology developed, this associative process was discarded as mum- bo-jumbo, which it is from one point of view, but it remains a fac tor of great importance in criticism. Here again we meet the prin ciple that an analogy between A and B (in this case two words) may still be important even if the view that A is the source of B is dropped. Whether or not one is etymologically justified in as sociating Prometheus with forethought or Odysseus with wrath, the poets have accepted such associations and they are data for the critic. Whether or not "new" critics make mistakes or anachronisms in explicating the texture of earlier poetry, the principle involved is defensible historically as well as psychologically.

We soon become aware, moreover, that verbal association is still a factor of importance even in rational thought. One of the most effective methods of conveying meaning in translation, for instance, is to leave a key word untranslated, so that the reader has to pick [334] up its contextual associations in the original language from his own. Again, in trying to understand the thought of a philosopher, one often starts by considering a single word, say nature in Aristotle, substance in Spinoza, or time in Bergson, in the total range of its connotations. One often feels that a full understanding of such a word would be a key to the understanding of the whole system. If so, it would be a metaphorical key, as it would be a set of identifi cations made by the thinker with the word. The attempt to regard such connotative terms as invariably fallacious does not get us very far. Students are often graduated from college armed only with complaints that people will not define their terms, reason clearly, or argue about freedom or order without emotional attachments to those words. It is perhaps more useful to shift our attention from what verbal communication is not to what it is, and what is com municated is usually some ambiguous and emotionally charged complex. In any case the notion that it is possible to reduce lan guage to sign-language, to make one word invariably mean one thing, is an illusion. After One has removed associative ambiguity from verbs and nouns, one has then the problem of adjectives and adverbs, which are universals by their very nature, and finally prepo sitions and conjunctions, which, being pure connectives, will always display a disconcerting semantic versatility. A glance at the N.E.D. entries for "to," "for," and "in" should discourage the brashest of verbal atomizers.

The link between rhetoric and logic is "doodle" or associative diagram, the expression of the conceptual by the spatial. A great number of prepositions are spatial metaphors, most of them de rived from the orientation of the human body. Every use of "up," "down," ''besides," "on the other hand," "under" implies a sub conscious diagram in the argument, whatever it is. If a writer says "But on the other hand there is a further consideration to be brought forward in support of the opposing argument," he may be writing normal (if wordy) English, but he is also doing precisely what an armchair strategist does when he scrawls plans of battle on a tablecloth. Very often a "structure" or "system" of thought can be reduced to a diagrammatic pattern in fact both words are to some extent synonyms of diagram. A philosopher is of great as sistance to his reader when he realizes the presence of such a dia gram and extracts it, as Plato does in his discussion of the divided [335] line. We cannot go far in any argument without realizing that there is some kind of graphic formula involved All division and categori zation, the use of chapters, the topotropism (if I have constructed this correctly) signalled by "let us now turn to" or "reverting to the point made earlier/' the sense of what "fits" the argument, the feeling that one point is "central" and another peripheral, has some kind of geometrical basis.

It used to be said that, as all abstract words were originally con crete metaphors, something of the latter will always adhere to the word through all its semantic history. This view is discredited now, but it still has much truth in it: I question whether it is really pos sible to make B depend on A without in some measure hanging it on, or involve B with A without in some measure wrapping them up. The only fallacy in it, I think, is the assumption that the at tached metaphor must necessarily be the one implied in the ety mology of the word. Of course a writer may give a word a meaning which has no recognizable connection with its origin. But it looks as though abstract words and ideas were on loan, so to speak, from a latent concrete formulation which is to be found, not in the history of the word used, but in the structure of the argument into which the word is fitted.

As soon as one starts to think of the role of association and dia gram in argument, one begins to realize how extraordinarily per vasive they are. I once heard a preacher advocate religion on the ground that science was too cold and dry to serve as a guide to life, while the heat of revolutionary zeal still left one thirsting for some thing more. The figures seemed commonplace, yet it was clear that the ancient diagram of the four principles of substance, hot, cold, moist, and dry, was the graphic formula of his argument, and that religion meant something wet to him, a fertilizing moisture that would warm the scientists and cool the radicals. The same prin ciple of a graphic formula is found in such assumptions as: that the intellect is cool and sober and the emotions warm and drunk; that the practical sense walks and the imaginative one leaps; that facts are solid ("stubborn"), hypotheses liquid ("covering" facts), and theories gaseous; that whatever is "inside" the mind is dimly lit and whatever is "outside" it clear, and so on. Also in value-assump tions: that the concrete is better than the abstract, the active better than the passive, the dynamic better than the static, the unified better than the multiple, the simple better than the complex. [336] Religious people think of heaven as "up"; psychologists think of the subconscious as "underneath" the consciousness, both words being obviously spatial metaphors.

We could go on for a long time, but by now it is surely clear that it is wiser simply to become aware of metaphor than to try to eradicate it. Attempts to analyze metaphor solely to debunk an argument or suggest that it is "nothing but" a metaphor are not to be encouraged. What is to be encouraged is the analysis itself, in which there is, I think, an activity of considerable and increasing importance for literary critics, as the conclusion of this book will suggest.

The discursive reason has traditionally been given the place of honor in Western culture. In religion, no poetry outside Scripture is given the authority of the theologian's propositions; in philos ophy, the reason is the high priest of reality (unless there are spe cial features in the philosophy giving a peculiar importance to the arts, as there are in Schelling's); in science the same hierarchical diagram is even clearer. Hence the arts have been traditionally re garded as forms of "accommodation," their function being to es tablish a link between reason and whatever is put "below" it on the assumed diagram, such as the emotions or the senses. It is thus no surprise to "find "accommodation" in verbal structures aimed at rousing emotion or at some form of kinetic persuasion. Such ac commodation has been recognized for centuries, as it is consistent with the traditional subordinating of rhetoric to dialectic. The no tion of a conceptual rhetoric raises new problems, as it suggests that nothing built out of words can transcend the nature and conditions of words, and that the nature and conditions of ratio, so far as ratio is verbal, are contained by oratio. [337]

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