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Lecture 11

English Lecture 11 - Oct 19.docx

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Western University
English 1022E
David Bentley

ENGLISH 1022E October 19 , 2010 ENGLISH – Lecture 11 Giambattista Vico Northrop Frye AGE OF GOD HIGH MIMETIC AGE OF HEROES AGE OF MEN LOW MIMETIC (Ordinary People) IRONY: “A mode of speech in which the meaning is contrary to the words” – Samuel Johnson “Analysing humour is like dissecting a frog… [T]he frog dies.” – E.B. White LITERATURE… o Universe with its own grammar, syntax, rules. We all share it, as it separates from the outside world. GIAMBATTISTA VICO… o Thought all human history happens in cycle: 1. First is Age of Gods (mythology of religions, great Greek creatures) 2. Age of Heroes (Arthurian legends, romance stories, heroic stories) 3. Age of Men (ordinary people like us, literature of everyday lives, like the novel) Frye would argue that all literature since the Renaissance has become the age of men. SENSE OF DOOM… o Western culture is destined to go down, to fall. Turn back to a primitive life, a primitive belief. NORTHROP FRYE… o He talks about literature in two “modes” o The first is the High Mimetic mode: literature of gods, kings, queens, people we look up to ENGLISH 1022E October 19 , 2010 o The second is the Low Mimetic mode: characters beneath us, people we image to be beneath us. We as readers sit between these two. o All literature is in the ironic mode LITERATURE… o Romance mode: distinguish between Romantic writer, and the romance novel. Main characters are gods, demi-gods, etc. o Tragedy – takes us from looking up at characters, to looking down at them. o Lord Byron said that every tragedy ends in death. o CATHARSIS: getting rid of strange combination of emotions, pity and fear. When tragedy works, we are held in suspension in between pity and fear. o COMEDY: begin in chaos, but end in marriage (symbolizes
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