XEROX Old and New, Modern and Postmodern, Baroque and Neobaroque
We are now living in the middle of a crisis – and we don’t like crises – so we are afflicted by a sense of anxiety
with a desire to get out of this crisis. But ignore the negative connotations of crisis, and consider this as: “A
PERIOD OF ACCELERATED CULTURAL TRANSFORMATION” – to understand where we are.
We are in the moment of extreme tension btw the future and the past – to understand, we need to know the
history, and find any patterns similar to what we experience today.
Is there a sense in history?
Is there a sense in history? – There might be a sense but we don’t see it anymore, is the implicit answer.
Remo Bodei (Italian philosopher): since we do not know where we are going perhaps we are free to choose, or
better, to create, establish or project ex novo our future destination (if we insist on having one)
It is “reason” not faith, that is struck by a crisis and that cannot cope with the contemporary reality.
So we turn to “faith” for help – Frye – The Great Code: a theory of history with faith. With wide cope of
historical typology, if we can recognize a phase of development, becoming or transformation, that reminds us of
our present cultural conditions.
We have several choices, but we focus on the phase to “the end of a cycle and the beginning of next one”
Vico’s theory of corsi and ricorsi – new science of exclusively man made history and not an article of faith. But
his framework of development is to large to be reduced to a manageable set of distinctive values for one of its
Vico inspired Wolfflin and many others – Wolfflin: geometrical correction of the circular design of history of
Vico with the SPIRAL – meaning: we return to the beginning of a cycle but not to the identical spot!
We must also be aware of our own biases as well
Patterns of archetypal (typical) becoming
Frye’s historical modes at the beginning of his Anatomy of Criticism:
o Fiction = hero’s power of action, which may be greater than ours, less, or roughly the same.
o Pg. 57
We are btw the end of a cycle and the beginning of the next
Pre-generic Mythoi or Archetypal Narratives corresponding to the modes of the historical cycle: 4 categories -
each associated with seasons of year, periods of day, and periods of life
o (1) Comedy – Spring – Morning – Youth
o (2) Romance – Summer – Noon – Maturity
o (3) Tragedy – Fall – Evening – Old Age
o (4) Irony an Satire – Winter – Night – Death
Each 4 mythoi is divided with 6 diff phases, but only (4) Irony and Satire, and (1) Comedy interest us
Irony and Satire – the 6 phase – human life in terms of largely unrelieved bondage.
o Human experience suffering has an end in death
o Ex) nightmare of social tyranny; Satan or antichrist worship
Comedy – the 1 phase – in “ironic comedy”, the demonic world is never far away
o In comedies, the fear of death, sometimes a hideous death, hangs over the main character to the end, and is
dispelled so quickly that one has almost the sense of awakening from nightmare.
From End to Beginning: Anatomy of the Gap
Greatest reversal in history of mankind = coming of Christ
Although Virgil and Ovid did not know Jesus, they are witnesses and agents of historical change at the beginning
Ovid’s Metamorphoses rep the “closing of a cycle that had begun with a mythological revelation”. At the end of
the cycle, a retrieval of the primary process of transformation but with the reversed direction is noticed.
And we have “crisis of history” and Frye puts it, “suddenly expands to myth” bc it cannot contain or justify the
extraordinary events of the present.
Frye’s mythos of Comedy says “sexual imagery” is central here – leads to marriage, progeny, transformation into
the establishment of a new society. Jesus with Church was not seen as mother, but a young bride (?) Gap 1 = Baroque
Baroque is th