In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

Reviews239 moves from dissatisfaction with human finitude to faith in the Incarnation by means of withdrawal from a chaotic world and self-negation. Yet, this metaphoric representation is also an argument that seeks to reshape our thoughts and feelings, just as theology does: "The purpose of Four Quartets is to offer a significance of experience that will cause one to become . . . alive to one's whole being — including one's being in relation to a whole larger than oneselP (p. 121). Eliot's work proves Whitehead's assertion that poetry is a necessary complement to metaphysics since it furnishes the imaginative insights which philosophy and theology will later clarify. These interpretations oí Wheelwright, Eliot, and Whitehead lead in the final chapter, to Brown's personal formulation of the necessity of poetry to theology. He first rejects the notion that a uniquely conceptual discourse can best explain either the truth of Christian scriptures or Christianity's relevance to modern life, since so much scriptural language is symbolic and so little of human experience intellectual. Only metaphor, the kind found not only in the Four Quartets but in all great literature, can engage both our thoughts and feelings, and establish a "common standpoint of 'shared' religious experience" (p. 165). Through epiphor, we recognize the elements of divine grace that infuse our daily lives, while through diaphor we glimpse the mysteries of redemption. Ideally, metaphoric representation and argumentation result in the "transfiguration" of experience, the transformation of ordinary events that leads to a fuller understanding of human finitude and permits a renewal of faith in the possibilities of salvation. The numerous evaluations of other thinkers, from the revisionist Christian theologians to poststructural literary critics, weigh down the early chapters of this book, while the final chapter borders on mysticism. Brown's study is valuable, nonetheless, because it stresses the necessity of both a language and a method of religious inquiry that integrate thought and feeling, concepts and experience. It reaffirms the dignity of poetry, which it views not as a closed linguistic system, but rather as the point of intersection of the human and the divine: "Poetry-literary art thereby confirms for us that we are indeed purposefully alive, and it transfigures our sense of what 'being alive' means" (p. 170). Whitman CollegeMary Anne ONeil Literature, MimesL· and Play: Essays in Literary Theory, by Mihai Spariosu; 128 pp. Tubingen: Gunter Narr Verlag, 1982, $18.00 paper. Mihai Spariosu situates literature and philosophy within the proliferation of discourses that have competed throughout the Western tradition for the author- 240Philosophy and Literature ity of knowledge and truth. This discursive antagonism allows him to characterize the history of the onto-theological principle from the Presocratics to the deconstructionists as the exercise of a "power-principle" intent on determining the nature of Being through discourse. The principle strategy of this discursive will-to-power has been the control of mimesis, but of particular interest here is Spariosu's contention that mimesis cannot be divorced from the concept of play in establishing the authority of one discourse over another. Spariosu first outlines the unfolding of a "functional dialectic" wherein one rival discourse controls mimesis to establish its truth-value at another's expense. A long and ambitious first chapter attempts to demonstrate the history of play's domination over, or subordination to, metaphysical truth or Reason in the discourses of myth, philosophy, science, and cultural theory. In a cursory examination of archaic Greek thought that consistently reads modern definitions of play into ancient texts, Spariosu opposes the irrationality of Being in the Moneric and Heraclitean valuation of play as strife to the use of play as a rational, "as if epistemologica! instrument of truth in Hesiod and Xenophanes. Ultimately, however, the classical mimetic theory of Plato and Aristotle firmly subordinated play, as a simulation thrice removed from the Forms, to metaphysical truth. In a more solid (though also cursory) examination of modern philosophy, Spariosu argues that the Platonic subordination of play to Reason could only be overcome by Nietzsche's return to play as an irrational principle of Being and his reversal of Platonic mimesis into an aesthetics of pure appearance. Heidegger and Eugen Fink have since extended...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 239-241
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.