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246Philosophy and Literature and to organize them in finite and hierarchical Porphyrian trees, but Eco demonstrates that such trees are stable only if limited by implicit cultural and contextual assumptions and that the dictionary is finally "a disguised encyclopedia " (p. 68), whose mode is inferential, and whose model is the labyrinth. The dictionary, he concludes, is a pragmatic tool for stabilizing a semantic field within the encyclopedia, which is open, infinite, and, though structured, incapable of global systematization. Metaphor, argues Eco, can only be understood in terms of a complex manipulation of dictionary and encyclopedia, and it is on this basis that he constructs a convincing theory of the production and interpretation of metaphor (one of whose virtues is to open the way to a more logical characterization of synecdoche and metonymy). Eco's next three chapters — all stimulating and useful, though somewhat less venturesome that the first three — deal with the various senses and possible categorizations of the terms symbol, code, and isotopy. In a final and rather tangential chapter, Eco discusses the question of whether mirrors produce signs. Although his conclusion that a mirror image is not a sign seems intuitively correct , his characterization of the specular image as a double raises serious questions about repetition, representation and the sign that are unfortunately left unaddressed. The international and interdisciplinary scope of Eco's work, which coordinates diverse views within a theory that seeks formalization without totalization , is impressive and invigorating. Whatever the ultimate fate of his grand semiotic synthesis, we should be thankful that at least within his work the disparate and scattered voices of contemporary theory are brought together and engaged in a single discussion. University of GeorgiaRonald L. Bogue Time and Narrative, Volume I, by Paul Ricoeur; translated by Kathleen McLaughlin and David Pellauer; xii & 274 pp. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984, $25.00. Time and Narrative is likely to prove fertile in suggesting to the literary critic new modes of conceptualizing narrative, though they may be totally assimilable only by the professional philosopher. Ricoeur's argument, unrelievedly abstract except in the penultimate chapter and dauntingly conscientious in taking account of possible objections and qualifications on every side, is on the whole a prickly thicket. This first of two volumes which, part of the ever-expanding Reviews247 project to which each of Ricoeur's works contributes in the grand old tradition of Continental criticism, builds on The Rule ofMetaphor, while frequently announcing itself as groundwork for culminating syntheses to come in this book's sequel. A further difficulty is the expected familiarity not only with Aristotle and Augustine (and their commentators), but twentieth-century French historical theory and, to a lesser extent, Heidegger. The central argument, in Ricoeur's words, is that "time becomes human to the extent that it is articulated through a narrative mode, and narrative attains itsfull meaning when it becomes a condition of temporal existence (p. 52)." That hardly modest argument will be, Ricoeur tells us, propaedeutic to considering "to what degree a philosophical reflection on narrativity and time may aid us in thinking about eternity and death at the same time" (p. 87). Ricoeur's road to these goals begins with Augustine's solution to the aporias of time — "time has no being since the future is not yet, the past is no longer, and the present does not remain" (p. 7.) — in the distention of the mind between memory, attention, and anticipation , this taken together with (unlikely conjunction) Aristotle's recasting of mimesis as "creative imitation." Creative mimesis becomes "emplotment," that is, (a perhaps unnecessarily trifurcated) mimesis conceived of as human preunderstanding of action (mimesis j), the creativity of poetic composition (mimesis 2), and the reconfiguration or redescription of the preunderstood realm that occurs in the act of reading (mimesis3). Both Augustine's understanding of time and Aristotle's of plot are regarded as achieving consonance without denying dissonance. Ricoeur then moves to an intricate argument for the essentially narrative character of history, an argument developed by sifting the strengths and weaknesses of French historiography and neopositivist epistemology. Theoreticians of the Annales (long time-span) school, of serial and quantitative history, of the history of mentalités (ideologies), and of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 246-248
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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