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

172Philosophy and Literature specific texts such as Bleak House where only one chapter is excerpted to prove Warhol's point. The exclusion of homodiegetic narrators (the participating "I" in the text) prevents Warhol from an interesting comparison of such authors as Charlotte Bronte with George Eliot or Elizabeth Gaskell. Closer examination of the variety of female authorial interventions might have produced some fine distinctions that the broad survey of male and female texts excludes. University of DenverEleanor McNees Recognitions: A Study in Poetics, by Terence Cave; xiv & 530 pp. New York: Oxford University Press, 1988, $79.00. Recognitions is a wide-ranging, learned, engaging commentary on anagnorisis, or recognition, a topic that has been largely neglected in contemporary literary dieory. It is packed with detailed historical information, pointed theoretical discussions, and lucid readings of texts. Cave begins by taking issue with Auerbach and with mimetic views of literature; then he surveys in the six substantial chapters ofPart One the history ofrecognition in poetics from Aristotle through Northrop Frye, Roland Barthes, and Freud; and finally he pursues in the eight chapters of Part Two readings of plays and narratives from Shakespeare and Corneille to Balzac and Conrad. The book will earn a respected place in the historical scholarship concerning poetics for its careful tracing of recognition's simultaneous decline in prestige and persistence under various guises. The readings of texts, especiallyJames's The Ambassadors and Conrad's Under Western Eyes, will also be well-received for bringing broadly conceived forms of recognition to the fore. But some of Cave's attitudes deserve to be challenged. The study's most suggestive element is the bold assertion that anagnorisis is virtually a double for mimesis, which in Cave's view it subverts. Cave makes that assertion early on and adverts to it from time to time throughout, but he does not argue for it systematically enough to persuade a skeptical reader. In particular, Cave provides no sustained counter to Auerbach's Mimesis even though the polemical character of Cave's first chapter, which he calls "Odysseus' Scar" in mimicry of Auerbach's opening chapter, creates the expectation that Recognitions will rewrite Auerbach. It does not do that because it does not attend to matters of style in any way that challenges Auerbach's procedures except in the style of the critical performance itself. Potential readers should be prepared to find some antic behavior here, as Reviews173 Cave tries to capture the anti-rational, anti-mimetic character of anagnorisis in his own performance. The attempt's successes cannot be separated from its annoying qualities, which include baiting the reader. Thatbaitingoccurs because the rationale for Cave's imitative form emerges only belatedly. The reader must wait until the closing pages to learn that, in Cave's view, "anagnorisis is the scapegoat, the black sheep, the cuckoo in the nest, the mixed metaphor, the moment that makes rational readers blush or sneer or squirm" (p. 495). This statement explains why Cave places a mixed metaphor in the book's introduction , nearly five hundred pages earlier: "the black sheep only really comes home to roost in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries" (p. 7). It also throws light on Cave's decision to reuse Auerbach's chapter tide in an act that he refers to as plagiarism (p. 11). On the one hand, Cave usefully explores the alignments described in the closing pages when he describes the history and the implications of recognition in both literature and poetics. On the other hand, his selfconscious strategies for fielding his argument are self-serving to the extent that they present disagreement as sneering. Even so, the book deserves serious consideration by anyone interested in the history of poetics, in anti-mimetic theories of literature, and in the mutually illuminating relations between poetics and literature. Southern Methodist UniversityJohn Paul Riquelme Ancient Literacy, by William V. Harris; ? & 383 pp. Cambridge : Harvard University Press, 1989, $35.00. In this book Harris reexamines the old evidence for literacy levels in ancient Greece and Rome in the light of the latest findings from epigraphy and papyrology . His results serve as a necessary corrective to the optimism about the extent ofliteracy in antiquity found in the standard works...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 172-173
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.