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Shorter Reviews123 poetic texture. His arguments and repudiations, particularly the sharply adverse ones in the early part of the book, need to be seen as contributing to a dramatic architectonic that is as much poetic (or "exhibitive") as it is logical (or "assertive"). Any distinctions between the approaches of philosopher and poet, and indeed Buchler's own distinctions between the disciplines of philosophy and poetry, become fused in a performance which is that of a poet-philosopher. It is as though Buchler has sought, in this enterprise of multiple query, to leave "none of his powers disengaged." The book leaves us with certain ironies and difficulties. Buchler accepts, and even lauds, poetic (exhibitive) and moral (active) strains in philosophy—and Plato for him is the exemplar of such rich diversity of judgment. At the same time the poet, for Buchler, is only a poet; Lucretius's theories of nature and his recommendations for living well are seen as thoroughly absorbed ingredients within the framework of poetic art. Buchler even deplores "the poetic articulation of philosophic thought," but he belies what he says by what he does, and somewhere in his writings he has reminded us that "what a philosophic structure reveals does not necessarily square with what it affirms." Coming to terms with the implications of such an observation calls for the utmost in philosophical and critical skill. The Main of Light is a profound and seminal work, requiring what will not soon be available to it—an exegesis which shares its astonishing scope. Fairfield UniversityMorris Grossman The Logic of Literature, by Kate Hamburger; translated from the 2nd Revised German Edition of 1968 by Marilynn J. Rose; pp. 369. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1973, $14.50. Two theses are developed by Hamburger. The first is that literature and its various genres are to be defined by reference to the subform of fiction, and the second is that fiction can normally be identified as such by virtue of purely linguistic features (having nothing to do with significance of content or aesthetic quality) whose analysis is fundamental. Hamburger's grammatical observations in support of this last claim make up a major and most interesting part of the book. To mention only two: Temporal adverbs can combine with the past tense in fiction in ways impossible in nonfiction. A novel can have the statement 'Tomorrow was Christmas and everyone was getting ready', whereas no subject situated in a real historical place could intelligibly say this (he would have to say 'Tomorrow will . . .' or 'The next day was . . .'). More controversially, verbs of "inner action" are restricted to fictional contexts. In an historical account, "Napoleon cannot be portrayed as someone in the act of believing 'here and now', that is ... in 124Philosophy and Literature the subjectivity ... of his inner, mental processes, of his 'existence'" (pp. 82-83). "He thought how easy it would be to control Italy" cannot be a nonfictional report because what we know when we know another's mental state is an object completed and past, not the subjectively present ongoing event presented in this statement. What we know and can report is that Napoleon thought, not Napoleon thinking. These logical structures are characteristic of the third person novel written in the past tense, the standard form of fiction according to Hamburger. Furthermore, they are integral to giving fiction its special character as fiction, for these and similar linguistic features indicate the absence of any real subject from whom the statements comprising the text of a novel could originate as his own. Since such texts cannot be made as real statements by any real subject in a real situation (including an author or narrator), they must stand as self-contained and independent of the real world both spatially and temporally. Thus, a fiction is the creation of a world which, though in "imitation" of ours, is outside it (timeless and placeless). And while it has the linguistic form of a report, it is not, logically, a report, a quasi-report, or even a feigned report, since there is no subject to which it can be properly attributed. It is, so to speak, language functioning on its own, creating its objects as it...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 123-124
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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