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' ~ .' , .. . 1 I ~ ' \ I . , , I '·-. I ,•. -J r .' ~ '. ;.· . I . ' : ,~ ,· . I .. ' ~ . ;, ' ~ I .I I . 101. , I, REVIEWS ' I , I ,, I of Venice~ 4s You -Like It, an·d T~e'zjth ·Night~ are almo~t _ ignored. In one 1 ~: ••· class only' Shakespeare far overtops_.his rival, in the a'llusions to characters. , Here Falstaff .~asily leads, and seven of Shakespeare's figures. precede\.the ; ·.., _first· of Jonson:s, Do,l ·Common, who i's narrowly beaten by Hamlet/ ·~· It is a far cry from Professor Bentley's statistical clarity to exploring.: with Mr. E. A. Armstrong the realm of Sha~efpeare's Imagination. ·M:r. Armstrong; we .are told, is a bird-lo'ver, and appropriately we are made to · 'fiit with him from flower to fl.ower·in the Shakespeare garden. ·He seeks 1·to capture :the secret·of the dramatist's .images, "to study Shakesp. eare's mind in the travail of composi'tion by investigati,ng the associative processes revealed in his imagery/' which becomes a study of the human imagination. Whiter started this quest 150 years ago when he remarked on,the frequent and natural association in Sha~espe'are's n1ind of dogs, candy, and flattery. Miss. Spurgeon and a dozen others have today followed Whiter's lead. Mr. Arrristrong picks his special image "clusters," and probes the reason for their linJtage. Why does Shakespeare associate kites and beddi~·g? "Perhaps/' we are told, "the link is some death-scene which made a great impr~ssion on the poet's mind." Why d9es Falstaff, questioned by Hal as to when he -last saw his knee, , compare his youthful waist to an eagle's talo-n? The sub~conscious association of the kne~ and the e~gle is explained. Why in King Lear do crows rather than gulls fly over Dover diff? . The crow ' .is the symbol of death and ''for Shakespeare symbolism was·far tpore im- . portant than exact natural history." And we are led up to some·revealing·generalizations: ·that the components of the image clusters may·be linked by "emotional significance; similarity o.f sound, or mere contiguity in the past"; that "if the muse visited Shakespeare with almost overwh~lming 1 • po'wer, it is no less certain that t he inspiration was the o'utcome ..-. ·;For to judge from the volumes published under the auspices of that Confer- r '·· 1. · ,,. f· ., ' J' I I,: I i·k· ' •' I ,;, I' I· ! t . rI ... . ' ' :1 ence, while its· members announc;ed annually that they w~re achiev]rtg a I ,,. ., .:...· ", greater ·understanding and unity, what actually happened was that its scientific members read papers each on ,his own particular science; while its religious members went round steadily intoning a call for a return to 1 religion as ~the ·only solutic~m of the world's perplexities. It is difficult t'o s~e, · if one accepts Professor No'rthrop's insistence that the ne·w synthesizing· philosophy must take account of the latest developmet;~ts in Western · · theoretical mathematical physics on the one side and ofthe oriental concentration on the intuitive apprehension of the aesthetic co~tinuum on 'the.· other, that there is any need for theistic religion at all. 1 This is a stimulating book,·and a reader like myself who has no facility in the language.of philosophy and no understanding of mathematics finds ,. it difficult to'explain how stimulating and suggestive the.book has been to" · him. The obvious criticism of it is that the .working-out of the ~e~. philosophic synthesis which is to join East and West must take a long time, even·· if another Aristotle were .to ,appear in our day, and that in the present economic and political chaos of the world we·cannot afford to w~it for this· s'Iow philosophic solution. It is hardly fair to criticize the author because he has expressed himself as if the development of phit'osophy took pla~~ ' in -an autarc~ic 'philosophic world separated from polit'ica;I and economic --- movements. But an historian becomes uneasy when he reads of medieval I I r\~ .t' i t· ':, ''• l ., I ,,~ l'' [. r·r. ~· ":' ~\- .I '\.' I '·. I I'_ '.1...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 101-104
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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