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92 UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO QUARTERLY ume on the foreign policy of the early years of the revolution. Mr. Carr is at his very best in describing the way in which the revolutionary leaders manoeuvred to detach Germany from the West. As he shows how they combined a policy of undermining all Western capitalist governments with one of favouring certain governments against others, the reader exclaims to himself time and again how up-to-date this all sounds in the middle of 1954. Whether one reads these volumes as austere history or as contemporary journalism they are a constant delight. CONTENT WITH THE FORM* NORTHROP FRYE The Alexander Lectures given by Professor Crane in 1952 form one of the most significant volumes in a distinguished series. For here we have a reasoned statement, in manageable compass, of the doctrines which roused so much controversy when they appeared in Critics and Criticism, but without the polemical tone or the sense of the partisanship of a "school" which confused the response to that book. Mr. Crane here remarks that schools are a sign of competing dogmatisms rather than of co-operative learning, and it is impossible for any reader of this book to regard its author as an Aristotelian determinist out to do a hatchet job on the new critics. The theme of the book is the contrast in method between two kinds of criticism. One approaches a poem to find "what actually was, for its poet, the primary intuition of form which enabled him to synthesize his materials into an ordered whole." This method is expounded in terms of Aristotle's Poetics in the second lecture, and in terms of its contemporary application in the fifth. The first, third, and fourth lectures are mainly devoted to the conceptual assumptions underlying certain more a priori approaches. Of these two are today of outstanding importance: the rhetorical and the mythological. In the Poetics Aristotle divides the problems of criticism into a number of headings, of which "diction" (Iexis) comes fairly well down in the list. When he reaches diction, he remarks that its theory belongs more properly to rhetoric or elocution. The implied distinction between poetics and rhetoric was blurred by later critics, Cicero, Horace, Quintilian, all of whom thought of poetry as a form of rhetoric , conditioned primarily by rhetorical problems of expression and presentation. Thus the poem appears, first, as a tissue of figures of *The Languages of Criticism and the Structure of Poetry. The Alexander Lectures, 1951-52. By R. S. CRANE. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. 1953. pp. xxii, 214. $5.50. REVIEWS 93 speech and tropical devices, and secondly, as a species of oratory concerned with effectiveness in the sense of audience response and moral value. This tradition has persisted from Alexandrian times down to the "new critics" of today, who are essentially rhetorical analysts. The Aristotelian view is that poems are made objects: they are made out of words, it is true, but words are their material and not their form. The Aristotelian says that a poem has a verbal structure; the rhetorician says that it is one. Hence the latter is compelled to start, not with concrete poems, but with an abstract homogeneity called "poetry," which he has first of all to discriminate from other verbal structures. This leads him to define poetry in a tautological formula of the type: "poetry is some of what non-poetry isn't." Then he is forced to proceed deductively, along a second tautology of the type: "as the essential qualities of poetry are a, b, and c, the essentially poetic qualities of the poems x, y, and z can only be a', b/, and c'." There is an alternative procedure of looking into poetry for what is analogous to other verbal structures. And as other, or non-poetic, verbal structures are mostly structures of meaning, rhetorical criticism runs into the first fact stated about rhetoric by Aristotle, that it is the antistraphas or answering chorus of dialectic. That is, the rhetorical critic sees in poetry an analogy of meaning, and feels that when he has extracted the meaning, however he conceives of meaning, he has isolated the real form of...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 92-97
Launched on MUSE
2015-07-01
Open Access
No
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