By Frank Lentricchia
Lentricchia's serious goal is in facts in his sustained assault at the kind of hidden formalist premises inherited from the hot severe fathers. Even within the identify of ancient realization, he contends, modern theorists have usually reduce literature off from social and temporal methods. by way of so doing he believes that they've disadvantaged literature of its proper values and became the instructing of either literature and idea right into a rarefied task. All alongside the way in which, with assistance from such various thinkers as Saussure, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, and Bloom, Lentricchia exhibits a method wherein destiny severe theorists may perhaps face up to the mandarin attitudes in their fathers.
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2 In its theoretical portions The Sense of an Ending gives us direct, though not always intentional, access to the problems as well as the perspectives of a conservative fictionalism. It does so most starkly, perhaps, in its contradictory impulses to unite fictive satisfactions with cognitive necessities. One way of grasping the fundamental difficulties of the position that Kermode is summing up is to notice his floating valuation of those key terms that appear to generate the entire position. At one level of implication the basic antithesis of fiction and reality results in the granting to fiction of apparently good things like structure, order, a concordant temporality, and a world of pure contemplation where all ideas can be entertained without consequence because their ideological nuances are neutered by the play of the fictive mode itself.
79 25 The Place of Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism Frye's key distinctions (which presuppose that consciousness may be mimetic as well as creative) between linguistic structures which are "coherent" and those which are "correspondent" with external reality, between literary and nonliterary, nonreferential and descriptive, centripetal and centrifugal-all these distinctions in the end must be collapsed under the rubric of aesthetic humanism: all human acts are creative (hence centripetal, literary, and nonreferential).
Because of our freedom to remove ourselves from fictional perspective we can hold fictions as fictive, we can self-consciously assent to them on a conditional basis; whereas with myth (again on the analogy of the Kantian categories) we have no choice but to assent absolutely, since we are locked into the categories of myth as culturally and historically transcendent universals which posit exhaustively the possible modes of human desire. "17 The modesty of "seems" in Frye's statement is betrayed by the prognostication that his formula will reach into as yet "undefined" cultural contexts.
After the New Criticism by Frank Lentricchia