New Materialist Perspective Discussion

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The essay will connect new materialisms back into the foundational readings. Think about ways the new materialisms complicate theories, reveal tensions, and/or open new possibilities.

Foundational Readings

Wimsatt and Beardsley “Intentional Fallacy”

Wimsatt and Beardsley “Affective Fallacy”

Rosenblatt “The Literary Transaction”

New Materialisms Readings

Bennett “The Force of Things” ( )

Bennett “The Agency of Assemblages”

Haraway “Sympoiesis”

How does a new materialist perspective consider agency in a new/different way? More specifically, why/how does this shift in understanding matter for texts and textuality? You might consider our conversations on intention, affect, sociology, forces, transaction, withness, transactions, thing-power, capacities, relationality, and/or sympoiesis. Use the readings, the class, and your experiences to provide evidence for your answer.

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The Literary Transaction: Evocation and Response Author(s): Louise M. Rosenblatt Source: Theory Into Practice, Vol. 21, No. 4, Children's Literature (Autumn, 1982), pp. 268277 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: Accessed: 02-01-2019 04:37 UTC REFERENCES Linked references are available on JSTOR for this article: You may need to log in to JSTOR to access the linked references. JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at Taylor & Francis, Ltd. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Theory Into Practice This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to Louise M. Rosenblatt The Literary Transaction: Evocation and Response The term response seems firmly established in the In order to deal with my assigned topic, it becomes vocabulary of the theory, criticism, and teaching of necessary, therefore, to sketch some elements of literature. Perhaps I should feel some satisfaction my view of the reading process,2 to suggest some at the present state of affairs since I am sometimes aspects of what happens when reader meets text. (Note that although I refer mainly to reading, I shall referred to as the earliest exponent of what is termed reader-response criticism or theory.1 Yet be defining processes that apply generally to encounters with either spoken or written symbols.) the more the term is invoked, the more concerned I become over the diffuseness of its usage. In the This will require consideration of the nature of language, especially as manifested in early childhood. days when simply to talk about the reader's reOnly then shall I venture to develop some implisponse was considered practically subversive, it cations concerning children, literature, and rewould undoubtedly have been premature to demand greater precision in the use of the term. Now that sponse. the importance of the reader's role is becoming The Reading Process and the Reader's Stance more and more widely acknowledged, it seems esReading is a transaction, a two-way process, sential to differentiate some of the aspects of the involving a reader and a text at a particular time reading event that are frequently covered by the under particular circumstances. I use John Dewey's broad heading of "response." term, transaction, to emphasize the contribution of Response implies an object. "Response to both reader and text. The words in their particular what?" is the question. There must be a story or pattern stir up elements of memory, activate areas a poem or a play to which to respond. Few theories of consciousness. The reader, bringing past exof reading today view the literary work as readyperience of language and of the world to the task, made in the text, waiting to imprint itself on the sets up tentative notions of a subject, of some blank tape of the reader's mind. Yet, much talk framework into which to fit the ideas as the words about response seems to imply something like that,unfurl. If the subsequent words do not fit into the at least so fr as assuming the text to be allframework, it may have to be revised, thus opening important in determining whether the result will be, up new and further possibilities for the text that say, an abstract factual statement or a poem. Un-follows. This implies a constant series of selections fortunately, important though the text is, a story from the multiple possibilities offered by the text or a poem does not come into being simply because and their synthesis into an organized meaning. the text contains a narrative or the lines indicate But the most important choice of all must be rhythm and rhyme. Nor is it a matter simply of the made early in the reading event-the overarching reader's ability to give lexical meaning to thechoice words. of what I term the reader's stance, his "men- tal York set," so to speak. The reader may be seeking Louise M. Rosenblatt is professor emeritus at New University. information, as in a textbook; he may want direc- This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to tions for action, as in a driver's manual; he may be seeking some logical conclusion, as in a political article. In all such reading he will narrow his attention to building up the meanings, the ideas, the example, and we adopt the appropriate effe stance. Or we note broad margins and uneven and automatically fall into the stance that will us to create and experience a poem. Any text, however, can be read either way cumulating what is to be carried away at the end may approach novels as sociological documen of the reading. Hence I term this stance efferent, efferently seeking to accumulate evidence con from the Latin word meaning "to carry away." ing, say, the treatment of children in the 19th If, on the other hand, the reader seeks a story, tury. The "pop" poet may select a "job wan a poem, a play, his attention will shift inward, will advertisement, arrange its phrases in separate center on what is being created during the actual and thus signal us to read it aesthetically, t reading. A much broader range of elements will be perience its human meaning, as a poem. Someallowed to rise into consciousness, not simply the times, of course, readers adopt an inappropriate abstract concepts that the words point to, but also attitude-for example, reading a political article what those objects or referents stir up of personal aesthetically when they should be efferently paying feelings, ideas, and attitudes. The very sound and attention to facts. And many people, alas, read the rhythm of the words will be attended to. Out oftexts of stories and poems efferently. these ideas and feelings, a new experience, the Recognizing that the reader's stance inevitably story or poem, is shaped and lived through. I call affects what emerges from the reading does not this kind of reading aesthetic, from the Greek word deny the importance of the text in the transaction. meaning "to sense" or "to perceive." Whether the Some texts offer greater rewards than do others. product of the reading will be a poem, a literary A Shakespeare text, say, offers more potentialities work of art, depends, then, not simply on the text for an aesthetic reading than one by Longfellow. but also on the stance of the reader. We teachers know, however, that one cannot pre- directions to be retained; attention focuses on ac- I am reminded of the first grader whose teacher dict which text will give rise to the better evocation told the class to learn the following verses: - the better lived-through poem-without knowing In fourteen hundred and ninety-two Columbus crossed the ocean blue. the other part of the transaction, the reader. Sometimes the text gives us confusing clues. I'm reminded of a letter a colleague received. "Dear When called on the next day, the youngster Professor Baldwin," it began, "You will forgive my recited: long silence when you learn about the tragedy that has befallen me. In June, my spouse departed from In fourteen hundred and ninety-three Columbus crossed the bright blue sea. the conjugal domicile with a gentleman of the vi- cinity." The first sentence announces that we should Questioned as to why she had changed it, she adopt an aesthetic stance. The second would be appropriate in a legal brief, since the vocabulary simply said she liked it better that way. I submit that this represents a problem in stance. seems adapted to an impersonal, efferent stance. Any reading event falls somewhere on the conThe teacher had wanted her to read efferently, in tinuum between the aesthetic and the efferent poles; order to retain the date "1492." The pupil had read aesthetically, paying attention to the qualitative ef- between, for example, a lyric poem and a chemical fect, to her own responses, not only to the image formula. I speak of a predominantly efferent stance, of the ship crossing the sea, but also to the sound because according to the text and the reader's purpose, some attention to qualitative elements of discomfort evidently occasioned by the reversal of consciousness may enter. Similarly, aesthetic reading involves or includes referential or cognitive elethe normal adjective-noun order. Freeing ourselves from the notion that the text ments. Hence, the importance of the reader's dictates the stance seems especially difficult, pre- selective attention in the reading process. cisely because the experienced reader carries out We respond, then, to what we are calling forth many of the processes automatically or subcon- in the transaction with the text. In extreme cases sciously. We may select a text because it suits our it may be that the transaction is all-of-a-piece, so already chosen, efferent or aesthetic, purposes. Or to speak. The efferent reader of the directions for we note clues or cues in the text-the author first aid in an accident may be so completely abannounces the intention to explain or convince, for sorbed in the abstract concepts of the actions ad- of the words in her ear, and in this instance the Volume XXI, Number 4 269 This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to vised that nothing else will enter consciousness. Or an aesthetic reader may be so completely absorbed in living through a lyric poem or may so need to adopt a predominant stance to guide the completely identify with a character in a story that process of selection and synthesis; the construction of efferent meaning or the participation in aesthetic evocation; the current of reactions to the very ideas nothing else enters consciousness. But in most and experiences being evoked. To develop the ca- reading there is not only the stream of choices and pacity for such activities is the aim of "the teaching syntheses that construct meaning; there is also a stream of accompanying reactions to the very meaning being constructed. For example, in reading of reading and literature." We shall find support and clarification in going on to consider children's early entrance into language and into literature. It will then perhaps be possible to arrive at some implications for desirable emphasis in the child's early transactions with texts. panying feeling of acceptance or doubt about the evidence cited or the logical argument. In aesthetic reading, we respond to the very Entrance into Language a newspaper or a legal document, the "meaning" will be constructed, and there will be an accom- story or poem that we are evoking during the trans- action with the text. In order to shape the work, The transactional view of the human being in we draw on our reservoir of past experience with a two-way, reciprocal relationship with the envipeople and the world, our past inner linkage of ronment is increasingly reflected in current psywords and things, our past encounters with spoken chology, as it frees itself from the constrictions of or written texts. We listen to the sound of the words in the inner ear; we lend our sensations, our behaviorism.3 Language, too, is less and less being considered as "context-free."4 Children's sensori- emotions, our sense of being alive, to the new motor exploration of the physical environment and experience which, we feel, corresponds to the text. their interplay with the human and social environWe participate in the story, we identify with the ment are increasingly seen as sources and condicharacters, we share their conflicts and their feeltions of language behavior. During the prelinguistic ings. period, the child is "learning to mean,"5 learning At the same time there is a stream of responses the functions of language through developing being generated. There may be a sense of pleasure personal sound-system for communicating with othin our own creative activity, an awareness of pleasers before assimilating the linguistic code of th ant or awkward sound and movement in the words, social environment. a feeling of approval or disapproval of the charRecent research on children's early language acters and their behavior. We may be aware of a supports William James's dynamic picture of the contrast between the assumptions or expectations connection among language, the objects and reabout life that we brought to the reading and the lations to which it refers, and the internal states attitudes, moral codes, social situations we are associated with them-sensations, images, per- living through in the world created in transaction cepts and concepts, feelings of quality, feelings of with the text. tendency. James says, "The stream of conscious- Any later reflection on our reading will therefore ness matches [the words] by an inward coloring of encompass all of these elements. Our response willits own. ... We ought to say a feeling of and, a have its beginnings in the reactions that were confeeling of if, a feeling of but, and a feeling of by, current with the evocation, with the lived-through quite as readily as we say a feeling of blue or a experience. Thus an organized report on, or articfeeling of cold."6 ulation of, our response to a work involves mainly Werner and Kaplan, in their study of symbol efferent activity as we look back on the reading formation, show us the child at first internalizing event-an abstracting and categorizing of elements such "a primordial matrix" of sensations and posof the aesthetic experience, and an ordering and tural and imaginal elements. The child's early vocdevelopment of our concurrent reactions. ables "are evoked by total happenings and are I have tried briefly to suggest some major asexpressive not only of reference to an event external to the child," but also of "the child's attitudes, pects of my view of the reading process-reading as basically a transaction between the reader and states, reactions, etc."7 Evidence of this early sense the text; the importance of the reader's selective of words as part of total happenings is the fact attention to what is aroused in consciousness that some children at five years of age may still through intercourse with the words of the text;that thethe name is an inherent part of the believe 270 Theory Into Practice This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to referent. Cat at first is as much an attribute of the mainly to the "token" top-of-the-inner-iceberg, to creature as its fur or pointed ears. Thus, in languageorganizing the abstract concepts the verbal symbols as in experience in general, the child is faced with point to. These can yield the information, the dithe need for a process of differentiation of percep- rections, the logical conclusions that will be the tion.8 The child's movement toward conventional residue of the reading act. linguistic forms entails a sorting out of these various In aesthetic reading, the child must learn to elements. draw on more of the experiential matrix. Instead Werner and Kaplan describe the sorting-outof looking outward mainly to the public referents, process as an "inner-dynamic or form-building" or the reader must include the personal, the qualita"schematizing" activity. Acquisition of languagetive, is kinesthetic, sensuous inner resonances of the a "twin process," they show us, because the child words. Hence attention is turned toward what is must learn to link the same internal, organismic immediately lived-through in transaction with th state both to the sense of an external referent or text, toward what is being shaped as the story object, on the one hand, and to a symbolic or the poem. linguistic vehicle, on the other. What links a word, cat, to its referent, the animal, is their connection Both efferent reading and aesthetic readin should be taught. If I concentrate on aesthetic rea with the same internal state. ing, it is not only because our interest here tod Bates similarly sees the emergence of symbols is in children and literature, but also because it is as "the selection process, the choice of one aspect the kind of reading most neglected in our schools. of a complex array to serve as the top of the Contrary to the general tendency to think of the efferent, the "literal," as primary, the child's for the whole "mental file drawer" of associations earliest language behavior seems closest to a priand can be used for higher-order cognitive operamarily aesthetic approach to experience. The poet, tions.9 In other words, the child learns to abstract Dylan Thomas, told a friend, "When I experience from the total context in order to arrive at a genanything, I experience it as a thing and as a word eralized concept of "cat." at the same time, both amazing."12 Such a bond This process of decontextualization is, of between language and the inner experiential matrix course, essential to the development of the ability continues to be stressed in recent studies of chilto think, to apply the symbol to new contexts and dren's early language. Words are primarily aspects situations. The "mental token" is the public meanof sensed, felt, lived-through experiences: ing of the word. Understandably, parents and schools welcome and foster this phase. But much Beginning about the last quarter of the first less attention has been paid to the broad base of year and continuing through the second, in"the iceberg" of meaning.10 "The sense of a word," creased differentiations of self and other, the Vygotsky reminds us, "is the sum of all the psy- sharpening of self-awareness and the self-conchological events aroused in our consciousness by cept, and the ability to form and store memories the word. It is a dynamic, fluid, complex whole .... enable the infant to begin the development of The dictionary meaning of a word is no more than affective-cognitive structures, the linking or a stone in the edifice of sense ..."11 Along with bonding of particular affects or patterns of afthe cognitive abstraction from past experiences fects with images and symbols, including words which is the public meaning of the word, there are and ideas. ... the private kinesthetic and affective elements that Since there is essentially an infinite varie comprise the complex, fluid matrix in which lanof emotion-symbol interactions, affective-c guage is anchored. nitive structures are far and away the pred iceberg, a light-weight mental token" that can stand inant motivational features in consciousness The Literary Transaction The connection can now be made with the view of the reading process that I have sketched. The role of selective attention in the two kinds of reading becomes apparent. In predominantly efferent reading, the child must learn to focus on extracting the public meaning of the text. Attention must be given soon after the acquisition of language.13 Dorothy White, in her classic diary of her child's introduction to books before age five, documents the transactional character of language. She note how, at age two, experience feeds into language and how language helps the child to handle further experience. Volume XXI, Number 4 271 This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to The experience makes the book richer and the book enriches the personal experience even at this level. I am astonished at the early age this backward and forward flow between books the story puzzles or frightens, or because it offers no links with the child's past experiences. When an adolescent girl calls the story of a wallflower at her first dance "the greatest tragedy I have ever read" we must recognize that this is dren one cannot observe it so easily, but here a sign of the intensity of the lived-through transat this age when all a child's experiences are action with the text, and not a judgment on the known and the books read are shared, when relative potentialities of this book and, say, King the voluble gabble which is her speech revealsLear. This transactional process is especially dem- and life takes place. With adults or older chil- all the associations, the interaction is seen veryonstrated in early reading and listening to stories. clearly. Now and again Carol mystifies me withWhite tells of reading to her three-year-old the story a reference to life next door, or with some of a small boy who wakes one morning to find transposed pronunciation which defeats me, himself the sole inhabitant of his town. White re- but on the whole I know her frame of reference.14 marks: All this to an older child might well represent White also illustrates the private facet of the a delirium of joy and liberty, but to Carol, whose child's acquisition of the public language. Having pleasure is the presence of people, not their observed the actual experiences that fed into the absence, it was stark tragedy. "He's all by child's words, the mother realizes that she underhimself," she said, overcome and deeply stands the child's particular meanings and emphasis mournful. Paul's isolation obviously wounded on words that even the father cannot grasp. Of and shocked her, but I had the feeling that in course, it is such private overtones that we all draw creating this dismay, the book provided her on in our aesthetic reading. with the most tremendous emotional experience she has known in all her reading. HowParents and teachers have generally recogever, here's the rub, this emotional experience nized signs of the young child's affinity for the aesthetic stance. Joseph Conrad tells us that the was of a kind totally different from anything aim of the novelist is "to make you hear, to make the author had planned to provide, for planned he had.16 you feel-it is, before all, to make you see."15 Children enthralled by hearing or reading a story or a poem often give various nonverbal signs of The author, she points out, may plan a particular such immediacy of experience. They delightedly book, but "one cannot plan what children will take sway to the sound and rhythm of words; their facial expressions reveal sensitivity to tone; their postural from it." Understanding the transactional nature of read- responses and gestures imitate the actions being ing would correct the tendency of adults to look described. That they are often limited by lack of only at the text and the author's presumed intenknowledge, by immature cognitive strategies, in no tion, and to ignore as irrelevant what the child way contradicts the fact that they are living through actually does make of it. As in the instance just aesthetic experiences, their attention focused on cited, it may be that the particular experience or what, in their transaction with the words, they can preoccupations the child brings to the spoken or see and hear and feel. printed text permit some one part to come most intensely alive. Let us not brush this aside in our A most eloquent verbal sign that the story or eagerness to do justice to the total text or to put poem is being aesthetically experienced is the child's that part into its proper perspective in the story. "Read it again." White's account of her daughter's is more important that we reinforce the child's "voluble gabble" as stories are read testifiesItthat discovery that texts can make possible such intense a relaxed, receptive atmosphere, with no questions personal experience. Other stories, continued reador requirements, is conducive to children's verbal ing,to the maturation of cognitive powers, will conexpressions of that second stream of reactions tribute to the habit of attending to the entire text the work that is the source of "responses." White's or organizing the sequence of episodes into a whole. book shows a child, even before age five, offering We have the responsibility first of all to develop various kinds of verbal signs of aesthetic listening the habit and the capacity for aesthetic reading. - questions, comments, comparisons with life experiences and with other stories, rejection because Responsibility to the total text and the question of 272 Theory Into Practice This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to "real" events and "real" people can be read wit all the sensuous, kinesthetic, imaginative rich The notion that first the child must "underthat are applied to fantasy. Imagination is nee also stand" the text cognitively, efferently, before it canin cognitive processes, in the process of membering, in thinking of the past, in thinking be responded to aesthetically is a rationalization solutions to a problem. Again, we n that must be rejected. Aesthetic reading, wealternative have "the author's intention" comes later - with all the indeterminacy of meaning that implies.17 to see that the reader's stance transcends the seen, is not efferent reading with a layer of affective distinction between the real and the fictive. associations added on later. (I call this the "jam on bread" theory of literature.) Rather, we have The obvious question, in all such developmental seen that the aesthetic stance, in shaping what is generalization, is-to what extent are the changes observed due to innate factors and to what extent understood, produces a meaning in which cognitive and affective, referential and emotive, denotational are they the result of environmental influences and connotational, are intermingled. The child Fortunately, may an ethnographic emphasis is beginnin listen to the sound, hear the tone of the narrative to be valued in contemporary research on the teach "voice," evoke characters and actions, feel the ing of English,19 and I should wish only to broaden quality of the event, without being able to analyze its purview. Hence the question: to what extent or name it. Hence the importance of finding ways does the emphasis in our culture on the primarily to insure that an aesthetic experience has happractical, technical, empirical, and quantitative conpened, that a story or a poem has been livedtribute to the reported loss of aesthetic receptivity through, before we hurry the young listener or reader as the child grows older? Why do we find teachers into something called "response." This is often at every level, from the early years through high largely an efferent undertaking to paraphrase, sum- school and college, seeming always to be having marize, or categorize. Evocation should precede to start from scratch in teaching poetry? response. The fact of the great diversity of the cultures evolved by human beings is in itself testimony to the power of the environment into which the child Maintaining Aesthetic Capacity is born. Anthropologists are making us aware of how subtle signals from adults and older children Why, if the capacities for aesthetic experience are assimilated by the infant. "In depth" studies of are so amply provided at the outset of the child's child-rearing and particular customs or rituals doclinguistic development, do we encounter in our ument the complexity of the individual's assimilation schools and in our adult society such a limited to his culture.20 All who are concerned about edrecourse to the pleasures of literature? We cannot ucation and children have a responsibility to intertake the easy route of blaming television for this, pret this process to our society, and to be actively since it was a problem already lamented at least critical of the negative aspects of our culture. Just 50 years ago. as the medical profession is helping us relate our One tendency is to assume a natural develphysical health to general environmental and culopmental loss of aesthetic capacity, or at the least, interest, as the child grows older. We often still tural conditions, so we as professionals need to share Wordsworth's romantic view that "Shades emphasize the importance of the child's general economic, and intellectual environment both of the prison-house begin to close/Upon the social, growing outside and in the school. boy."'8 Some believe that in the early school years children become mainly concerned with the "real" A nurturing environment that values the whol and reject "the worlds of the imaginative range and the of human achievements, the opportunity fo fantastic." This idea, and confusion of the aesthetic stimulating experiences, cultivation of habits of o stance with the fictive, with the imaginativeservation, or fan- opportunities for satisfying natural cur tasy, may have contributed to the neglect of litosity about the world, a sense of creative freedom erature in the middle years. all of these lay the foundation for linguistic devel The child's problem of delimiting the opment. objects Reading, we know, is not an encapsulat and the nature of the real world may at askill certain that can be added on like a splint to an arm. stage foster a preoccupation with clarifying the dwelt so long on the organismic basis If I have boundary between reality and fantasy. But distrust all language, it is because reading draws on the of fantasy should not be equated with rejection whole ofperson's past transactions with the environaesthetic experience. Literary works representing ment. Reading, especially aesthetic reading, exVolume XXI, Number 4 273 This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to tends the scope of that environment and feeds the growth of the individual, who can then bring a richer more disconcerting is the neglect of the aesthetic stance when the declared aim is "the teaching of We must at least indicate awareness of broader literature," when stories and poems are presented, not as exercises for reading skills, but presumably self to further transactions with life and literature. underlying societal or cultural needs before we go value as literature, for their capacity to for their on to talk about the teaching of reading, and es-images of life, to entertain, to deal with present pecially the teaching of literature, the kind of human reading situations and problems, to open up vistas our economy-minded school boards often consider of different personalities and different milieus. Here, too, the concern in most classes still seems to be elitist and dispensable. of all with the kinds of response that can be In my sketch of the child's acquisition first of the by efferent reading. Questions often ask for environing language system, I presented asmet a nathighly ural and desirable development the selective proc-specific factual details - What did the boy do, where did he go, what did he see, what does ess by which the child detaches a sense of the public meaning of a verbal symbol from its personalthis word mean? At the other extreme is the tendency to nudge the young reader toward a labeling, organismic matrix. But in our society the emphasis, a generalization, a paraphrase, a summary that at home and at school, is almost entirely on that again requires an abstracting analytic approach to decontextualizing, abstracting process. Parents quite what has been read. Repeated questions of that rightly welcome the child's abstracting-out of words so that they can be applied to other instances ofsort soon teach the young reader to approach the next texts with an efferent stance. Studies of stuthe same category and be used in new situations. Of course, the child needs to participate in thedents' responses to literature have revealed the extent to which in a seemingly open situation the public, referential linguistic system. Of course, the young reader will respond in ways already learned child needs to distinguish between what the society from the school environment.21 The results of the considers "real" and what fantasy. Of course, the 1979-80 National Assessment of Reading and Litrational, empirical, scientific, logical components of our culture should be transmitted. erature demonstrate that the traditional teacher- dominated teaching of literature, with its emphasis Nevertheless, are these aptitudes not being on approved or conventional interpretations, does fostered - or at least favored - at the expense of other potentialities of the human being andnot of produce many readers capable of handling their initial our culture? The quality of education in general is responses or relating them to the text. Questions calling for traditional analyses of character or being diluted by neglect of, sacrifice of, the rich theme, for example, reveal such shallowness of organismic, personal, experiential source of both response. efferent and aesthetic thinking. Is there not evidence of the importance of the affective, the imaginative, Educators and psychologists investigating chilthe fantasizing activities even for the development dren's aesthetic activities and development reflect of cognitive abilities and creativity in all modes of a similar tendency to focus on the efferent-a leg- human endeavor? acy, perhaps, from the hegemony of traditional beThroughout the entire educational process, the haviorist experimental research methodology. child in our society seems to be receiving the same Investigations of children's use of metaphor seem signal: adopt the efferent stance. What can be quantified - the most public of efferent modes often actually to be testing children's cognitive metalinguistic abilities. Studies of the "grammar" becomes often the guide to what is taught, tested, of story tend also to eliminate the personal aesthetic or researched. In the teaching of reading, and even event and to center on the cognitive ability to abof literature, failure to recognize the importance of stract out its narrative structure. Stories or poems the two stances seems to me to be at the root of can thus become as much a tool for studying the child's advance through the Piagetian stages of cognitive or analytic thinking as would a series of One of the most troubling instances of the much of the plight of literature today. confusion of stances is the use of stories to teach history texts or science texts. efferent reading skills. Is it not a deception to induce the child's interest through a narrative and then, in Implications for Teaching the effort to make sure it has been (literally, efferently) "understood," to raise questions that imply What, then, are the implications for teaching? that only an efferent reading was necessary? Even The view of language and the reading process I 274 Theory Into Practice This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to have sketched demonstrates the importance of the early years for the development of adult readers able to share in the pleasures and benefits of literature. The theoretical positions I have sketched apply, I believe, throughout the entire educational span, from the beginning reader to the adult critic. At every stage, of course, knowledge of students and books is essential to the sound application of any theoretical guidelines. At best, I can only suggest criteria for differentiating between potentially counterproductive or fruitful practices. I shall undoubtedly only be offering theoretical support for what many sensitive teachers are already doing. A reading stance is basically an expression of purpose. Children will read efferently in order to greater emphasis in the earlier stages on aesthe listening and reading. This view of the two stances opens up the necessity for a new and more rounded concept comprehension in both efferent and aesthetic rea ing. I shall venture here only the suggestion t this will involve attention to the transactional, two- way, process and to affective as well as cognitive components of meaning. Recent interest of some psychologists in the role of context in comprehen- sion indicates movement in this direction.23 In the teaching of literature, then, our primary responsibility is to encourage, not get in the way of, the aesthetic stance. As the child carries on the process of decontextualization that serves the logical, analytic, cognitive abilities whose development question, some explanation of a puzzling situation, Piaget traced so influentially, we need also to keep some directions as to procedures to be followed in the habit of paying selective attention to the alive an interesting activity. inner states, the kinesthetic tensions, the feelings, Aesthetic reading, by its very nature, has the an colorings of the stream of consciousness, that accompany all cognition, and that particularly make intrinsic purpose, the desire to have a pleasurable, possible the evocation of literary works of art from interesting experience for its own sake. (The older texts. the students, the more likely we are to forget this.) arrive at some desired result, some answer to a We should be careful not to confuse the student Much of what we need to do can fortunately be viewed as a reinforcement of the child's own by suggesting other, extrinsic purposes, no matter how admirable. That will turn attention away from earliest linguistic processes, richly embedded in participating in what is being evoked. cognitive-affective matrix. Transactions with text Paradoxically, when the transactions are that lived offer some linkage with the child's own e and concerns can give rise aestheticall through for their own sake, they will probablyperiences have to new experiences. These in turn open new linas by-products the educational, informative, social, and moral values for which literature is often praised. guistic windows into the world. Recall that when Even enhancement of skills may result. By therefer same to a reading event, it can be either hearin token, literary works often fail to emerge at all theiftext read or having the printed text. Both type the texts are offered as the means for the demof literary experience should continue into the elonstration of reading skills. ementary years. A receptive, nonpressured atmosphere will fre Exercises and readings that do not satisfy such meaningful purposes for the child, but are considthe child to adopt the aesthetic stance with pleasan ered defensible means of developing skills,anticipation, should without worry about future demand There If will be freedom, too, for various kinds of be offered separately, honestly, as exercises. spontaneous nonverbal and verbal expression durneeded, they should be recognized as ancillary and supplementary to the real business of reading ing the for reading. These can be considered interminmeaning, whether efferent or aesthetic.22 gled signs of participation in, and reactions to, the evoked story or poem. I speak of both the teaching of efferent reading and the teaching of aesthetic reading becauseAfter the the reading, our initial function is to deepen distinctions in purpose and process should bethe made experience. (We know one cannot predict declear from the outset. (Of course, I do notvelopments mean in a teaching situation, but we can think to imply theoretical explanation of them to the in child.) terms of priority of emphasis.) We should help If reading is presented as a meaningful, purposive the young reader to return to, relive, savor, the activity, and if texts are presented in meaningful experience. For continuing the focus on what has situations, the two kinds of stance should naturally been seen, heard, felt, teachers have successfully emerge. Texts should be presented that clearly provided the opportunity for various forms of nonsatisfy one or another purpose. Given the linguistic verbal expression or response: drawing, painting, development of the child, probably there should be playacting, dance. These may sometimes become Volume XXI, Number 4 275 This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to ends in themselves, perhaps valuable for a child's development, but only very generally relevant to young readers have made of the text, the teacher can provide positive reinforcement by leading to the reading purposes. Such activities can, however, offer an aesthetic means of giving form to a sense of what has been lived through in the literary trans- further reflection on what in the experienced story or poem had triggered the reactions. Comments by action. This can give evidence of what has caught the young reader's attention, what has stirred pleasant or unpleasant reactions. This can lead other children and the teacher, of course, also con- tribute to this imaginative recall of the experience. Second, if for some reason the teacher finds it appropriate to initiate discussion, remarks (or questions, if necessary!) can guide the reader's attention back toward the reading event. Questions Requests for verbal responses create the greatcan be sufficiently open to enable the young readers est hazards. Adults may, often unconsciously, reto select concrete details or parts of the text that veal a testing motive. Perhaps there will be a suggestion of what the approved or "correct" re- had struck them most forcibly. The point is to foster sponse should be. Sometimes there is a tacit steer- expressions of response that keep the experiential, ing toward an efferent or analytic stance, toward qualitative elements in mind. Did anything especially the kinds of subjects the adult thinks interesting or interest? annoy? puzzle? frighten? please? seem important. The reader is often hurried away from familiar? seem weird? The particular text and the teacher's knowledge of the readers involved will the aesthetic experience and turned to efferent analysis by questions such as those appended to suggest such open-ended questions. The habit of stories in various basal readers and anthologies the aesthetic stance, of attention to concrete detail, and by teachers' questions or tests "checking will be strengthened for further reading. Cognitive back to the text. whether the student has read the text." Questions abilities, to organize, to interpret, or to explain, will be rooted in the ability to handle responses. (And that call for the traditional analyses of character, setting, and plot are often premature or routine, enhanced "reading skills" will probably be a byproduct!) contributing to shallow, efferent readings. Some object that the formalists and post-struc-The young reader will be stimulated to make theits connections among initial responses, the evoked turalists are right in identifying literature with work, and the text. He may then be motivated to system of conventions, its technical traits. My reply is that, by focusing on these components of return the to the actual words of the text, to deepen the experience. As students grow older, sharing of text, they fail to do justice to the total aesthetic responses becomes the basis for valuable interexperience. Metaphor, narrative structure, linguistic conventions, verbal techniques are, of course,change. im- Discovering that others have had different responses, have noticed what was overlooked, have portant elements of "literary" texts, and they conmade alternative interpretations, leads to selftribute much to the quality of the aesthetic transaction. But they are vacuous concepts without awareness and self-criticism.24 recognition of the importance of stance. Poetic metAt the opening of these remarks, I mentioned aphors or narrative suspense, for example, become the need to clarify my own version of reader-reoperative, come into existence, only if the readersponse theory, but felt no urge to survey the gamut pays attention to the inner states that these verbal of competing theories. It seems important, however, patterns arouse. After this repeatedly happens, we to recall that the transactional theory avoids con- can communicate to our students the appropriate centration solely on the reader's contribution or on feeling for its own sake,25 but centers on the reciprocal interplay of reader and text. For years I How, then, can we deal with the young reader's have extolled the potentialities of literature for aidresponses without inhibiting the aesthetic experi-ing us to understand ourselves and others, for ence? Two answers to this quite real dilemma sug-widening our horizons to include temperaments and gest themselves. First, a truly receptive attitude on cultures different from our own, for helping us to the part of teacher and peers - and this requires clarify our conflicts in values, for illuminating our world. I have believed, and have become increasstrong efforts at creating such trust - can be sufficient inducement to children to give sponta- ingly convinced, that these benefits spring only from neous verbal expression to what has been lived emotional and intellectual participation in evoking through. Once nonverbal or verbal comments have the work of art, through reflection on our own given some glimpse into the nature of what the aesthetic experience. Precisely because every aesterminology - when they need it! "Form" is something felt on the pulses, first of all. 276 Theory Into Practice This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to thetic reading of a text is a unique creation, woven out of the inner life and thought of the reader, the literary work of art can be a rich source of insight and truth. But it has become apparent that even when literature is presented to young readers, the efferent emphasis of our society and schools tends to negate the potential interest and benefits of the reading. Literature is "an endangered species." By establishing the habit of aesthetic evocation and personal response during the elementary years, teachers of children's literature can make a prime contribution to the health of our culture. Notes 13. Izard, Carroll E. On the ontogenesis of emotions and emotion-cognition relationships in infancy. In Michael Lewis and Leonard Rosenblum (Eds.), The development of affect. New York: Plenum Press, 1978, p. 404. 14. White, Dorothy. Books before five. New York: Oxford University Press, 1954, p. 13. 15. Conrad, Joseph. Preface. The nigger of the narcissus. New York: Doubleday, Page, 1922, p. x. 16. White, p.79. 17. The problems of validity in interpretation and of the author's intention are treated in Rosenblatt, The reader, the text, the poem, Chapters 5 and 6. 18. Wordsworth, William. Ode, intimations of immortality. Poetical works. London: Oxford University Press, 1959, p.46. 19. See Research in the teaching of English, 15 (4), De1. Tompkins, Jane P. (Ed.) Reader-response criticism. cember 1981, pp. 293-309, 343-354, and passim. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1980, p xxvi; 20. Bateson, Gregory, and Mead, Margaret. Balinese Suleiman, Susan R. and Crosman, Inge (Eds.) The reader in the text. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1980,character. New York: New York Academy of Sciences, 1942; Geertz, Clifford. The interpretation of cultures. New p. 45. 2. Rosenblatt, Louise M. The reader, the text, the poem. Carbondale, III.: Southern Illinois University Press, 1978 York: Basic Books, 1973. 21. Purves, Alan. Literature education in ten countries. Stockholm: Almqvist and Wiksell, 1973. 22. Cf. Huey, Edmund Burke. The psychology and pe"correctness" of interpretation, the author's intention, the dagogy of reading. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1968 openness and constraints of the text, or the role of the (original edition, 1908), pp. 345, 380. critic. 23. See Harste, Jerome C., and Carey, Robert F. Comprehension as setting. In New perspectives on compre3. This is conveniently documented by articles by 11 hension, Monograph in Language and Reading Studies, leading psychologists (Jerome Bruner, Richard Lazarus, Indiana University, No. 3, October 1979. Ulric Neisser, David McClelland, et al.) on "the state of In a volume and an article that reflect the psycholthe science" in Psychology Today, May 1982, pp. 41-59. ogists' usual preoccupation with efferent reading, I find See especially the article by Ulric Neisser. presents the fullest statement of the transactional theory. The present article cannot deal with such matters as 4. Keller-Cohen, Deborah. Context in child language, Annual Review of Anthropology, 1978, 7, pp. 433-482. 5. Halliday, M.A.K. Learning to mean. New York: Elsevier, this concession: "It may be in the rapid interplay of feelings ... that the source of the creation of ideas, later to receive their analytic flesh and bones, may be found. If so, how sad it would be if it were discovered that the real problem of many readers is that their instruction so automatizes them that they do not develop a feeling for 6. James, William. The principles of psychology. New what they read or use the feelings available to them in York: Dover Publications, pp.245-246. the development of new understandings from reading." Spiro, Rand J. Constructive processes in prose compre7. Werner, Heinz, and Kaplan, Bernard. Symbol formation. hension and recall. In Rand J. Spiro, Bertram Bruce, and New York: Wiley, 1963, p. 18. William Brewer (Eds.), Theoretical issues in reading com8. Gibson, E.J. How perception really develops. In David prehension. Hillside, N.J.: L Erlbaum, 1980, p. 274. Laberge and S. Jay Samuels (Eds.), Basic Processes in 24. Rosenblatt, L. Literature as exploration, 1976 (disReading. Hillsdale, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, 1975, p. 171; tributed by the National Council of Teachers of English) Rommetveit, Ragnar. Words, meanings, and messages. 1975. develops further the implications for teaching. New York: Academic Press, 1968, pp. 147, 167; Werner and Kaplan, Symbol Formation, pp.23-24 and passim. 25. The recent publication of On Learning to Read, by 9. Bates, Elizabeth. The emergence of symbols. New York: Academic Press, 1979, pp. 65-66. 10. See Dewey, John. How we think. Lexington, Mass.: D.C.Heath, 1933, Ch. X; Dewey, John. Qualitative thought, Philosophy and civilization. New York: Minton, Balch, 1931, pp. 93-116. 11. Vygotsky, L.S. Thought and language, (Eugenia Hanfmann and Gertrude Vakar, Ed. and trans.) Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1962, p. 8. Bruno Bettelheim and Karen Zelan, with its subtitle, The Child's Fascination with Meaning, and its emphasis on response, leads me to disclaim any actual resemblance to my views. These authors reiterate what many of us, from Dewey on, have been saying about the importance of meaning and the child's own feelings, and about the narrow, dull approach of much teaching of beginning read- ing. But the book's concentration on a doctrinal psychoanalytic interpretation of response, disregard of the process of making meaning out of printed symbols, and treatment of the text as a repository of ready-made mean- 12. Tedlock, Ernest (Ed.) Dylan Thomas. New York: Mer- ings or didactic human stereotypes, add up to an inadequate view of the relationship between reader and text. cury, 1963, p. 54. Volume XXI, Number 4 277 This content downloaded from on Wed, 02 Jan 2019 04:37:59 UTC All use subject to The Affective Fallacy Author(s): W. K. Wimsatt Jr. and M. C. Beardsley Source: The Sewanee Review, Vol. 57, No. 1 (Winter, 1949), pp. 31-55 Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press Stable URL: Accessed: 27-12-2018 14:29 UTC JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at The Johns Hopkins University Press is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Sewanee Review This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY By W. K. WIMSATT, JR., and M. C. BEARDSLEY We might as well study the properties of wine by get ting drunk?Eduard Hanslick, The Beautiful in Music. AS the title of this essay invites comparison with that of an earlier and parallel essay of ours, "The Intentional Fallacy" (The Sewanee Review, Summer, 1946), it may be relevant to assert at this point that we believe ourselves to be exploring two roads which have seemed to offer conveni ent detours around the acknowledged and usually feared ob stacles to objective criticism, both of which, however, have actually led away from criticism and from poetry. The In tentional Fallacy is a confusion between the poem and its origins, a special case of what is known to philosophers as the Genetic Fallacy. It begins by trying to derive the standard of criticism from the psychological causes of the poem and ends in biography and relativism. The Affective Fallacy is a confusion between the poem and its results (what it is and what it does), a special case of epistemological skepticism, though usually advanced as if it had far stronger claims than the overall forms of skepti cism. It begins by trying to derive the standard of criticism from the psychological effects of the poem and ends in impres sionism and relativism. The outcome of either Fallacy, the In tentional or the Affective, is that the poem itself, as an object of specifically critical judgment, tends to disappear. "Most of our criticism in literature and the arts," complains Mr. Ren? Wellek in one of his English Institute essays, "is still purely emotive: it judges works of art in terms of their emo This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 32 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY tional effect . . . and describes this effect by exclamations, su gested moods."1 We are perhaps not so pessimistic as M Wellek about the pervasiveness of the critical method which describes, but we believe there can be no doubt that his mistr of the method is well-founded. Mr. C. S. Lewis in three l tures entitled The Abolition of Man has recently turned w we should judge to be a discomforting scrutiny on the doct of emotive relativism as it appears in textbooks of English co position for use in schools. Mr. John Crowe Ransom in a c ter of his New Criticism, "I. A. Richards: the Psychologic Critic," has done the like for some of the more sophistica claims of neuro-psychological poetics. In the present essay, would discuss briefly the history and fruits of affective critici some of its correlatives in cognitive criticism, and hence cert cognitive characteristics of poetry which have made affective ticism plausible. We would observe also the premises of af tive criticism, as they appear today, in certain philosophic pseudo-philosophic disciplines of wide influence. And first mainly that of "semantics." 1 The separation of emotive from referential meaning was urged very persuasively, it will be remembered, about twenty years ago in the earlier works of Mr. I. A. Richards. The types of meaning which were defined in his Practical Criticism and in the Meaning of Meaning of Messrs. Ogden and Rich ards created, partly by suggestion, partly with the aid of direct statement, a clean "antithesis" between "symbolic and emotive use of language." In his Practical Criticism Mr. Richards spoke of "aesthetic" or "projectile" words?adjectives by which we project feelings at objects themselves altogether innocent of these feelings or of any qualities corresponding to them. And in his succinct Science and Poetry, science is statement, poetry is pseudo-statement which plays the important role of making us This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 33 feel better about things than statements would. After Richards?and under the influence too of Count Korzybski Aristotelian Science and Sanity?came the semantic schoo Messrs. Chase, Hayakawa, Walpole, and Lee. Most rec Mr. C. L. Stevenson in his Ethics and Language has giv account which, as it is more careful and explicit than the ot may be taken as most clearly pleading their cause?and be vealing its weakness. One of the most emphatic points in Mr. Stevenson's sy is the distinction between what a word means and what gests. To make the distinction in a given case, one applies the semiotician calls a "linguistic rule" ("definition" in tional terminology), the role of which is to stabilize respon a word. The word "athlete" may be said to mean one inte in sports, among other things, but merely to suggest a tall y man. The linguistic rule is that "athletes are necessarily ested in sports, but may or may not be tall." All this is o side of what may be called the descriptive (or cognitive) tion of words. For a second and separate main functi words?that is, the emotive?there is no linguistic rule to lize responses and, therefore, in Mr. Stevenson's system parallel distinction between meaning and suggestion. Alt the term "quasi-dependent emotive meaning" is recomm by Mr. Stevenson for a kind of emotive "meaning" whi "conditional to the cognitive suggestiveness of a sign," the m drift of his argument is that emotive "meaning" is some non-correlative to and independent of descriptive (or cognit meaning. Thus, emotive "meaning" is said to survive changes in descriptive meaning. And words with the sam scriptive meaning are said to have very different em "meanings." "License" and "liberty," for example, Mr venson believes to have in some contexts the same descri meaning, but opposite emotive "meanings." Finally, ther 3 This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 34 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY words which he believes to have no descriptive meaning decided emotive "meaning": these are expletives of various But a certain further distinction, and an important one, does not appear in Mr. Stevenson's system?nor in those forerunners?is invited by his persistent use of the word ing" for both cognitive and emotive language functions the absence from the emotive of his careful distinction b "meaning" and "suggestion." It is a fact worth insistin that the term "emotive meaning," as used by Mr. Stev and the more cautious term "feeling," as used by Mr. R to refer to one of his four types of "meaning," do not re any such cognitive meaning as that conveyed by the name emotion?"anger" or "love." Rather, these key terms r the expression of emotive states which Messrs. Stevens Richards believe to be effected by certain words?for in "license," "liberty," "pleasant," "beautiful," "ugly"?and also to the emotive response which these words may ev hearer. As the term "meaning" has been traditionally a fully assigned to the cognitive, or descriptive, functi language, it would have been well if these writers had em in such contexts, some less pre-empted term. "Import" have been a happy choice. Such differentiation in voca would have had the merit of reflecting a profound differ linguistic function?all the difference between grounds tion and emotions themselves, between what is imme meant by words and what is evoked by the meaning of or what more briefly might be said to be the "import" words themselves. Without pausing to examine Mr. Stevenson's belief th pletives have no descriptive meaning, we are content to ob in passing that these words at any rate have only the emotive import, something raw, unarticulated, imprecise. (surprise and related feelings), "Ah!" (regret), "Ugh This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 35 taste). It takes a more descriptive reference to specify the feel ing. "In quiet she reposes. Ah! would that I did too." But a more central re-emphasis for Mr. Stevenson's position?and for that of his forerunners including Mr. Richards?seems re quired by a fact scarcely mentioned in semantic writings: namely, that a large and obvious area of emotive import depends di rectly upon descriptive meaning (either with or without words of explicit ethical valuation)?as when a person says and is be lieved: "General X ordered the execution of 50,000 civilian hostages," or "General X is guilty of the murder of 50,000 civilian hostages." And secondly, by the fact that a great deal of emotive import which does not depend thus directly on de scriptive meaning does depend on descriptive suggestion. Here we have the "quasi-dependent emotive meaning" of Mr. Ste venson's system?a "meaning" to which surely he assigns too slight a role. This is the kind of emotive import, we should say, which appears when words change in descriptive meaning yet preserve a similar emotive "meaning"?when the Com munists take over the term "democracy" and apply it to some thing else, preserving, however, the old descriptive suggestion, a government of, by, and for the people. It appears in pairs of words like "liberty" and "license," which even if they have the same descriptive meaning (as one may doubt), certainly carry very different descriptive suggestions. Or one might cite the word series in Bentham's classic "Catalogue of Motives":?"hu manity, good-will, partiality," "frugality, pecuniary interest, avarice." Or the other standard examples of emotive insinua tion: "Animals sweat, men perspire, women glow." "I am firm, thou art obstinate, he is pigheaded." Or the sentence, "There should be a revolution every twenty years," to which the experimenter in emotive responses attaches now the name Karl Marx (and arouses suspicion), now that of Thomas Jefferson (and provokes applause). This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 36 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY The principle applies conspicuously to the numerous ex offered by the school of Messrs. Hayakawa, Walpole, an In the interest of brevity, though in what may seem a qu defiance of the warnings of this school against unindexed alization?according to which semanticist (1) is not sema (2) is not semanticist (3), and so forth?we call attention Irving Lee's Language Habits in Human Affairs, partic Chapters VII and VIII. According to Mr. Lee, every m that anyone ever makes in acting, since in some direct or sense it involves language or thought (which is related guage), may be ascribed to "bad language habits," a k magic misuse of words. No distinctions are permitted. Rathbone, handed a scenario entitled The Monster, ret unread, but accepts it later under a different title. The imite says "Sibboleth" instead of "Shibboleth" and is s man says he is offended by four-letter words describing e in a novel, but not by the events. Another man receiv erroneously worded telegram which says that his son is The shock is fatal. One would have thought that wit example Lee's simplifying prejudice might have broken ?that a man who is misinformed that his son is dead ma leave himself to drop dead without being thought a vic emotive incantation. Or that the title of a scenario i ground for the inference that it is a Grade-B horror m that the use of phonetic principles in choosing a password son rather than magic?as "lollapalooza" and "lullabye used against infiltration tactics on Guadalcanal; that four-l words may ascribe to events certain qualities which a reade self finds it distasteful to contemplate and would rathe ascribe to them. None of these examples (except the ut anomalous "Sibboleth") offers any evidence, in short, that a word does to a person is to be ascribed to anything excep This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 37 it means, or if this connection is not apparent, at the most with a little reflection, by what it suggests. A question about the relation of language to objects of tion is a shadow and index of another question, about the co tive status of emotions themselves. It is an entirely consi cultural phenomenon that within the same period as the flo of semantics one kind of anthropology has delivered a pa attack upon the relation of the objects themselves to emotio or more specifically, upon the constancy of their relati through the times and places of human societies. In the c treatise of Westermarck on Ethical Relativity we learn, f ample, that the custom of eliminating the aged and unpr tive has been practiced among certain primitive tribes an madic races. Other customs, that of exposing babies, tha suicide, that of showing hospitality to strangers?or the trary custom of eating them, the reception of the Cyclops r than that of Alcinous?seem to have enjoyed in some cult a degree of approval unknown or at least unusual in our But even Westermarck2 has noticed that difference of em "largely originates in different measures of knowledge, base experience of the consequences of conduct, and in differe liefs." That is to say, the different emotions, even though t are responses to similar objects or actions, may yet be respo to different qualities or functions?to the edibility of Odyss rather than to his comeliness or manliness. A converse of is the fact that for different objects in different cultures may be on cognitive grounds emotions of similar quality the cunning of Odysseus and for the strategy of Montgo at El Alamein. There may be a functional analogy for alien object of emotion. Were it otherwise, indeed, there be no way of understanding and describing alien emotion basis on which the science of the cultural relativist migh ceed. This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 38 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY We shall not pretend to frame any formal discours affective psychology, the laws of emotion. At this point, theless, we venture to rehearse some generalities about ob emotions, and words. Emotion, it is true, has a well-kn pacity to fortify opinion, to inflame cognition, and to gro itself in surprising proportions to grains of reason. W mob-psychology, psychosis, and neurosis. We have floating anxiety" and all the vaguely understood and in states of apprehension, depression, or elation, the pre complexions of melancholy or cheer. But it is well to rem that these states are indeed inchoate or vague and by th may even verge upon the unconscious.3 They are the c tives of very generalized objects, of general patterns of c tion or misconception. At a less intensely affective le have "sensitivity" and on the other hand what has been "affective stupidity." There is the well-known saying of P "Le coeur a ses raisons que la raison ne conna?t pas." consider these sensitivities and "raisons" as special a knowing and response makes better sense than to refer th a special faculty of knowing. "Moral sentiments," we t are a part of eighteenth-century history. We have, aga popular and self-vindicatory forms of confessing emoti makes me boil." "It burns me up." Or in the novels lyn Waugh a social event or a person is "sick-making. these locutions involve an extension of the strict opera meaning of make or effect. A food or a poison causes death, but for an emotion we have a reason or an object cause. We have, as Mr. Ransom points out, not unsp fear, but fear of something fearful, men with machine g the day of doom. If objects are ever connected by "em congruity," as in the association psychology of J. S. Mi can mean only that similar emotions attach to various because of similarity in the objects or in their relations This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 39 makes one angry is something painful, insulting, or unjust. O does not call it an angry thing. The feeling and its correla far from being the same, are almost opposites. And the tinction holds even when the name of the correlative quality verbally cognate with that of the emotion,?as lovable to lovin Love, as Plato is at pains to make clear, loves that which i not. The tourist who said a waterfall was pretty provoked th lent disgust of Coleridge, while the other who said it was lime won his approval. This, as Mr. C. S. Lewis so observes,4 was not the same as if the tourist had said, "I sick," and Coleridge had thought, "No, I feel quite well." The doctrine of emotive meaning propounded recently the semanticists has seemed to offer a scientific basis for one of affective relativism in poetics?the personal. That is, i person can correctly say either "liberty" or "license" in a g context independently of the cognitive quality of the cont merely at will or from emotion, it follows that a reader likely feel either "hot" or "cold" and report either "bad" "good" on reading either "liberty" or license"?either an o by Keats or a limerick. The sequence of licenses is end Similarly, the doctrines of one school of anthropology have g far to fortify another kind of affective relativism, the cultu or historical, the measurement of poetic value by the degree feeling felt by the readers of a given era. A different psych gical criticism, that by author's intention, as we noted in our lier essay, is consistent both with piety for the poet and w antiquarian curiosity and has been heavily supported by the h torical scholar and biographer. So affective criticism, though its personal or impressionistic form it meets with strong dis from scholars, yet in its theoretical or scientific form finds st support from the same quarter. The historical scholar, if much interested in his own personal responses or in those of This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 40 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY students, is intensely interested in whatever can be di about those of any member of Shakespeare's audience. II Plato's feeding and watering of the passions5 was an early ex ample of affective theory, and Aristotle's counter-theory of ca tharsis was another (with modern intentionalistic analogues in theories of "relief" and "sublimation"). There was also the "transport" of the audience in the Peri Hupsous (matching the great soul of the poet), and this had echoes of passion or en thusiasm among eighteenth-century Longinians. We have had more recently the contagion theory of Tolstoy (with its inten tionalistic analogue in the emotive expressionism of Veron), the Einf?hlung or empathy of Lipps and related pleasure theories, either more or less tending to the "objectification" of Santa yana: "Beauty is pleasure regarded as the quality of a thing." An affinity for these theories is seen in certain theories of the comic during the same era, the relaxation theory of Pen j on, the laughter theory of Mr. Max Eastman. In their Foundations of Aesthetics Messrs. Ogden, Richards, and Wood listed sixteen types of aesthetic theory, of which at least seven may be de scribed as affective. Among these the theory of Synaesthesis (Beauty is what produces an equilibrium of appetencies) was the one they themselves espoused. This was developed at length by Mr. Richards in his Principles of Literary Criticism. The theories just mentioned may be considered as belonging to one branch of affective criticism, and that the main one, the emotive?unless the theory of empathy, with its transport of the self into the object, its vital meaning and enrichment of experience, belongs rather with a parallel and equally ancient affective theory, the imaginative. This is represented by the figure of vividness so often mentioned in the rhetorics?eficacia, enargeia, or the phantasiai in Chapter XV of Peri Hupsous. This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 41 This if we mistake not is the imagination the "Pleasure which are celebrated by Addison in his series of Spectato is an imagination implicit in the theories of Leibniz and garten, that beauty lies in clear but confused, or sensuous, in the statement of Warton in his Essay on Pope that lection of "lively pictures . . . chiefly constitutes true po In our time, as the emotive form of psychologistic or affe theory has found its most impressive champion in Mr. Richards, so the imaginative form has in Mr. Max Eastm whose Literary Mind and Enjoyment of Poetry have m say about vivid realizations or heightened consciousness. But an important distinction can be made between thos have coolly investigated what poetry does to others and who have testified what it does to themselves. The theo intention or author-psychology, as we noted in our earlier has been the intense conviction of poets themselves, W worth, Keats, Housman, and since the Romantic era, of persons interested in poetry, the introspective amateurs an cultivators. In a parallel way, affective theory has often less a scientific view of literature than a prerogative?th the soul adventuring among masterpieces, the contagious tea the poetic radiator?a magnetic rhapsodic Ion, a Saintsb Quiller-Couch, a William Lyon Phelps. Criticism on this has approximated the tone of the Buchmanite confessio revival meeting. "To be quite frank," says Anatole F "the critic ought to say: 'Gentlemen, I am going to speak myself apropos of Shakespeare, apropos of Racine. . . .' " sincerity of the critic becomes an issue, as for the intenti the sincerity of the poet. "The mysterious entity called the Grand Style," says S bury. . . . "My definition . . . [of it] would . . . come nea the Longinian Sublime." Whenever this perfection of expression acquires such This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 42 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY that it transmutes the subject and transports the hear reader, then and there the Grand Style exists, for so and in such degree, as the transmutation of the one an transportation of the other lasts. And if we follow him further in his three essays on the s (the Grand Style in Shakespeare, in Milton, in Dante), cover that "It is nearly as impossible to describe, meticulo the constituents of its grandeur as to describe that of the of the sun itself." The fact is . . . that this Grand Style is not easily t or discovered by observation, unless you give yours primarily to the feeling of it. With Dante, "It is pure magic: the white magic of style grand style." This is the grand style, the emotive st nineteenth-century affective criticism. A somewhat less r style which has been heard in our columns of Saturday an day reviewing and from our literary explorers is more connected with imagism and the kind of vividness sponso Mr. Eastman. In the Book-of-the-Month Club News Do Canfield testifies to the power of a new novel: "To re book is like living through an experience rather than ju ing about it."7 "And so a poem," says Hans Zinsser, means nothing to me unless it can carry me away with gentle or passionate pace of its emotion, over obstac reality into meadows and covers of illusion. . . . Th criterion for me is whether it can sweep me with i emotion or illusion of beauty, terror, tranquillity, or disgust.8 It is but a short step to what we may call the physiological form of affective criticism. Beauty, said Burke in the Eighteenth Century, is small and curved and smooth, clean and fair and This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 43 mild; it "acts by relaxing the solids of the whole system." More recently, on the side of personal testimony, we have the oft quoted goose-flesh experience in a letter of Emily Dickinson, and the top of her head taken off; the bristling of the skin while Housman was shaving, the "shiver down the spine," the sensa tion in "the pit of the stomach." And if poetry has been dis cerned by these tests, truth also. "All scientists," said D. H. Lawrence to Aldous Huxley, "are liars. ... I don't care about evidence. Evidence doesn't mean anything to me. I don't feel it here" And, reports Huxley, "he pressed his two hands on his solar plexus."9 An even more advanced grade of affective theory, that of hallucination, would seem to have played some part in the neo classic conviction about the unities of time and place, was given a modified continuation of existence in phrases of Coleridge about a "willing suspension of disbelief" and a "temporary half faith," and may be found today in some textbooks. The hyp notic hypothesis of E. D. Snyder might doubtless be invoked in its support. As this form of affective theory is the least theo retical in detail, has the least content, and makes the least claim on critical intelligence, so it is in its most concrete instances not a theory but a fiction or a fact?of no critical significance. In the Eighteenth Century Fielding conveys a right view of the hallucinative power of drama in his comic description of Part ridge seeing Garrick act the ghost scene in Hamlet. "O la! sir. ... If I was frightened, I am not the only person. . . . You may call me coward if you will; but if that little man there up on the stage is not frightened, I never saw any man frightened in my life." Partridge is today found perhaps less often among the sophisticates at the theater than among the myriad audience of movie and radio. It is said, and no doubt reliably, that during the war Stefan Schnabel played Nazi roles in radio dramas so convincingly that he received numerous letters of complaint, and This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to +4 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY in particular one from a lady who said that she had rep him to General MacArthur.10 Ill As the systematic affective critic professes to deal not merely, if at all, with his own experiences, but with those of persons in general, his most resolute search for evidence will lead him into the dreary and antiseptic laboratory, to testing with Fechner the effects of triangles and rectangles, to inquiring what kinds of colors are suggested by a line of Keats, or to measuring the motor discharges attendant upon reading it.11 If animals could read poetry, the affective critic might make discoveries analogous to those of W. B. Cannon about Bodily Changes in Pain, Hunger, Fear and Rage?the increased liberation of sugar from the liver, the secretion of adrenin from the adrenal gland. The affective critic is today actually able, if he wishes, to measure the "psycho-galvanic reflex" of persons subjected to a given moving picture.12 But, as a recent writer on Science and Criti cism points out: "Students have sincerely reported an 'emotion' at the mention of the word 'mother,' although a galvanometer indicated no bodily change whatever. They have also reported no emotion at the mention of 'prostitute,' although the galva nometer gave a definite kick."13 Thomas Mann and a friend came out of a movie weeping copiously?but Mann narrates the incident in support of his view that movies are not Art. "Art is a cold soliere."14 The gap between various levels of physio logical experience and the perception of value remains wide, whether in the laboratory or not. In a similar way, general affective theory at the literary level has, by the very implications of its program, produced very little actual criticism. The author of the ancient Peri Hupsous is weakest at the points where he explains that passion and sub limity are the palliatives or excuses (alexipharmaka) of bold This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 45 metaphors, and that passions which verge on transport are the lenitives or remedies (panakeia) of such audacities in speech as hyperbole. The literature of catharsis has dealt with the his torical and theoretical question whether Aristotle meant a medi cal or a lustratory metaphor, whether the genitive which follows katharsis is of the thing purged or of the object purified. Even the early critical practice of Mr. I. A. Richards had little to do with his theory of synaesthesis. His Practical Criticism depended mainly on two important constructive principles of criticism which Mr. Richards has realized and insisted upon?(1) that rhythm (the vague, if direct, expression of emotion) and poetic form in general are intimately connected with and interpreted by other and more precise parts of poetic meaning, (2) that poetic meaning is inclusive or multiple and hence sophisticated. The latter quality of poetry may perhaps be the objective cor relative of the affective state synaesthesis, but in applied criticism there would seem to be not much room for synaesthesis or for the touchy little attitudes of which it is composed. The report of some readers, on the other hand, that a poem or story induces in them vivid images, intense feelings, or heightened consciousness, is neither anything which can be re futed nor anything which it is possible for the objective critic to take into account. The purely affective report is either too physiological or it is too vague. Feelings, as Hegel has con veniently put it, "remain purely subjective affections of myself, in which the concrete matter vanishes, as though narrowed into a circle of the utmost abstraction." And the only constant or predictable thing about the vivid images which more eidetic readers experience is precisely their vividness?as may be seen by requiring a class of average pupils to draw illustrations of a short story or by consulting the newest Christmas edition of a childhood classic which one knew with the illustrations of How ard Pyle or N. C. Wyeth. Vividness is not the thing in the This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 46 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY work by which the work may be identified, but the res cognitive structure, which is the thing. "The story is g the student so often says in his papers, "because it lea much to the imagination." The opaque accumulation of cal detail in some realistic novels has been an absurd re of plastic or graphic theory aptly dubbed by Mr. Mid Murry "the pictorial fallacy." Certain theorists, notably Mr. Richards, have anticipated difficulties of affective criticism by saying that it is not in of emotion that characterizes poetry (murder, robbery, f tion, horse-racing, war?perhaps even chess?take care better), but the subtle quality of patterned emotions whic at the subdued level of disposition or attitude. We hav chological theories of aesthetic distance, detachment, o terestedness. A criticism on these principles has already important steps toward objectivity. If Mr. Eastman's theo imaginative vividness appears today chiefly in the excited of the newspaper Book Sections, the campaign of the seman and the balanced emotions of Mr. Richards, instead of ing their own school of affective criticism, have contribute to recent schools of cognitive analysis, of paradox, amb irony, and symbol. It is not always true that the emot cognitive forms of criticism will sound far different affective critic (avoiding both the physiological and stractly psychological form of report) ventures to state w precision what a line of poetry does?as "it fills us with ture of melancholy and reverence for antiquity"?eith statement will be patently abnormal or false, or it wi description of what the meaning of the line is: "the specta massive antiquity in ruins." Tennyson's "Tears, idle tea it deals with an emotion which the speaker at first see to understand, might be thought to be a specially emotive "The last stanza," says Mr. Brooks in his recent an This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 47 "evokes an intense emotional response from the reader." But this statement is not really a part of Mr. Brooks's criticism o the poem?rather a witness of his fondness for it. "The se ond stanza,"?Mr. Brooks might have said at an earlier point in his analysis?"gives us a momentary vivid realization of past happy experiences, then makes us sad at their loss." But h says actually: "The conjunction of the qualities of sadness and freshness is reinforced by the fact that the same basic symbol ?the light on the sails of a ship hull down?has been employed to suggest both qualities." The distinction between these formu lations may seem trivial, and in the first example which we furnished may be practically unimportant. Yet the difference between translatable emotive formulas and more physiologica and psychologically vague ones?cognitively untranslatable is theoretically of the greatest import. The distinction even when it is a very faint one is at the dividing point between paths which lead to polar opposites in criticism, to classical ob jectivity and to romantic reader psychology. The critic whose formulations lean to the emotive and the critic whose formulations lean to the cognitive will in the lon run produce a vastly different sort of criticism. The more specific the account of the emotion induced by a poem, the more nearly it will be an account of the reasons for emotion, the poem itself, and the more reliable it will be as an account of what the poem is likely to induce in other?suffi ciently informed?readers. It will in fact supply the kind of information which will enable readers to respond to the poem. It will talk not of tears, prickles, or other physiological symp toms, of feeling angry, joyful, hot, cold, or intense, or of vaguer states of emotional disturbance, but of shades of dis tinction and relation between objects of emotion. It is pre cisely here that the discerning literary critic has his insuperable advantage over the subject of the laboratory experiment and This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 48 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY over the tabulator of the subject's responses. The criti a contributor to statistically countable reports about the but a teacher or explicator of meanings. His readers, are alert, will not be content to take what he says as test but will scrutinize it as teaching. The critic's report w of emotions which are not only complex and dependen precise object but also, and for these reasons, stable. T dox, if it is one, is the analogue in emotive terms of the formula of the metaphysical critic, that poetry is both in and universal?a concrete universal. It may well be t contemplation of this object, or pattern of emotive know which is the poem, is the ground for some ultimate em state which may be termed the aesthetic (some empath synaesthesis, some objectified feeling of pleasure). It m be. The belief is attractive; it may exalt our view of But it is no concern of criticism, no part of criteria. IV Poetry, as Matthew Arnold believed, "attaches the emotion to the idea; the idea is the fact." The objective critic, how ever, must admit that it is not easy to explain how this is done, how poetry makes ideas thick and complicated enough to attach emotions. In his essay on "Hamlet and His Problems" Mr. T. S. Eliot finds Hamlet's state of emotion unsatisfactory be cause it lacks an "objective correlative," a "chain of events" which are the "formula of that particular emotion." The emo tion is "in excess of the facts as they appear." It is "inexpressi ble." Yet Hamlet's emotion must be expressible, we submit, and actually expressed too (by something) in the play; other wise Mr. Eliot would not know it is there?in excess of the facts. That Hamlet himself or Shakespeare may be baffled by the emotion is beside the point. The second chapter of Mr. Yvor Winters' Primitivism and Decadence has gone much further This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY 49 in clarifying a distinction adumbrated by Mr. Eliot. Without embracing the extreme doctrine of Mr. Winters, that if a poem cannot be paraphrased it is a poor poem, we may yet with profit reiterate his main thesis: that there is a difference between the motive, as he calls it, or logic of an emotion, and the surface or texture of a poem constructed to describe the emotion, and that both are important to a poem. Mr. Winters has shown, we think, how there can be in effect "fine poems" about nothing. There is rational progression and there is "qualitative progres sion,"15 the latter, with several subtly related modes, a char acteristic of decadent poetry. Qualitative progression is the suc cession, the dream float, of images, not substantiated by a plot. "Moister than an oyster in its clammy cloister, I'm bluer than a wooer who has slipped in a sewer," says Mr. Morris Bishop in a recent comic poem: Chiller than a killer in a cinema thriller, Queerer than a leerer at his leer in a mirror, Madder than an adder with a stone in the bladder. If you want to know why, I cannot but reply: It is really no affair of yours.16 The term "pseudo-statement" was for Mr. Richards a patro nizing term by which he indicated the attractive nullity of poems. For Mr. Winters, the kindred term "pseudo-reference" is a name for the more disguised kinds of qualitative progression and is a term of reproach. It seems to us highly significant that for another psychological critic, Mr. Max Eastman, so important a part of poetry as metaphor is in effect too pseudo-statement. The vivid realization of metaphor comes from its being in some way an obstruction to practical knowledge (like a torn coat sleeve to the act of dressing). Metaphor operates by being ab normal or inept, the wrong way of saying something.17 Without pressing the point, we should say that an uncomfortable resem 4 This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 50 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY blance to this doctrine appears in Mr. Ransom's logical stru and local texture of irrelevance. What Mr. Winters has said seems basic. To venture slight elaboration of this and a return to the problem of semantics surveyed in our first section: it is a well-kno nonetheless important truth that there are two kinds of r jects which have emotive quality, the objects which ar literal reasons for human emotion, and those which b kind of association suggest either the reasons or the re emotion:?the thief, the enemy, or the insult that ma angry, and the hornet that sounds and stings somewh ourselves when angry; the murderer or felon, and the cro kills small birds and animals or feeds on carrion and i like the night when crimes are committed by men. The ar ment by which these two kinds of emotive meaning are br together in a juncture characteristic of poetry is, roughly ing, the simile, the metaphor, and the various less clea fined forms of association. We offer the following cr ample as a kind of skeleton figure to which we believe issues can be attached. I. X feels as angry as a hornet. II. X whose lunch has been stolen feels as angry hornet. No. I is, we take it, the qualitative poem, the vehicle of a meta phor, an objective correlative?for nothing. No. II adds the tenor of the metaphor, the motive for feeling angry, and hence makes the feeling itself more specific. The total statement has a more complex and testable .structure. The element of apti tude, or ineptitude, is more susceptible of discussion. "Light thickens, and the crow makes wing to the rooky wood" might be a line from a poem about nothing, but initially owed much of its power, and we daresay still does, to the fact that it is This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY spoken by a tormented murderer who, as night draws on, has sent his agents out to perform a further "deed of dreadful note." These distinctions bear a close relation to the difference be tween historical statement which may be a reason for emotion because it is believed (Macbeth has killed the king) and fictitious or poetic statement, where a large component of suggestion (and hence metaphor) has usually appeared. The first of course seldom occurs pure, at least not for the public eye. The coroner or the intelligence officer may content himself with it. Not the chronicler, the bard, or the newspaper man. To these we owe more or less direct words of value and emotion (the murder, the atrocity, the wholesale butchery) and all the reper toire of suggestive meanings which here and there in history? with somewhat to start upon?an Achilles, a Beowulf, a Mac beth?have created out of a mere case of factual reason for in tense emotion a specified, figuratively fortified, and permanent object of less intense but far richer emotion. With the decline of heroes and of faith in objects as important, we have had within the last century a great flowering of poetry which has tried the utmost to do without any hero or action or fiction of these?the qualitative poetry of Mr. Winters' analysis. It is true that any hero and action when they become fictitious take the first step toward the simply qualitative, and all poetry, so far as separate from history, tends to be formula of emotion. The hero and action are taken as symbolic. A graded series from fact to quality might include: (1) the historic Macbeth, (2) Macbeth as Renaissance tragic protagonist, (3) a Macbeth written by Mr. Eliot, (4) a Macbeth written by Mr. Pound. As Mr. Winters has explained, "the prince is briefly introduced in the footnotes" of The Waste Land; "it is to be doubted that Mr. Pound could manage such an introduction." Yet in no one of these four stages has anything like a pure emotive poetry This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 51 52 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY been produced. The semantic analysis which we have off our first section would say that even in the last stages a p of pure emotion is an illusion. What we have is a poetry kings are only symbols or even a poetry of hornets and cr rather than of human deeds. Yet a poetry about thing these things are joined in patterns and with what names o tion, remains always the critical question. "The Roman the Rose could not, without loss," observes Mr. Lew rewritten as the Romance of the Onion." Poetry is characteristically a discourse about both emotio objects, or about the emotive quality of objects, and this th its preoccupation with symbol and metaphor. An emotio for one object is identified by reference to its analogue fe another?a fact which is the basis for the expressionist doct of "objectification" or the giving to emotion a solid and ou objectivity of its own. The emotions correlative to the of poetry become a part of the matter dealt with?not com cated to the reader like an infection or disease, not inflicte chanically like a bullet or knife wound, not administered poison, not simply expressed as by expletives or grima rhythms, but presented in their objects and contemplat pattern of knowledge. Poetry is a way of fixing emoti making them more permanently perceptible when object undergone a functional change from culture to culture, or as simple facts of history they have lost emotive value wit of immediacy. Though the reasons for emotion in poetr not be so simple as Ruskin's "noble grounds for the nobl tions," yet a great deal of constancy for poetic objects of em ?if we will look for constancy?may be traced throug drift of human history. The murder of Duncan -by Mac whether as history of the Eleventh Century or chronicle of Sixteenth, has not tended to become the subject of a Chr carol. In Shakespeare's play it is an act difficult to dupli This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to WIMSATT AND BEARDSLEY all its immediate adjuncts of treachery, deliberation, and horror of conscience. Set in its galaxy of symbols?the hoarse raven, the thickening light, and the crow making wing, the babe plucked from the breast, the dagger in the air, the ghost, the bloody hands?this ancient murder has become an object of strongly fixed emotive value. The corpse of Polynices, a far more ancient object and partially concealed from us by the diffi culties of the Greek, shows a similar pertinacity in remaining among the understandable motives of higher duty. Funeral customs have changed, but not the web of issues, religious, po litical, and private, woven about the corpse "unburied, unhon oured, all unhallowed." Again, certain objects partly obscured in one age wax into appreciation in another, and partly through the efforts of the poet. It is not true that they suddenly arrive out of nothing. The pathos of Shylock, for example, is not a creation of our time, though a smugly modern humanitarianism, because it has slogans, may suppose that this was not felt by Shakespeare or Southampton?and may not perceive its own debt to Shakespeare. "Poets," says Shelley, "are the unac knowledged legislators of the world." And it may be granted at least that poets have been leading expositors of the laws of reeling. To the relativist historian of literature falls the uncomfortable task of establishing as discrete cultural moments the past when the poem was written and first appreciated, and the present into which the poem with its clear and nicely interrelated meanings, its completeness, balance, and tension has survived. A structure of emotive objects so complex and so reliable as to have been taken for great poetry by any past age will never, it seems safe to say, so wane with the waning of human culture as not to be recoverable at least by a willing student. And on the same grounds a confidence seems indicated for the objective dis crimination of all future poetic phenomena, though the premises This content downloaded from on Thu, 27 Dec 2018 14:29:18 UTC All use subject to 53 54 THE AFFECTIVE FALLACY or materials of which such poems will be constructed cann prescribed or foreseen. If the exegesis of some poems d upon the understanding of obsolete or exotic customs, the themselves are the most precise emotive evaluation of toms. In th...
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New Materialist Perspective
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New Materialist Perspective
New materialist perspective also known as modern materialism or neo materialism is a
new approach that has emerged over the past 20 years. It is concerned with the material working
of power and focused on social production. It supplies a conception of an agency which can not
be tied to human activity. New materialism examines how relational networks of animate and
inanimate affect each other as well as how these relationships can be transformed (LeCain,
2015). It extends materialist analysis beyond the traditional concerns to address issues of desires,
thoughts, meanings, and feelings and how they change or contribute to social production. Some
of the new materialists regard their work as discontinuous from the materialism of Marx and
Hegel. Others agree that there exists a connection especially through micro-political functioning
of power, biopolitics, and politics. Despite the various views, new materialist proponents admit
that it can be categorized as posthumanist as well as post anthropocentric as it shifts social
inquiry attention away from focused humanistic attention. Ins...

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