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Myth criticism designates not so much a critical approach in literary studies as the convergence of several methods and forms of inquiry about the complex relations between literature and myth.
- Myth and Literature: Contemporary Theory and Practice
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American Poetry Review Essays. Dean Rader has published widely in the fields of poetry, American Indian studies, and visual culture.
Myth , a symbolic narrative, usually of unknown origin and at least partly traditional, that ostensibly relates actual events and that is especially associated with religious belief. It is distinguished from symbolic behaviour cult, ritual and symbolic places or objects temples, icons. Myths are specific accounts of gods or superhuman beings involved in extraordinary events or circumstances in a time that is unspecified but which is understood as existing apart from ordinary human experience.
Myth and Literature: Contemporary Theory and Practice
Myth criticism designates not so much a critical approach in literary studies as the convergence of several methods and forms of inquiry about the complex relations between literature and myth. So heterogeneous are these inquiries, connecting with so many disciplines and interdisciplinary issues, that it is perhaps best to think of myth criticism as the locus for a series of complex, if powerfully suggestive, questions.
Is myth embedded in literature, or are myth and literature somehow coextensive? Is myth from Greek mythos, "tale, story" inescapably narrative in form? Is all literature susceptible of myth criticism? How self-conscious are literary artists in the use or incorporation of myth?
How does myth in, or as, literature evolve historically? Does a single governing myth, a "monomyth," organize disparate mythic narratives and dominate literary form? What tasks, besides a simple cataloging of putative mythic components, fall to the myth critic? And most fundamentally, what does "myth" mean in the context of literary criticism? The divergence in answers to this last question has been so great, recourse to different disciplines philosophy, anthropology, psychology, folklore so various, that the question becomes an inevitable terminus a quo for a survey of myth criticism.
A characteristic Romantic and post-Romantic tendency in defining myth is the denial of euhemerism, the theory that myths can be explained historically or by identifying their special objects or motives.
The resistance to such reductionism is perhaps strongest in the work of the philosopher Ernst Cassirer, whose monumental Philosophy of Symbolic Forms is given over in its second volume to the proposition that "myth is a form of thought.
But unlike language, or at least the language of philosophy, myth is nonintellectual, nondiscursive, typically imagistic. It is the primal, emotion-laden, unmediated "language" of experience. As a consequence, for mythic consciousness there is no reflective separation of the real and the ideal; the mythic "'image' does not represent the 'thing'; it is the thing" This literal, as opposed to representational, quality of myth suggests that literature that taps into the recesses of mythic consciousness will reveal in powerful fashion the "dynamic of the life feeling" , which gives meaning and intelligibility to our world.
Myth, understood in this honorific rather than pejorative sense, has profoundly influenced numerous literary critics and theorists. Isabel MacCaffrey, for example, insists in her study of Paradise Lost that the Christian myth at the center of the epic is not for Milton an oblique representation but rather the "direct rendering of certain stupendous realities now known only indirectly in the symbolic signatures of earthly life" It was for this reason, she feels, that Milton was obliged to give up earlier allegorical plans for the poem: mythic material is simply inaccessible to allegory or metaphor, because it is itself their "cause.
Two other highly influential, nonreductionist theories of myth come from the fields of anthropology and psychology see Anthropological Theory and Criticism. In other words, the purpose of myth is to provide a logical model capable of overcoming a contradiction. Thus the mythopoeic mythmaking imagination, its structure and operations, is reflected in the structure and symbols of actual myths. His abstract notion of "structure" derived by analogy from Ferdinand de Saussure 's enormously suggestive conception of linguistic structure , while appealing to the more systematic semioticians and structuralists, is difficult to accommodate to what are typically more labile definitions of literary form and structure in "mature" or sophisticated literary traditions.
See Semiotics and Structuralism. For literary criticism perhaps the most productive anti-euhemerist has been the psychologist and one-time disciple of Sigmund Freud , C. Although he is usually associated with archetypes see Archetypal Theory and Criticism , the distinction between archetype and myth has often been blurred, and Jung's theories have been appropriated, mutatis mutandis, by myth critics and archetypal critics alike.
Jung's most influential idea is that of a " collective unconscious," a racial memory, consisting of "primordial images" or archetypes. These find expression in characteristic forms--the Earth Mother, the divine child, the wise old man, the sacrificial death--of the god, the mandala, the satyr or man-animal monster, the cross, the number which provide the primordial elements in the myths and narrative constructions of widely different cultures.
Although Jean Piaget and others have expressed skepticism about the universality or "racial" quality of Jung's archetypes, the archetypal vocabulary is now widespread in the discourse of those who might be called myth critics, including the most influential member of that group, Northrop Frye.
By entitling the third essay of Anatomy of Criticism "Archetypal Criticism: Theory of Myths," Frye suggests a conceptual means of drawing individual and apparently unrelated archetypal images--the fundaments of psyche and culture--into a coherent and ultimately hierarchical framework of "mythoi," one organizing not only individual literary works but the entire system of literary works, that is, literature.
The abstract and conventional qualities Frye attributes to the mythic mode in literature are ultimately reflective of the irreducible and inescapable place of myth itself; so conceived, Western literature, massively funded by the powerful myths of the Bible and classical culture, might be thought of as having a "grammar" or coherent structural principles basic to any critical organization or account of historical development.
That Frye ultimately identifies the "quest-myth" in its various forms as the central myth mono-myth of literature and the source of literary genres is at once the logical conclusion of his approach to myth criticism and the source of ongoing debate.
No brief account can begin to do justice to the massive conceptual power and richly varied suggestiveness of Frye's theory of myths. If occasionally the schematization seems excessive or arbitrary, Frye's efforts nonetheless suggest how powerfully myth can organize our thinking about literature and about culture.
His four "mythoi," or "generic narratives" spring: comedy; summer: romance; autumn:tragedy; winter: irony and satire , have proved central in the ongoing project of rehabilitating genre theory.
And his conviction that the "total mythopoeic structure of concern" extends beyond literature to religion, philosophy, political theory, and history suggests how myth criticism may ultimately connect with a larger theory of culture.
Frye's particular critical and theoretical project has stimulated enormous scholarly activity, but he has had considerable company in defining the possibilities for literary myth criticism. Leslie Fiedler argues that contemporary criticism has lost its way by failing to see how Plato 's "ancient quarrel between logos and mythos "as to which was the primal word" "No!
In Thunder" Answering predictably and claiming that " mythos created poetry," Fiedler appropriates Jung's archetypes and Crocean intuitionism to define myth and thereby free poetry from the enervating embrace of logos science, rationalism, logic see Benedetto Croce.
Having succeeded so well in opposing mythos to logos, however, Fiedler comes perilously close to paralyzing criticism. His own critical project survives chiefly with his notion that literature comes into being only with the imposition of a "Signature" upon mythic materials, a "Signature" being the "sum total of individuating factors in a work" , the sign of the Persona.
The insistence on both signature and myth, or archetype, with the pre-dominance of each varying in individual literary works, creates a useful critical spectrum. Many other modern myth critics and theorists, from the Cambridge Ritualists down to the present, have suggested productive ways of speaking about myth in literature and the connections between literary mythopoeia and the materials explored by other disciplines in our intellectual culture.
Barber, for example, has explored the ways Shakespearean comedy achieves a characteristic "release" leading to social clarification; this "release" is related in turn to a ceremonial, ritualistic, finally mythic conception of human life that was evolving rapidly into a historical, psychological conception among the educated classes of Shakespeare's society. Arguing that this ritual is society's effort to deflect upon a relatively indifferent or "sacrificeable" victim the violence that would otherwise be vented on its own members, Girard offers deeply suggestive commentary on such plays as Ajax, Medea, and, most impressively, Oedipus Tyrannos.
Even in so effectively establishing connections between ritual and myth on the one hand and tragic drama on the other, however, Girard is at pains to acknowledge the distinctively literary qualities of the plays, what he calls the "essentially antimythical and antiritualistic inspiration of the drama" Girard's most important critical claim is that the depiction of the ritual victim, or " scapegoat," must be seen in drama not as simple superstition, a crude mythic holdover, but as the metamorphosis of earlier "reciprocal violence," a communal violence "more deeply rooted in the human condition than we are willing to admit" Although "myth criticism" no longer enjoys its earlier vogue, its legacy is powerful.
Frye's work remains deeply influential; critics of Shakespearean comedy or Paradise Lost must still come to terms with the arguments of Barber's and MacCaffrey's studies; Girard continues to be a striking presence on the contemporary critical scene; and many individual critical studies concentrating on mythic themes, as well as on the formal or generic consequences of those themes, form an important part of the exegetical tradition.
This seems to be particularly true for studies of modernist and American literature. It is likely that the future of literary myth criticism will be determined by the vitality of mythography as a concern in other related or allied fields, as well as by the heuristic power of the questions such criticism can generate. One of the most important of these questions asks about the degree of mythic "self-consciousness" in literary texts.
Is literature mythopoeia or mythology? The nineteenth-century philologist and student of myth F. And subsequently many critics have insisted on the very different ways in which myth is conceived and appropriated by Homer and Sophocles; Virgil and Milton; T.
The peculiarly self-conscious and individual myth systems of poets such as William Blake and W. Yeats also point up the critical question sharply.
In turn, other critics have asked how the Western myth tradition has underwritten canon formation and how, for example, black and feminist literatures are to be understood in relation to, and in conscious rebellion against, this tradition. If one accepts that the proposition "myth is literature" is itself an aesthetic creation and hence defines further creative possibilities as does, for example, the Americanist and myth critic Richard Chase , then the question of mythic self-consciousness becomes particularly exigent.
In short, complex critical and theoretical questions about myth and literature continue to be asked. The susceptibility of literature to forms of myth criticism depends upon the persuasiveness of answers to such questions, as well as upon the success of literary theorists in appropriating the empirical and conceptual investigations of myth by other disciplines. Susanne K. Langer, ; Philosophie der symbolischen Formen, vol.
Willard Trask, ; Leslie A. Jung and C. R, F, C, Hull, , rev. Emerson Buchanan, ; John Vickery, ed. Topics Index Cross-references for this Guide entry:.
Public administration theory
Practice theory or Praxeology , Theory of Social Practices is a theory or 'family' of theories which seeks to understand and explain the social and cultural world by analyzing the basic bodily, knowledge based practices that interconnect to form more complex social entities like groups, lifestyles, social fields or entire societies. Practice theory, as outlined by Sherry Ortner ,  "seeks to explain the relationship s that obtain between human action, on the one hand, and some global entity which we call 'the system's on the other". The approach seeks to resolve the conflict in classical social theory between collectivist structuralist approaches and individualist action theories which attempted to explain all social phenomena in terms of intentional individual actions. Practice theory is strongly associated with the French theorist and sociologist Pierre Bourdieu. His concept of habitus represents an important formulation of the principles of practice theory. His book, Outline of a Theory of Practice , which is based on his work in Algeria during the Algerian War of Independence is an example of Bourdieu's formulation of practice theory applied to empirical data gathered through ethnography.
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Попробуем порыскать. ГЛАВА 125 - Сколько у нас времени? - крикнул Джабба. Техники в задней части комнаты не откликнулись. Все их внимание было приковано к ВР. Последний щит угрожающе таял.
Весь антракт он просидел с ручкой в руке, ломая голову над посланием из одиннадцати букв: HL FKZC VD LDS В конце концов, когда уже гасли огни перед началом второго акта, его осенило. Шифруя послание, Сьюзан просто заменила в нем каждую букву на предшествующую ей алфавите. Для расшифровки Беккеру нужно было всего лишь подставить вместо имеющихся букв те, что следовали непосредственно за ними: А превращалось в В, В - в С и так далее.
Сердце у Сьюзан бешено забилось. Правильно ли она поняла. Все сказанное было вполне в духе Грега Хейла. Но это невозможно. Если бы Хейлу был известен план Стратмора выпустить модифицированную версию Цифровой крепости, он дождался бы, когда ею начнет пользоваться весь мир, и только тогда взорвал бы свою бомбу, пока все доказательства были бы в его руках.
Как он и подозревал, надпись была сделана не по-английски. Беккер долго вглядывался в текст и хмурил брови. И ради этого стоило убивать. Когда Беккер наконец вышел из Гиральды в Апельсиновый сад, утреннее солнце уже нещадно пекло. Боль в боку немного утихла, да и глаза как будто обрели прежнюю зоркость.
- Гамма-лучи против электромагнитной пульсации. Распадающиеся материалы и нераспадающиеся. Есть целые числа, но есть и подсчет в процентах.
Беккера, по-видимому, мучила боль. Он еще не знает, что такое настоящая боль, подумал человек в такси. Девушка вытащила из кармана какой-то маленький предмет и протянула его Беккеру. Тот поднес его к глазам и рассмотрел, затем надел его на палец, достал из кармана пачку купюр и передал девушке. Они поговорили еще несколько минут, после чего девушка обняла его, выпрямилась и, повесив сумку на плечо, ушла.
Тебе он всегда рад. Сьюзан заставила себя промолчать. Хейл хмыкнул себе под нос и убрал упаковку тофу. Затем взял бутылку оливкового масла и прямо из горлышка отпил несколько глотков. Он считал себя большим знатоком всего, что способствовало укреплению здоровья, и утверждал, что оливковое масло очищает кишечник.
Стоя над Хейлом и стараясь унять дрожь, Сьюзан услышала приближающиеся шаги и медленно обернулась. В проломе стены возникла фигура Стратмора. Он был бледен и еле дышал. Увидев тело Хейла, Стратмор вздрогнул от ужаса. - О Боже! - воскликнул .
Какая разница. Давай сотню песет. Обменные операции явно не относились к числу сильных сторон Двухцветного: сто песет составляли всего восемьдесят семь центов. - Договорились, - сказал Беккер и поставил бутылку на стол. Панк наконец позволил себе улыбнуться.
Он быстро нацарапал на программке ответ и протянул Сьюзан: LDSNN Сьюзан, прочитав, просияла. ME TOO, что означало: Я. Беккер расхохотался. Он дожил до тридцати пяти лет, а сердце у него прыгало, как у влюбленного мальчишки. Никогда еще его не влекло ни к одной женщине.
Все глобальное электронное сообщество было обведено вокруг пальца… или так только. ГЛАВА 5 Куда все подевались? - думала Сьюзан, идя по пустому помещению шифровалки. - Ничего себе чрезвычайная ситуация. Хотя большинство отделов АНБ работали в полном составе семь дней в неделю, по субботам в шифровалке было тихо.