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The Keys to Dreamland
Transcript of The Keys to Dreamland
“The critic has always been called the judge of literature, which means, not that he’s in a superior position to the poet, but that he ought to know something about literature, just as a judge’s right to be on the bench depends on his knowledge of the law.” (pg. 56)
“The reader or the critic, then, has a role of complementing the poet’s role” “Useful literature may…[improve] one’s imagination or vocabulary…to use it directly as a guide to life.”(p. 52) “the people who actually speak prose are highly cultivated and articulate people, who’ve read a good many books…” (pg. 54) Even literature can expand your imagination. “Convention, we see, have the same role in literature that they have in life: they impose certain patterns of order and stability on the writer.” (pg.55) Literature wants us to believe that certain realities are truth rather than fiction. When the same goes for society when they tell us that the “normal” is really is fabricated truth. Literature can also be an escape for people to get away from their daily trouble. What difference does the study of literature make in our social or political or religious attitude? “Literature often gets into trouble because it offends some powerful religious or political interest and this interest in its turn, usually acquires or exploits the kind of social hysteria”(pg. 55) Censorship Convention.... ... Prose Censorship is the act for the purpose of suppressing parts deemed objectionable on moral, political, military, or other grounds. 1.Compliance with standards, rules, or laws.
2.Behavior in accordance with socially accepted conventions or standards. Written or spoken language in its ordinary form, without metrical structure. What are some other morally ambiguous stories? (Other than Twilight) Finished. Do you agree or disagree with the statement "there is no reality in literature except that of the human imagination"? In what ways is St. Max conventionalized? Are literary critics necessary for telling us what literature is good and what literature is bad or can we be the judge of it? Start Should society be CENSORED? Rhetorical Devices Repetition Chiasmus Antithesis Allusion Parallelism (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr (cc) photo by theaucitron on Flickr Paradox A seemingly absurd or self-contradictory statement or proposition that when investigated or explained may prove to be well founded or true. If he’s a sensible man we get a sensible decision; if he’s an ass we get that sort of decision, but what we don’t get is a legal decision, because the basis for one doesn’t exist. Pride and Prejudice If he finds that the kind of writing he’s best at has a good deal to do with fairies, like Yeats, or a white goddess, like Graves, or a life-force, like Bernard Shaw, or Episcopal sermons, like T.S Eliot, or bullfights, like Hemingway, or exasperation at social hypocrisies, as with the so-called anger school, these things are apt to take on a reality for him that seems badly out of proportion to his contemporaries. (52) The "like" pattern is repeated in a
series of phrases to create parallel form and to show that the authors are of equal importance. What we’d never see expect in a book is often what we go to books to find . (53) Chiasmus We enjoy the element of surprise in books! "Whether I’m right about this book or not, and I’m not at all sure I am, I think my general principle is right." Frye is establishing a clear, contrasting relationship between two ideas by juxtaposing them in a parallel structure. This brings out a contrast in his opinion. "The world of literature is a world where there is no reality except that of the human imagination." Methods of Development Frye describes how someone used to living in today's modern society on a Canadian street such as Bloor or Granville, etc. would not think anything different of the highly artificial society filled with expensive shops, the brand name cars, and the conventionalism of the popular styles. He contrasts this with someone who came from Mars and just landed on one of these streets. This person or alien would feel that the convention makes the people look queer and strange, and the people driving cars are "a menace to life and limb." (Pg 49 - 50) "Chaucer represents people making up stories in ten-syllable couplets. Shakespeare uses dramatic conventions, which means, for instance, that Iago has to smash Othello's marriage and dreams of future happiness and get him ready to murder his wife in a few minutes. Milton has two nudes in a garden haranguing each other in set speeches beginning with such lines as 'Daughter of God and Man, immortal Eve' - Eve being Adam's daughter because she's just been extracted from his ribcage."
"Almost every story we read demands that we accept as fact something that we know to be nonsense." (Pg 50-51) There is an evident difference between literary style and other kinds of writing.
The best writing is involuntary because there are embodied conventions that impose certain patterns of order and stability on the writer.
When writing to convey information, or for any practical reason, we mean what we say and the words used represent the meaning directly.
Literature is when the poet means what he says, but his real effort is putting the words together. The importance is what the words say themselves when they are fitted together in a certain way, rather than what the poet meant to say.
In a novel, it's the way the incidents in the story are fitted together that the meaning comes alive. (Pg 54-55) Comparison and Contrast Exemplification Classification and Division Definition And even truth has been defined as whatever doesn't disturb the pattern of what we already know. (pg 50) Comparison and Contrast (52-53) - literature isn't a dream world
Life and literature are both conventionalized, however the conventions of literature do not resemble the conventions of life. When literature gets too much like life,
When they collide we realize how different they are. We go to literature to see what we would never see in real life. "Whatever is completely lifelike in literature is a bit of a laboratory specimen there. To bring anything really to life in literature we can't be lifelike: we have to be literature-like." "The absence of any clear line of connection between literature and life comes out in he issues involved in censorship. Because of the large involuntary element in writing, works of literature can't be treated as embodiments of conscious will or intention, like people, and so no laws can be framed to control their behavior which assume a tendency to do this or an intention of doing that. Works of literature get into legal trouble because they offend some powerful religious or political interest... But it's impossible to give legal definitions of such terms as obscenity in relation to works of literature. What happens to the book depends mainly on the intelligence of the judge. If he's a sensible man we get a sensible decision; if he's an ass we get that sort of decision; but what we don't get is a legal decision, because the basis for one doesn't exist." (P 55) Pg 58 to 61
Two halves to literature
Imagination gives both a better and a worse world than what we are used to. It demands that we continually look at both parts.
The other half of literature is the world expressed by sublime, inspiring, and the feeling of absorption but not detachment. It is a world of passions, powers, and moments that are far greater than anything in reality.
Literature gives us an experience that stretches vertically to the heights and depths of what the human mind can conceive (pg 63) the responses individuals have to literature
In our experience with literature there are two kinds of response.
"There is the direct experience of the work itself, while we're reading a book or seeing a play, especially for the first time." This experience is uncritical and our opinions can drastically change at a second approach.
"Then there is the conscious, critical response we make after we've finished reading or left the theatre, where we compare what we've experienced with other things of the same kind, and form a judgment of value and proportion on it." Cause and Effect Classification Classification and Division Exemplification "Why have so many people managed to convince themselves that Shakespeare did not write Shakespeare's plays, when there is not an atom of evidence that anybody else did? Apparently because they feel that poetry must be written out of personal experience, and that Shakespeare didn't have enough experience of the right kind. But Shakespeare's plays weren't produced by his experience: they were produced by his imagination, and the way to develop the imagination is to read a good book or two. As for us, we can't speak or think or comprehend even our own experience except within the limits of our own power over words, and those limits have been established by our great writers. " Pg 61 to 62 Comparison and Contrast (pg 62) literature isn't a dream world
"Literature, then, is not a dream world: it's two dreams, a wish-fulfillment dream and an anxiety dream, that are focused together, like a pair of glasses, and become a fully conscious vision." and Division In the essay Keys to Dreamland, Frye divides the information into 6 main areas of discussion. These six points are summed up in one sentence, specifically the last sentence of the chapter. "Literature is a human apocalypse, man's revelation to man, and criticism is not a body of adjudications, but the awareness of that revelation, the last judgment of mankind." Therefore these six discussion areas are the branches of the keys to dreamland. They are: Convention
How literature refines our sensibilities
Literature isn't a dream world
The responses individuals have to literature
Literary critics and their role in society "If you read the beautiful sentences of Elizabeth Bennett’s conversation in Pride and Prejudice, you can see how in that book they give a powerfully convincing impression of a sensible and intelligent girl. But any girl who talk as coherently as that on a street car would be stared at as though she had green hair." He's using pride and prejudice as an example of prose and also relating it back to the theme of convention and conformity when he says " But any girl who talk as coherently as that on a street car would be stared at as though she had green hair.” Therefore, people talk a certain way that is socially acceptable to their culture and society. Frye is also trying to prove that although prose is the norm in certain literature such as pride and prejudice or time periods such as 1813, it is an impractical source of communication in today's society. To further compare the difference of prose to the language used today, Frye uses this analogy “but in ordinary life prose is no more the language of ordinary speech than one’s Sunday suit is a bathing suit.” concepts are repeated in reverse order, in the same or a modified form Methods of Proof Literary References Appeal to Figures of Authority Veritable Facts Pg 49, Paragraph #1, Robinson Crusoe directly mentioned, and referenced back to the first essay Motive for Metaphor.
Pg 50, Paragraph # 2, Frye uses dramatic conventions, to relate back to Shakespeare's Othello.
Pg 51, Paragraph # 2, Talks about the details of Literature being perverse, talking animals directly related to the talking horse in Gulliver's Travels.
Pg 53, Paragraph # 3, Frye uses a novel by H. G. Wells, called Kipps, to discuss literature having a diminishing law of returns.
Pg 54, Paragraph # 1, References Pride and Prejudice written by Elizabeth Mitchell to contrast modern day language with prose.
Pg 55, Paragraph # 2, Uses the casebook on the trial of Lady Chatterly's Lover, to reflect upon censorship effected by the government.
Pg 58, Paragraph # 1, References Achilles and Othello when discussing the unrealistic nature that literature has even though it still reminds us of real life.
Pg 62, Paragraph # 3, Frye talks about the “Keys To Dreamland,” and where he found the title for it, referencing Joyce's Finnegan's Wake. Pg 50, Paragraph # 2, Uses Chaucer representation of people making up stories in ten syllable couplets to enforce literature’s conventions and there differences in contrast to social conventions. ( Doubles as a Literary Reference as well)
Pg 50, Paragraph # 2, Referencing Milton and the Bible when he discusses Adam and Eve haranguing each other in set speeches, in relation to conventions of literature (Triples as a Literary Reference and a Veritable Fact)
Pg 51, Paragraph # 2, References the Poet's of Shakespeare's day saying that they hated to admit that they were writing words on a page, and that they always insisted that they were writing music. This is when Frye discusses the details of literature being perverse.
Pg 52, Paragraph # 2, Referencing Shakespeare and his life, and that he didn't burst into song before his death, he'd wrote two plays a year until he made enough to retire and spent the last five years counting his take. This is talked about when summing up his statement on how perverse literature is.(Doubles as a Veritable fact)
Pg 52, Paragraph # 2, Frye talks about Yeats, Graves, Bernard Shaw, Hemingway and T. S. Elliot, when discussing why literature should not be used as a guide for life.(Doubles as a Literary Reference)
Pg 52, Paragraph # 2, Frye brings up Lord Byron and how literature imitated his life, which wore him out for thirty years.
Pg 54, Paragraph # 2, References D.H. Lawrence and quotes him about the difference between literary and other kinds of writing. “Don't Trust the novelist; trust his story.”
Pg 57, Paragraph # 1, Frye Brings up William Faulkner or Francois Mauriac when discussing the whether literature has a sense of escape or detachment, he says no to this describing the literature written by these two authors.
Pg 61, Paragraph # 1, When talking about the top half of literature as sublime and inspiring, and the imagination having a protecting wall, with the German poet Rilke, “ we adore them because they disdain to destroy us.”
Pg 62, Paragraph # 2, When talking about literature not a being a dream world but two dreams, a wish-fulfilment dream and anxiety dream, Frye quotes Plato saying that “art is a dream for awakened minds, a work of imagination withdrawn from ordinary life, dominated by the same forces that dominate the dream, and yet giving us a perspective and dimension on reality that we don't get from any other approach to reality. Pg 57, Paragraph # 2, When discussing that literature is a world where there no reality except that of the human imagination, he brings up the Trompe L'oeuil which the resemblance to life is very strong, but goes on to say that even though it's realistic it's on an illusion: it has the glittering unnatural clarity of a hallucination.