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Chapter Three: Giants in Time

The Educated Imagination by Northrop Frye

Adri Elisa

on 11 September 2012

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Transcript of Chapter Three: Giants in Time

The Educated Imagination by Northrop Frye Chapter Three: Giants in Time In your opinion, does literature depict reality? Questions... Giants in Time... Allegory and Imagery Do you think poetic devices such as allegory and imagery make literature unrealistic? The Question... What kind of reality does literature have? Do you agree with the statement: "Once anyone gets pulled into literature whatever he was in reality could hardly matter less"? A writer will take an image or object and use it poetically, having it represent or resemble something in human life, so that it becomes a symbol.

Objects become more than just sheep and flowers (as used as an example in the chapter) because there's now a literary reason for it.

Objects can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning.

Frye also describes how putting abstract ideas into concrete images and situations creates an allegory In the conclusion, Northrop Frye answers the question he posed at the beginning of this lecture: "What kind of reality exists in literature?" Things he covered in his Conclusion: Conclusion The famous characters Hamlet and Falstaff from Shakespeare's plays are fictional Audience becomes attached to these characters through their actions and words that Shakespeare wrote These characters do not have anything to do with any historical figures that Shakespeare may have based them on in any way Key Quote "Once anyone gets pulled into literature, he's taken over by literature and whatever he was in real life could hardly matter less" (34). Northrop Frye wanted to address the question of what kind of reality exists in literature in this lecture called "Giants in Time".
He named it "Giants in Time" after the last sentence of the series of novels written by Marcel Proust titled "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu", which means “In Search of Lost Time”.
Northrop Frye explains what Marcel Proust says within the series as "... Our ordinary experince, where everything dissolves into the past and where we never know what's coming next, can't give us any sense of reality, although we call it real life"(47). What he means is that in our ordinary life, everything vanishes into the past and we never know what is coming next so we cannot know what reality is when our perception of reality is this way.
He lays out the example that we are dogs in a library because we are surrounded by all of this meaning, yet we are completely unaware of its presence.
Frye says that Proust’s ability to look at men as “giants immersed in time” rather than from living moment to disappearing moment, is what allows him to write his book. Origin of the Title of the Lecture
The origin of the title for this lecture ("Giants in Time").
Northrop Frye's first part of the answer to the introductory question.
The second part of Northrop Frye's answer to the question.
The reason that "Giants in Time" is a perfect suit for the title of this lecture. Northrop Frye says that “The writer is neither a watcher nor a dreamer. Literature does not reflect life, but it doesn’t escape or withdraw from life either: it swallows it”(47).
He also believes that imagination swallows everything. He means that even though something in literature can be based on or start off as reality, the imagination conquers it.
Like stated before, even though certain characters in literature could possibly be based on actual historic people, no one cares about the historical character. Imaginary vs. Imaginative Part 1 of Northrop Frye's Answer to "What kind of reality exists in literature" Part 2 of Northrop Frye's Answer to "What kind of reality exists in literature?" Northrop Frye also believes that even though our imagination takes over in relation to literature, it does not mean we are blind to the reality of it. We still wonder whether a fictional character could be based on a historic one that the writer had come to know. His ANSWER
Northrop Frye therefore believes that the reality that exists in literature is the kind that is swallowed up by imagination, yet it does not escape reality. Frye addresses the fact that what we are presented with in literature is neither real nor unreal. About a Poet... It is easy for someone to perceive literature as unreal because poets themselves are like "licensed liars". Key Methods Allegory The Reason That the Title "Giants in Time" is a Good Title for This Lecture: All of that is why “Giants in Time” depicts how Northrop Frye answers the question of what kind of reality exists in literature.
Marcel Proust took the reality of how human beings are perceived, which is from living point to disappearing point, and let his imagination swallow it.
When it was expelled from his imagination, it came out as humans being perceived as “giants immersed in time”.
This means that we are immortal in a metaphoric way. Even though we die, it does not mean that we disappear. A non-physical part of us is still alive.
An example of this is that famous characters, whether or not they were historical at all, are still alive.
They are still known, and talked about, all thanks to literature. Most humans are the same, we may appear in the media, we may be on someone’s mind, we may be in the yellow pages, and we may be read about in literature after we die. We are “giants immersed in Time”. "The word poet itself means liar in some languages and the words we use in literary criticism, fable, fiction, myth, have all come to mean something we can't believe" (34). Poets are undeniably entitled to make changes to whatever they please when using a theme from history or real life What does the phrase "Giants immersed in time mean"? Would literature be as appreciated as it is today if we did not read classic pieces of literature such as the bible, Shakespeare, the Greek and Roman classics, etc? Explain why or why not. unreal what the writer produces Allusiveness The author emphasizes the allusiveness in literature, because it is frequently used since writers tend to include allusions to famous pieces of literature such as the Greek and Roman classics, the bible, Shakespeare, etc. The "Universal Event" REFLECTION: The term "universal event" was invented by Greek philosopher Aristotle "This allusiveness in literature is significant, because it shows what we've been saying all along, that in literature you don't just read one poem after another, but enter into a complete world of which every work of literature forms part. Many people think that the original writer is always inspired by life, and that only common placed or derivative writers get inspired by books." This quote explains how literature comes together when we refer back to poems, novels, or articles. Frye tells us that in order to fully appreciate literature, we must read and know the classics so we are able to understand the references or allusiveness made by the author. Identifying with the human mind

Frye says that the poet tries to identify everything he sees in nature with human life. The writer does not withdraw from the reality but he/she allows his/her imagination to swallow it up. It is therefore THE JOB OF THE READER TO DIFFERENTIATE BETWEEN the IMAGINARY, IMAGINATIVE AND THE REALITY parts of the text. "Sheep may safely graze where a good shepherd is watching." Although a character may be based on a historical figure, it is left up to the writer to determine how they will exist in literature An example is a quote from Theseus from Shakespeare's A Midsummer's night's Dream:

"The lunatic, the lover, and the poet
Are of imagination all compact." According to Aristotle He says that "a poet never makes any statements at all, certainly no particular or specific ones It is not the poet's job to tell the reader/audience what happened but what happens; not what did take place, but what does take place ex Macbeth Qoute For example, the characters of Amleth and Sir John Falstaff are nothing like the historical figures their characters were named after Characters possess characteristics that identify with the reader
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