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Transcript of Chapter 5
THE EDUCATED IMAGINATION
All literature is related to or came from the bible or mythology. So to understand all literature most scholars know and understand both.
VERTICALS OF ADAM
Phrase from, Altarwise by owl-light, by
Themes found within the poem:
Title Analysis Cont'd
In chapter 5 Frye focuses on the
theory of literature
he presented in the first 4 chapters.
Specifically targeting application to
"History of Civilization literature follows after mythology"
Myth according to Frye is "a simple and primitive effort of the imagination to identify the human with nonhuman world"
Frye's example "
a story about a god
seen in early
The Bible forms the
in the teaching of literature.
Frye believes it should be the
thing children are taught.
Due to the fact that many texts "quote and allude to" phrases from the bible.
"it's the myth of the Bible that should be the basis of literary training, its imaginative survey of the human situation which is so
that everything finds a place within it."
"'Altarwise by owl-light', which tells the story of a 'gentleman'... going through the stages of life and death and rebirth"
Knowledge of the Bible allows a child to
in literature especially as modern texts are introduced.
"We need both the "Bible and the Classical myths...."
The relation between the Bible and Classical myths.
"stories starting with
"fall and flood"
Children need to be taught these mythologies in order for them to comprehend modern text.
"I’ve taken the title for this talk, ‘Verticals of Adam’, from a series of sonnets by Dylan Thomas, ‘Altarwise by owl-light’, which tells the story of a ‘gentleman’, as Thomas calls him, who is both Adam and Apollo, and moves across the sky going through the stages of life and death and rebirth. These sonnets make very tough reading, and I think one reason why they’re so obscure is that the shape of the central myth of literature broke in on Thomas suddenly at a certain stage of his development, and that it broke with such force that he could hardly get all his symbols and metaphors down fast enough. His later poems, difficult as some of them are, are still much simpler, because by that time he’d digested his mythology."
Dylan Thomas is an example of not being introduced to Biblical and Classical myths as a child.
The Next Step
Simplified and idealized world
Pure and beautiful heroines
Very bad villains
"All forms of Irony, including satire, stress the complexity of human life in opposition to this simple world."
“ ...the habit of standing back and looking at the total structure of every literary work studied...”
“...difference between imaginative and discursive writing”
more or less disguised Information
accepting the writer's postulates
Teaching the student to "react to the total structure [of the text] as a whole" and not just look for the message/moral.
"English has two contexts which must be in place for the student if his study is to have any reality"
1. The context of
(Latin, Greek, and Hebrew)
2. The context of
“Everything man does that's worth doing is some kind of construction and the imagination is the constructive power of the mind set free to work on pure construction, construction for its own sake”
Frye's statement indicates in order to apply imagination to literature, one must apply it to other arts and languages.
Importance of teaching children mythology
exploring and relating arts and languages to mythology
Understanding modern literature
“In literature we have both a theory and a practice”
"The practice is the production of literature by writers of all types”
“The theory is the activity if uniting literature with society and with different contexts that literature itself has.”
Frye expresses the need for children to learn mythology first because it is theory
Modern text is the practice of theory (mythology)
Mythology in Hamlet
Prior knowledge of the bible is required to understand Hamlet
E.g Purgatory, burial customs
E.g Gods, Seasons
' work (Greek Mythology)
In order to apply Frye's theory of literature to education, children must be exposed to mythology and the Bible at a young age. This will allow them to understand modern text; since modern text drives from myths. Also children's imaginations must be urged to explore different arts and languages in order for them to fully understand literature.
Mythology in Oedipus Rex
References Greek Gods and myths
Is a reference for many modern texts