By Frank Lentricchia
Lentricchia's severe goal is in proof in his sustained assault at the roughly hidden formalist premises inherited from the hot serious fathers. Even within the identify of ancient awareness, he contends, modern theorists have usually lower literature off from social and temporal methods. via so doing he believes that they've disadvantaged literature of its suitable values and grew to become the educating of either literature and conception right into a rarefied job. All alongside the way in which, with assistance from such varied thinkers as Saussure, Barthes, Foucault, Derrida, and Bloom, Lentricchia exhibits a technique through which destiny severe theorists may well face up to the mandarin attitudes in their fathers.
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In Frye's system desire finally overwhelms ("swallows") all exteriority. Sometime not very long after the primal face-off of consciousness and the inhuman environment- consciousness takes over. Reality in itself, after it receives its initial "formal" humanization, is put forever out of play and-in spite of some inconsistency on the point in his discussion of satire and demonic imagery-comes to occupy the peculiar limbo state of the Kantian ding an sich. ) Hence again the justice of Meyer Abrams's charge of monism: Frye's is a one-term system which permits literary structures to draw upon, imitate, and displace one another, but never to move outside of the literary universe.
It must be granted that Kant's assault on ontology appeared to give the advantage to the fictionalists in their long-standing argument with the Platonists: Kant elevated the human subject in the cognitive process as he banished realist perspectives in ontology and epistemology, and Kermode picks up on this when he notes the "law-giving" powers of consciousness. But in the long run Kant intended no radical philosophical move, though he may have implied one, as Nietzsche would urge with not a little relish.
The main tradition of Stevens criticism is correct: "truth" and "reality" are terms in Stevens that tend to stand for that objectively knowable lump of thereness-a conception close to what Frye calls our "environment"-which awaits metamorphosis on the blue guitar. The structure of Stevens's thought and of the entire fictionalist theoretical tradition on its conservative side is radically dualistic and very often paranoid: From this the poem springs: that we live in a place That is not our own, and much more, not ourselves ....