Explorations in Poetics

Overview

This collection of essays, published in a different time and now revised, constitutes a lucid introduction to a systematic theory of literature-a "grammar" of literature-without heavy terminology or bibliography. Developed by the author in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s, this coherent and comprehensive theory of the work of literature lay at the foundations of the Tel-Aviv School of Poetics. The approach, which may be called "Constructive Poetics," does not assume that the work of literature is a text with ...
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Overview

This collection of essays, published in a different time and now revised, constitutes a lucid introduction to a systematic theory of literature-a "grammar" of literature-without heavy terminology or bibliography. Developed by the author in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s, this coherent and comprehensive theory of the work of literature lay at the foundations of the Tel-Aviv School of Poetics. The approach, which may be called "Constructive Poetics," does not assume that the work of literature is a text with fixed structures and meanings, but a text that invites the reader to evoke or project a network of interrelated constructs, complementary or contradictory as they may be. The work of literature is not just a narrative, as studies in narratology assume, but a text that projects a fictional world or an Internal Field of Reference. Texts convey meaning through the evocation of "frames of reference" (such as scenes, characters, or ideas). Language in literature is double-directed: it relates the Internal Field to External Fields and vice versa.

This volume explores a range of topics: the problems of fictionality, presentation and representation, metaphor as interaction between several frames of reference, the theory of Integrational Semantics in literary and other texts, the meaning of sound patterns in poetry, and the question of "literariness." Revived today, the essays here resonate with the current mood in literary criticism.

About the Author:
Benjamin Harshav currently Professor of Comparative Literature, J. and H. Blaustein Professor of Hebrew Language and Literature, and Professor of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804755160
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 4/9/2007
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Benjamin Harshav is the Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature at Yale University. Until 1987, he taught at Tel Aviv University, where he established a department of poetics and comparative literature. He is also the founding editor of the journal Poetics Today. His recent books include Marc Chagall and His Times: A Documentary Narrative (Stanford, 2003) and Sing, Stranger: A Century of American Yiddish Poetry—A Historical Anthology(Stanford, 2006). He is also the editor of Marc Chagall on Art and Culture(Stanford, 2003).

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Table of Contents


Preface     vii
Fictionality and Fields of Reference: A Theoretical Framework     1
Metaphor and Frames of Reference: With Examples from Eliot, Rilke, Mayakovsky, Mandelshtam, Pound, Creeley, Amichai, and the New York Times     32
An Outline of Integrational Semantics: An Understander's Theory of Meaning in Context     76
The Structure of Semiotic Objects: A Three-Dimensional Model     113
On Presentation and Representation in Fiction     128
The Meaning of Sound Patterns in Poetry: An Interaction Theory     140
"Literariness" Revisited: A Contemporary Manifesto     161
The Structure of Non-Narrative Fiction: The First Episode of War and Peace     174
References to Chapters 1-8     211
Frameworks
The Elusive Science of Literature: Remarks on the Fields and Responsibilities of the Study of Literature [Tel-Aviv 1968]     215
A Unified Theory of the Literary Text [Berkeley 1972]     250
Sources of the Chapters     271
Index     273
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