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James Britton’s theory of language and learning and the recent ’affective’ literary critics 1976

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JAMES BRITTON1S THEORY OF LANGUAGE AND LEARNING AND THE RECENT 'AFFECTIVE' LITERARY CRITICS by ROBERT PHILIP McBURNEY B.A. University of Manitoba, 1968 B. Ed. University of Calgary, 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of English) We accept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1976 © Robert P h i l i p McBurney, 1976 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. n . f ENGLISH Department of The University of British Columbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 fifipt.embea. f 1976 I. 1 ABSTRACT This thesis examines the theories of some recent •affective* l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s i n the l i g h t of James Britton's theory of language and learning. U n t i l recently, l i t - erary c r i t i c i s m generally has not been concerned with the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the text and the reader; i t has concerned i t s e l f either with the poem as a s t a t i c verbal object, as i n New C r i t i c i s m , or with the writer-text relationship, as i n biographical c r i t i c i s m . With the neglect of the text-reader r e l a t i o n s h i p , the study of l i t e r a t u r e has also ignored a basic aesthetic p r i n c i p l e -- that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between a work of a r t and i t s percipient i s a dynamic in t e r a c t i o n where 'ordinary' experience cannot be separated from aesthetic experience. Chapter I delineates t h i s p r i n c i p l e proposed primarily by John Dewey, whose theory i s complemented by those of R.G. Collingwood, Susanne Langer, and George Kelly. Chapter II i d e n t i f i e s and examines the recent theories of seven l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s who discuss the ' a f f e c t i v e ' relationship between the reader and the text -- Norman Holland, Standly Fish, Roland Barthes, Wolfgang Iser, Georges Poulet, Wayne Booth, and Walter S l a t o f f . Two i i ideas emerge which are related to the aesthetic p r i n c i p l e espoused by John Dewey and others: 1) our aesthetic responses to l i t e r a t u r e are natural extensions of our mundane selves; and 2) l i t e r a t u r e as a r t i s s t i l l a l i n g u i s t i c utterance, and as such i s related to other ordinary kinds of language use. But these ideas are rudimentary and fragmented and there i s a need for a more general theory to integrate them. James Britton's theory of language i n Chapter I I I , contained mainly i n his book Language and Learning, provides a structure which sub- sumes these fragmented ideas so that a perspective can be gained on t h i s new c r i t i c i s m . B r i t t o n puts f o r t h the view that l i t e r a t u r e i s a manifestation of man's l i n g u i s t i c a c t i v i t y i n what he c a l l s the 'spectator r o l e * . This theory integrates the c r i t i c a l ideas a r i s i n g out of Chapter II and also places l i t e r a t u r e i n a new perspec- t i v e with other of man's spectator role a c t i v i t i e s , both l i n g u i s t i c (gossip, personal letter-writing) and non- l i n g u i s t i c (play, dream, fantasy, r i t u a l ) . B r i t t o n points to the importance of spectator role a c t i v i t i e s i n personal development. i i i TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction 1 I Perception and Aesthetic Response 4 a) The Nature of Experience 4 b) Aesthetic Experience 15 Footnotes 27 IT The Recent A f f e c t i v e L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m 30 a); W. K, Wimsatt: The A f f e c t i v e F a l l a c y .. 32 b) Norman Holland: Psychoanalytic Theory.. 35 c) Stanley F i s h : A f f e c t i v e S t y l i s t i c s .... 39 d); Roland Barthes: S t r u c t u r a l i s t Analysis 4 3 e); Wolfgang Iser: Indeterminacy 48 f) Georges Poulet: Phenomenology 53 g) Wayne Booth: Interests, Emotions, . '' - B e l i e f s 56 h) Walter S l a t o f f : S u b j e c t i v i t y 60 Footnotes , 67 ITI James Br i t t o n 73 a) The Nature of Experience 76 b) The Role of Language ... ; 82 c) Literature As Experience 89 d) Perception of Form 97 e) Implications 101 Footnotes 107 Bibliography , 115 i v ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would l i k e to thank Dr. Graham Good who helped i n reading my work and who gave an excellent seminar i n l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m , out of which t h i s thesis grew; Dr. Fred Bowers, who provided supervision and encouragement with t h i s task which was, at times, most d i f f i c u l t for me; and Dr. Merron Chorny, of the University of Calgary, who helped stimulate the o r i g i n a l idea for t h i s study. 1 INTRODUCTION In the reading of any work of l i t e r a t u r e , a r e l a - tionship exists between the writer, the text, and the reader. U n t i l recently, l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m has been con- cerned either with the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the writer and the text, as i n biographical c r i t i c i s m , or s o l e l y with the text i t s e l f , as i n New C r i t i c i s m . The r e l a t i o n s h i p be- tween the reader and the text has been implied or ignored altogether. With the neglect of the text-reader r e l a t i o n s h i p , the study of l i t e r a t u r e has also ignored a basic aesthe- t i c p r i n c i p l e — that the r e l a t i o n s h i p between a work of art and i t s percipient i s a dynamic in t e r a c t i o n where 'ordinary' experience cannot be separated from aesthetic experience. Recently, however, a group of c r i t i c s has begun to consider the text-reader relationship more thoughtfully. This relationship i s no longer presupposed, as i t was with New C r i t i c i s m ; with these 'affective' c r i t i c s , the text i s no longer viewed as a s t a t i c object to which we respond only by formal analysis. These c r i t i c s cannot r e a l l y be considered a school as they have had r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e influence upon one another, but t h e i r views represent a common concern — a reaction to the New C r i t i c a l approach. 2 James Britton's i n t e r e s t i n man's l i n g u i s t i c act- i v i t y has led him, from a d i f f e r e n t d i r e c t i o n to the same problem. Bri t t o n proposes a theory of man's l i n g u i s t i c a c t i v i t y of which l i t e r a t u r e i s an i n t e g r a l part. I be- li e v e that through B r i t t o n , because of his wider perspec- t i v e , we are able to see much more c l e a r l y the v a l i d i t y of th i s new trend i n 'affective' c r i t i c i s m and to see, as well, where th i s trend i s leading. Chapter I delineates a basic aesthetic p r i n c i p l e proposed primarily by John Dewey, whose theory of art and perception i s complemented by those of R. G. Collingwood, Susanne Langer, and George Ke l l y . Dewey's claim i s that there i s no r e a l q u a l i t a t i v e difference between a rt and l i f e , between aesthetic experience and ordinary experience. This p r i n c i p l e i s picked up and developed piecemeal by the various c r i t i c s i n Chapter I I , and i s central to James Britton's theory i n Chapter I I I . Chapter II examines the 'aff e c t i v e ' c r i t i c s who have begun to look at the text-reader r e l a t i o n s h i p . Here the aesthetic p r i n c i p l e discussed i n Chapter I i s devel- oped s p e c i f i c a l l y i n terms of l i t e r a t u r e . We f i n d some c r i t i c s saying that when we respond a e s t h e t i c a l l y to l i t e r a t u r e , our responses are, can only be, natural inten- tions of our mundane selves. Interestingly, others move into the area of language, making a related claim that 3 l i t e r a t u r e as art i s s t i l l a l i n g u i s t i c utterance, and as such i s related to ordinary l i n g u i s t i c utterances. The ideas which emerge from a study of these c r i t i c s are frag- mented, unrelated, even crude. There i s need for a more general theory to integrate these ideas. Chapter III delineates James Britton's theory of language and learning which has integrated,i both..^ Dewey's aesthetic p r i n c i p l e about experience, and the notion that l i t e r a r y language cannot be separated from ordinary lang- uage. For Britt o n , l i t e r a t u r e arises quite organically out of l i n g u i s t i c a c t i v i t y i n what he c a l l s the 'specta- tor mode. The 'aesthetic' experience of reading l i t e r a t u r e i s likewise organically connected to 'ordinary' experience. Aesthetic experience, i n the end,has not so much to do with art as with personal growth. B r i t t o n provides a general theory which subsumes the insights of the 'aff e c t i v e ' c r i - t i c s , enabling us to gain a perspective on them. 4 I - PERCEPTION AND AESTHETIC RESPONSE If we look beyond the bounds, of l i t e r a r y theory, we immediately encounter an idea which has been largely ignored u n t i l recently by l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m . The fore- most claim of the f i r s t major aesthetic theory i n the English language, John Dewey's Art As Experience (1934) i s that art cannot be separated from l i f e . Aesthetic expe- rience has i t s roots i n ordinary experience; the former naturally extends out of the l a t t e r . Chapter I delineates t h i s idea contained i n Dewey's book and complemented by several other theories of percep- t i o n and aesthetic response: R.G. Collingwood's The P r i n - c i p l e s of Art (1938), George Kelly's A Theory of Person- a l i t y (1955), and Susanne Langer's Philosophy i n a New Key (1942) and Feeling and Form (1953). a) The Nature of Experience According to Dewey, our concept of the physical world as f i n i t e i s an i l l u s i o n . The 'wholeness' we per- ceive i n our environment i s e n t i r e l y of our own i n d i v i d u a l constructions. What we normally regard as our 'world' stretches out into the i n f i n i t y of the universe. There are no bounds which mark of f our planet as a u n i f i e d whole; that i s to say, there are no bounds which e x i s t of them- selves, for the bounds which we perceive we have conferred 5 upon ourselves. "We are accustomed to think of physical objects as having bounded edges," states Dewey, "things l i k e rocks, chairs, books, houses, trade, and science with i t s e f f o r t s at precise measurement, have confirmed t h i s b e l i e f . Then we unconsciously carry over t h i s b e l i e f i n the bounded character of a l l objects of experience (a be- l i e f founded ultimately i n the p r a c t i c a l exigencies of our dealings with things) into our conception of experience i t - s e l f . " We experience the world 'subjectively* and a l - though the objective world i s not chaotic, our experience of i t can be. This only makes sense, for we begin as r e l a t i v e l y inexperienced organisms confronting an i n f i n i t e whole which we can perceive only piecemeal. The universe i t s e l f runs l i k e a clockwork, but as subjective organisms we naturally cannot grasp any such conception of wholeness at the outset of l i f e . For example, the images on a t e l e v i s i o n screen are two quite d i f f e r e n t things to a six month old c h i l d and to i t s mother. Obviously there i s an accumulation of some kind where we b u i l d our own experiences. In a sense we bu i l d our world, or at least our view of the world, as we grow. Dewey maintains that as organisms, we seek whole- ness; we construct i t out of our subjective experience of the world. Although our experiences take place i n an 6 i n d e f i n i t e t o t a l setting where objects i n the world " ... are only f o c a l points i n a here and now that stretches out i n d e f i n i t e l y , " we sense that our experience takes place within a wholeness — our family, our c i t y , our country, our world. "The sense of an extensive and underlying whole," states Dewey, " i s the context of every experience 3 and i t i s the essence of sanity." How then does the experiential content of the six month old c h i l d expand to the extent that the c h i l d w i l l be able to make sense out of the images on the t e l e v i s i o n screen? George Kelly's A Theory of Personality provides some insigh t s . "There i s a world which i s happening a l l the time," states Kelly. "Our experience i s that portion 4 of i t which i s happening to us." Kelly's claim i s a simple one: i n our exposure to the circumstances i n our en- vironment, we necessarily look for something that repeats i t s e l f . "Once we have abstracted that property," states Kelly, "we have a basis for s l i c i n g o f f chunks of time and r e a l i t y and holding them up for inspection one at a time. On the other hand, i f we f a i l to f i n d such a property, we are l e f t swimming i n a shoreless stream, where there are no beginnings and no endings to anything." For Susanne Langer, i n Philosophy i n a New Key, the organism i s i n the unavoidable position of " ... construing the pandemonium of 7 sheer impressions ... " which surrounds and threatens to engulf i t . Her point i s similar to Kelly's; according to Langer the things which repeat themselves i n the envi- ronment (and thus which we are capable of construing), are derived of the eternal r e g u l a r i t i e s and rhythms of nature and t h e i r subsequent ramifications on human behavior. The a b i l i t y to 'construe' (Kelly's term) repetitions i n the flow of circumstances which surround the organism i s for Langer the a b i l i t y to recognize forms. And our way of perceiving these forms i s to represent them to ourselves. Kelly characterizes l i f e as involving " ... an i n - teresting relationship between parts of our universe wherein i n one part, the l i v i n g creature, i s able to bring himself 7 around to represent another part, his environment." Kelly i n i t i a l l y makes no d i s t i n c t i o n between animal l i f e and human l i f e but implies that the difference l i e s i n the r e l a t i v e sophistication of representation. Langer, how- ever, i s more e x p l i c i t . For her, the key to what separates man from the other animals i s man's unique a b i l i t y to recog- nize symbolic forms. Out of the bedlam of circumstance about us, " ... our sense organs must select c e r t a i n pre- dominant forms, i f they are to make report of things and g not of mere dissol v i n g sensa." The human organism i s unique because i t has the a b i l i t y to represent things 8 (symbolize) rather than merely indicate them ( s i g n i f y ) . Thus we are able to represent.experience to ourselves. And in the formative stages of the organism's l i f e t h i s repre- sentation i s achieved through an " ... unconscious appre- 9 c i a t i o n of forms ... " The human organism, then, finds i t s e l f confronted with a flux of circumstances and energies out of which i t must make some sense. In Dewey's view, the organism abso- l u t e l y must make sense of i t s surroundings i n order to survive, i n order, quite l i t e r a l l y , to grow. The organism, by v i r t u e of being a l i v e , acts upon the environment which, i n a l l normal human a c t i v i t i e s r e s i s t s , causes d i s p a r i t y or disharmany as i n the organism's state of hunger, for example. The infant i s hungry and l e f t unfed; i t c r i e s ; i t i s fed. In the normal process of l i v i n g the human or- ganism undergoes alternative phases of harmony and disharmony. It i s bound to recover from disharmony i f i t i s to remain a l i v e . Moreover, i n the recovery, the organism never re- turns to i t s p r i o r state, but i s enriched by the di s p a r i t y ; growth occurs: " L i f e growns when a temporary f a l l i n g out i s a t r a n s i t i o n to a more extensive balance of energies of the organism with those of the conditions under which i t l i v e s . " 1 0 Thus the organism, through many such success- ive phases of d i s p a r i t y and harmony, builds a more elaborate 9 and sophisticated representation of the environment. In Kelly's view, "The person moves out toward making more and more of the world predictable ... " ^ Kelly's view of man i s that he i s e s s e n t i a l l y a predictive animal who comes to understand his world through a successive series of approximations of his experience i n i t ; he i s constantly seeking to improve his predictive apparatus. Kelly c a l l s our ways of construing the world 'constructs', which, i n the i n i t i a l stages of l i f e , are very crude but which as we grow, evolve into an elaborate and s o p h i s t i - cated system. "Man looks at his world through transparent patterns or templates," states Kelly, "which he creates and then attempts to f i t over the r e a l i t i e s of which the 12 . . world i s composed." As constructs become inoperative or inadequate i n predicting the r e a l i t i e s of the world, they are discarded or modified i n order to accommodate i n - consistencies i n the face of disparate experiences which confront; us. And, according to Kelly, a person w i l l norm- a l l y choose to elaborate his system of constructs. Constructs are not necessarily even conscious. Langer maintains that our recognition of forms i s not neces- s a r i l y confined to forms which are conceived through d i s - qursive thought. "Now, I do not believe that 'there i s a world which i s not physical or not i n space-time'," she 10 states, "but I do believe that i n th i s physical, space-time world of our experience there are things which do not f i t the grammatical scheme of things. But they are not necessarily b l i n d , inconceivable, mystical a f f a i r s ; they are simply matters which require to be conceived through 13 some symbolistic schema other than discursive language." For Langer there i s a 'non-discursive symbolism' which con- s i s t s of the abstractions made by our sense organs, con- taining meanings which are too complex to be handled by a discursive representation. What, then, constitutes what we c a l l an 'experi- ence'? The organism, having achieved a state of harmony with i t s environment, acts, meets resistance, and f a l l s into a state of d i s p a r i t y from which i t must recover. Upon recovering, achieving a state of harmony, the organ- ism has grown. I t i s no longer what i t was, nor does i t perceive i t s environment i n the same way. In a sense, the organism has achieved an awareness of new p o s s i b i l i t i e s ; by v i r t u e of the experience i t has undergone, the organism can predict p o s s i b i l i t i e s for future a c t i v i t i e s i n a more sophisticated manner. In Kelly's terms, the organism has elaborated i t s construct system i n order that the sys- tem be better capable of predicting future experience. The interaction between the organism and i t s environment, 11 i n which the organism can be said to have grown, i s what Dewey defines as experience, a d e f i n i t i o n which can be applied to human and non-human organisms. But human ex- perience i s then to be distinguished as 'conscious' ex- perience. The relations between organism and environment, which remain those of 'cause and effect', for most animals, become relations of 'means and consequence' for human be- ings. Animals are riveted to the concrete world because, according to Langer, they lack the a b i l i t y to symbolize. But human beings are capable of representing t h e i r world. The awareness of p o s s i b i l i t i e s of experience i s an aware- ness of pattern or form. Langer has suggested that our recognition of such forms i s not necessarily an awareness which i s di s c u r s i v e l y known, rather these forms are pat- terns of feelings and emotions which we recognize i n t u i - t i v e l y and which often remain i n a r t i c u l a t e i n any discur- sive way. What i s the nature of the change which we undergo i n having an experience? Kelly has said that we discard or modify our constructs. Dewey explains: "There i s ... an element of undergoing, of suffering i n i t s large sense, i n every experience. Otherwise there would be no taking 14 i n of what preceeded." These new experiences are not merely understood i n t e l l e c t u a l l y and catalogued; i f we 12 are to believe Kelly, there i s a much more subtle and pro- found process at work: " /Construing/ i s not something that happens to a person on occasion; i t i s what makes 15 him a person i n the f i r s t place." Kelly's view of man i s s i g n i f i c a n t : he sees the i n d i v i d u a l as a dynamic pro- cess of perception. Thus the rel a t i o n s h i p between a hu- man being and his environment i s never s t a t i c . Dewey maintains that as we act upon our environment and as our action i s r e s t r i c t e d or thwarted, we are forced into r e f l e c t i o n : " ... what i s turned back upon i s the r e l a - t i o n of hindering conditions to what the s e l f possesses 16 working c a p i t a l i n v i r t u e of p r i o r experiences." Es- s e n t i a l l y we are forced to be spectators on our own l i v e s , to look at our new experience i n the l i g h t of our expe- rience accumulated from the past. If the new experience i s incongruous with our accumulated construct system, that i s , i f we f a i l to predict accurately, our perception w i l l i n i t i a l l y be chaotic and must be ordered i f we are to con- tinue to grow. Thus, to achieve harmony, the past must be reconstructed, elaborated to encompass th i s new experi- ence: "The junction of the new and the old i s not a mere composition of forces, but i s a re-creation i n which the present impulsion gets form and s o l i d i t y while the old, the 'stored 1, material i s l i t e r a l l y revived, given new 13 l i f e and soul through having to meet a new s i t u a t i o n . " What i s successively reconstructed i s our representation of the world, or world view. If we continue to grow, our world view grows with us. E s s e n t i a l l y , the poten- t i a l for growth i s i n f i n i t e . "There i s , i n f a c t , " says 18 Langer, "no such thing as the form of the 'real' world." For Dewey, the aesthetic experience and the cre- ative process have t h e i r roots i n ordinary experience. In the organism's reattainment of harmony and equilibrium with i t s environment, Dewey sees t h i s l i n k : "For only when an organism shares i n the ordered r e l a t i o n s of i t s environment does i t secure the s t a b i l i t y e s s e n t i a l to l i v i n g . And when the p a r t i c i p a t i o n comes after a phase of disruption and c o n f l i c t , i t bears within i t the germs 19 of the esthetic." In P r i n c i p l e s of Art, R. G. Col- lingwood, by no means committed to Dewey's way of looking at things, yet states something curiously s i m i l a r to what Dewey proposes: " ^ t h e aesthetic emotion_7 resembles the fee l i n g of r e l i e f that comes when a burdensome i n t e l l e c t - ual or moral problem has been solved. We may c a l l i t , i f we l i k e , the s p e c i f i c f e e l i n g of having successfully expressed ourselves; and there i s no reason why i t should 20 not be c a l l e d a s p e c i f i c aesthetic emotion." Dewey would be more adamant about th i s r e l a t i o n s h i p between 14 the ordinary and aesthetic; the two experiences are not similar but i d e n t i c a l , or at the least, the l a t t e r i s derived out of the former. What Dewey maintains i s that the reconstruction of our world view i s e s s e n t i a l l y or germinally an aesthetic act. When we confront a new experience, much of what 'happens' i s too unrelated or mechanical to be perceived as conscious experience. What governs our construction of the experience and hence re-construction of our world view and serves as the unifying factor i s emotion: "Emo- tion i s the moving and cementing force. I t selects what i s congruous and dyes what i s selected with i t s color, 21 thereby giving q u a l i t a t i v e unity to materials." Langer, i f I understand her, would elaborate to say our sentient being has the a b i l i t y to abstract patterns of experience which are not often conscious and c e r t a i n l y too complex to be expressed i n discursive symbolism. Moreover, Lan- ger maintains that these patterns or forms of f e e l i n g per- ceived i n ordinary experience are expressed i n art, i n fact , can only be expressed i n ar t . "Form," Dewey states, "as i t i s present i n the fine arts, i s the art of making clear what i s involved i n the organization of space and time prefigured i n every course of a developing l i f e - 22 experience." For Langer these are the forms of fe e l i n g ; 15 just as discursive forms are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of metaphysics, so forms of f e e l i n g are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of a r t . "Because experience i s the f u l f i l l m e n t of an organism i n i t s strug- gles and achievements i n a world of things," states 23 Dewey, " i t i s art i n germ." The a r t i s t creates out of the powerful feelings and experiences he undergoes i n the world. The reconstruction of our world view which we must carry out i n the face of powerful experiences i s germinal to art i n the case of the a r t i s t . He expresses his emotional experience, though not i n any discursive way. And as percipients of art, we undergo an experience similar or i d e n t i c a l to 'real* experience. Dewey states: " ... i n order to perceive e s t h e t i c a l l y , / t h e percipient_/ must remake his past experiences so that they can enter 24 into a new pattern." Thus the art object does not ex- i s t independently of i t s percipient. b) Aesthetic Experience The a r t i s t , then, expresses his emotional experi- ences through constituted non-discursive symbolic forms of f e e l i n g . The point at which we re-create our world view i n the face of new experience i s pr e c i s e l y the point where Dewey fe e l s that human a c t i v i t y has the poten t i a l to become a r t i s t i c expression. Just as ordinary human be- ings 'create' experience i n the act of perception and 16 'reconstruct' t h e i r accumulation of experience as they un- dergo the process of l i v i n g , so does the a r t i s t 'create' experience, only i n his case, i t i s imaginative experience given concrete form through some medium i n the environment r-- stone, paint, language. For Langer, the a r t i s t does not d i r e c t l y express his powerful f e e l i n g s , but he ab- stracts them into symbolic forms; these forms are made ar t i c u l a t e for us (though, again, not discursively) i n the work of a r t . Langer states: " ... what a r t expresses i s not actual f e e l i n g , but ideas of f e e l i n g ; as language 25 does not express actual things but ideas of them." Dewey's sim i l a r claim i s that the a r t i s t c l a r i f i e s and d i s t i l l s by way of form meanings found i n scattered and weakened ways i n ordinary experience: " ... the expression of the s e l f i n and through a medium, constituting the work of art, i s i t s e l f - a prolonged i n t e r a c t i o n of something issuing from the s e l f with objective conditions, a process i n which both of them acquire a form and order they did 2 6 not at f i r s t possess." This i s sim i l a r to the process of acquiring 'ordinary' experience. What i s perceived (raw)experience) i s assimilated by the perceiver, but at the same time the perceiver must 'grow' i n order to accom- modate disparate experience. Just as the ordinary per- ceiver creates an experience out of the raw materials of 17 sense impressions by selecting what he i s capable, at that. p a r t i c u l a r time, of accommodating, so the a r t i s t creates a work of art which i s , i n a very r e a l way, an 'experience. 1 Collingwood attempts to c l a r i f y t h i s process. He proposes that the a r t i s t ' s inward experience of crude sen- sation, emotion, impression i s converted into imaginative experience by an act of consciousness. This imaginative experience i s then externalized as a work of a r t . The act of consciousness i s not d i s c u r s i v e l y formulated; ra- ther i t i s pre-discursive. There are genuine modes of thought whose f i n a l a r t i c u l a t i o n i s not necessarily lingu- i s t i c . In the perception of art, there i s a converse process, according to Collingwood, where the perceiver begins with the outward experience of the work of art: " ... the outward experience comes f i r s t , and t h i s i s converted into that inward experience which alone i s aes- 27 t h e t i c . " Dewey states that^there i s an organic con- nection between the a r t i s t ' s act of expression and the percipient's aesthetic experience. The percipient must recreate for himself the imaginative act of the a r t i s t ; he must undergo re l a t i o n s similar to what the a r t i s t expe- rienced i n creation: "Without the act of recreation, the 28 object i s not perceived as a work of a r t . " If Dewey i s correct i n saying that the processes i n having an 18 an 'aesthetic experience' are si m i l a r , and not merely an- alogous, to the processes we undergo i n having an 'ordi- nary' experience, then our world representation (or i n Kelly's terms our construct system) of accumulated past experiences w i l l be c a l l e d into play as we respond to a r t . Dewey states: " ... when excitement about subject matter goes deep, i t s t i r s up a store of attitudes and meanings 29 derived from p r i o r experience." How heavily do our world views come to bear on aesthetic perception? In a discussion of p i c t o r i a l a r t , Collingwood states: "The imaginary experience which we get from the picture i s not merely the kind of experience the picture i s capable of arousing, i t i s the kind of experience we are capable of 30 having."' The work of a r t i s a new experience; i t w i l l bring to bear a l l those processes which we normally under- go i n having an experience. The a b i l i t y to perceive art i s not a constant, but i s dependent upon the maturity of the perceiver. There can r e a l l y be no such thing as an 'objective' response. To understand the nature of aesthe- t i c response, then, one must r e a l i z e that the int e r a c t i o n between work and percipient i s paramount. In langer's words, what the aesthetic experience does to us i s : " ... to formulate our conceptions of fee l i n g and our conceptions of v i s u a l , f a c t u a l , and aud- i b l e r e a l i t y together. I t gives us forms of imagination 19 and forms of f e e l i n g , inseparable; that i s to say, i t c l a r i f i e s and organizes i n t u i t i o n i t s e l f . That i s why i t has the force of a revelation, and inspires a f e e l i n g of deep i n t e l l e c t u a l s a t i s f a c t i o n , though i t e l i c i t s no con- 31 scious i n t e l l e c t u a l work (reasoning)." Moreover, the work of art does not present symbolically a series of f e e l - ings which the a r t i s t wished to express. The work of art i t s e l f i s a single symbol, not a st r i n g of symbols. The co r o l l a r y to t h i s i s that the i n t u i t i v e perception of the work of art must be i n toto. The import of an art work i s grasped i n i t i a l l y or not at a l l . Dewey agrees that a r t - i s t i c perception involves just such d i r e c t and unreasoned perception. The art symbol i s nothing that can be ex- plained d i s c u r s i v e l y ; no one can explain the import of a work of ar t . This i s es p e c i a l l y apparent i n l i t e r a t u r e , when our attempts to convey the import (say) of King Lear so often degenerate into banal moral statements or emo-- t i o n a l responses. The insights of s c i e n t i f i c thought, un- l i k e those of art, can be conveyed by discursive symbolic forms. Instead of the i n t u i t i v e grasp of the whole as i n art, a s c i e n t i f i c t r e a t i s e leads us step by step from one insight to the next, to the f i n a l import of the t r e a t i s e . On the other hand, according to Langer, the a r t i s t : " ... i s not saying anything, not even about the nature 20 of f e e l i n g ; he i s showing. He i s showing us the appear- ance of a f e e l i n g , i n a perceptible symbolic projection; but he does not re f e r to the public object, such as a gen- e r a l l y known "sort 1 of f e e l i n g , outside his work. Only i n so f a r as the work i s objective, the f e e l i n g i t exhibits 32 becomes public; i t i s always bound to i t s symbol." Thus i n l i t e r a t u r e even the knowledge of the discursive l i n g u i s t i c symbols for the emotions which a poet might want to express w i l l not help him. I t i s , i n f a c t , i n l i t e r a t u r e where i t i s most d i f f i c u l t to see how the a r t - i s t presents a form symbolic of human f e e l i n g because the material of the poet's art i s also the means of discursive reasoning. Langer sees grave l i m i t a t i o n s to the know- ledge which discursive language i s capable of expressing. Her book Philosophy i n a New Key sets out to destroy the notion that human knowledge must be bound by the l i m i t a - tions of what can be expressed d i s c u r s i v e l y . Quite simply, there are other ways of 'knowing' and other things to• 'know'. Such i s the essence of a r t . Through art we are capable of expressing or experiencing, as the case may be, experiences which are not formally amenable to discursive expressions. Philosophy i n a New Key, i n f a c t , attempts to account for r i t u a l , myth, fantasy, dream with d i f f e r e n t l i n e s of t h i s same p r i n c i p l e . Art has the o f f i c e of 21 expressing " ... the rhythms of l i f e , organic, emotional, and mental ... ", the very rhythms which Dewey character- izes as the perpetual alternative stages of harmony and d i s p a r i t y which a growing organism undergoes. A l l toge- ther these rhythms compose: " ... the dynamic pattern of f e e l i n g . I t i s t h i s pattern that only non-discursive sym- b o l i c forms can present, and that i s the point and purpose 33 of a r t i s t i c construction." Art provides insight into 34 "unspeakable r e a l i t i e s . " And thus for Dewey: "If a l l meaning could be adequately expressed i n words, the arts 35 of painting and music would not e x i s t . " Non-discurs- ive 'meanings' w i l l i n e v i t a b l y manifest themselves. Collingwood sees no d i s t i n c t i o n i n kind between the expression of the a r t i s t and the response of the per- c i p i e n t . The percipient must undergo the same processes, though reversed, which the a r t i s t underwent i n the crea- ti o n of his work. The difference between the two a c t i v i - t i e s i s that while the a r t i s t expresses himself, the au- dience i s made to respond because the a r t i s t shows i t how to respond. Of course that i s not accomplished by the a r t i s t i n any overt way. Rather the work of art i t s e l f must do t h i s for him; the 'showing' w i l l be i m p l i c i t . "By creating for ourselves an imaginary experience or a c t i v i t y , " says Collingwood, "we express our emotions; 22 and t h i s i s what we c a l l a r t . " The work of a r t must do something; i n Collingwood 1s terms, i t must show us how to express our feelings, and the q u a l i t i e s embodied i n a work of art must be funded i n such a way that t h i s act i s accomplished for i t s percipients. Dewey concurs with Collingwood here, as i n poetry for example, where Dewey believes that i f a poem i s read properly, that i s to say a r t i s t i c a l l y or p o e t i c a l l y , a new poem i s created at each reading i n the reader 1s imagin- ation. Emotion i s not rendered i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , rather, i n Dewey's words, a rt "does the deed that breeds the emo- 37 t i o n . " In a very s i g n i f i c a n t sense, an object of art i s what i t i s because of what i t does. In science, d i s - course leads us. step by step to an in s i g h t . Once the insight has been achieved, much of the discourse can be discarded since i t consisted of sequential parts leading to the insig h t . In art nothing can be discarded. A work of art does not lead i t s percipient to an experience. Rather i t constitutes an experience. An object of art i s an i n t e g r a l whole. "Through a r t , " states Dewey, "mean- ings of objects that are otherwise dumb, inchoate, res- t r i c t e d and re s i s t e d are c l a r i f i e d and concentrated, and not by thought working laboriously upon them, nor by escape into a world of mere sense, but by the creation of a new 23 experience." This explains for Dewey why we have the f e e l i n g i n responding to art that what we perceive i s an impression of l i f e . If the aesthetic experience can be viewed as a new experience, though of a very special kind, then we must respond i n a very r e a l way to the work of art as an experience. That i s to say a l l those processes which I have described i n connection with 'ordinary' ex- perience are c a l l e d into play i n our response to a r t . A work of art w i l l have the a b i l i t y to show us new insights, new ways of f e e l i n g , new ways of knowing which, since these experiences are new and hence disparate, w i l l c a l l into play that reconstruction of our world view, of our construct system — that process which i s so e s s e n t i a l to growth. I t i s as i f the work of art presents us with a ^preTordered* experience where our 'selecting' has been done for us already. The c o r o l l a r y here i s that art ex- i s t s only by virt u e of the way human beings perceive ordinary experience. The experience of a r t i s not ana- logous to our ordinary experience, but i s a very r e a l and v i t a l extension of i t . At the beginning of t h i s chapter, I discussed Dewey's view of the world as mass of energies and circumstances which the organism must construe i n order to survive. This construal amounts to the cumulative construction of a 24 world view or representation which we must constantly preserve from fragmentation (through reconstruction) i n the face of disparate experience. In normal l i f e we attempt to maintain an extensive and underlying whole which i s the essence of our sanity. Dewey i s convinced of the r o l e of art i n maintaining that wholeness: "A work of a r t e l i c i t s and accentuates t h i s q u a l i t y of being a whole and of belonging to the larger, a l l - i n c l u s i v e , whole which i s the universe i n which we l i v e . This f a c t , I think, i s the explanation of that f e e l i n g of exquisite i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y and c l a r i t y we have i n the presence of an object that i s experienced with esthetic i n t e n s i t y . I t explains also the r e l i g i o u s f e e l i n g that accompanies i n - 39 tense esthetic perception." Langer has suggested that what we expereince through art we may well not be able to experience any other way. She points to a s t r a i n of human a c t i v i t y which may be necessarily a r t i s t i c , perhaps not a r t i s t i c i n the s t r i c t sense, but a c t i v i t y which i s i n the ' a r t i s t i c mode', the use of which would be to preserve our world views from fragmentation. Langer states: " ... art penetrates deep into the personal l i f e because i n giving form to the world, i t a r t i c u l a t e s human nature: s e n s i b i l i t y , energy, 25 passion, and mortality. More than anything else i n ex- 40 perience, the arts mold our actual l i f e of f e e l i n g . " Of course, socie t i e s and individuals can e x i s t without high a r t , but there i s a po s i t i v e need to express patterns of feelings and rhythms of l i f e which cannot be a r t i c - ulated by discursive means, for the ideas of them are too complex. Philosophy i n a New Key points to other human a c t i v i t i e s which are encompassed i n what I w i l l c a l l the a r t i s t i c mode of l i f e — sacrament, r i t u a l , fantasy, myth, dream. Although not necessarily culminating i n 'high art' , the a r t i s t i c mode always manifests i t s e l f i n human a c t i v i t y . Dewey's idea, that aesthetic experience i s a very natural extention of ordinary expereince i s valuable, and the complementary theories which support i t lend credence to i t s importance. Though th i s p r i n c i p l e has been ignored to an astonishing extent by l i t e r a r y theorists and c r i t i c s , we w i l l f i n d i n Chapter II recent l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m grapl- ing with t h i s idea, and with another cl o s e l y related aes- theti c problem — language i n l i t e r a t u r e . Just as Dewey, considering art i n general, relates aesthetic experience to ordinary experience, so some of these l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s r e late the aesthetic use of language (that i s , l i t e r a t u r e ) 26 to ordinary uses of language. I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that John Dewey was so blatantly ignored for so long. Art as Expe- rience , published ihr. 1934, i s s t r i k i n g l y similar i n theory to James Britton's Language and Learning (1970). The ideas which arise out of the next chapter, how- ever, are fragmented and piecemeal. But through James Britton's theory i n Chapter I I I , where Dewey's aesthetic p r i n c i p l e i s again taken up, we w i l l see how the fragmented insights of the group we loosely l a b e l the 'a f f e c t i v e ' c r i t i c s can be integrated. 27 John Dewey, Art As Experience (1932: r p t . New York: Capricorn Books, 1958), p. 193 2 Dewey, p. 193 3 Dewey, p. 194 4 George A. Kelly, A Theory of Personality: The Psychology of Personal Constructs (1955: rpt. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1963), p. 120 5 Kelly, p. 120 g Susanne K. Langer, Philosophy i n a New Key: A Study i n the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art (Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1957), p. 58 7 Kelly, p.8 g Philosophy i n a New Key, p. 89 9 Ibid., p. 89 . 1 0 Dewey, p. 14 11 Kelly, p, 157 1 2 Kelly, pp. 8-9 28 13 Philosophy i n a New Key, p. 88 Dewey, p. 41 1 5 Kelly, p. 75 16 Dewey, p. 60 17 Dewey, p. 60 18 Philosophy i n a New Key, p. 91 Dewey, p. 15 20 R. G. Collingwood, The P r i n c i p l e s of Art (1938; rpt. New York: Oxford University Press, 1972), p. 117 21 Dewey, p. 42 22 Dewey, p. 24 23 Dewey, p. 19 24 Dewey, p. 138 29 25 Susanne K. Langer, Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art Developed from Philosophy i n a New Key (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1953), p. 59 Dewey, p. 6 5 2 7 Collingwood, pp. 301-302 2 8 Dewey, p. 54 29 Dewey, p, 65 30 Collingwood, p, 150 31 Feeling and Form, p. 397 3 2 Ibid., p. 394 3 3 Ibid., p. 241 34 Philosophy i n a New Key, p. 260 35 „ Dewey, p. 74 3 6 Collingwood, p. 151 37 Dewey, p. 67 3 ^ Dewey, p. 132 39 Dewey, p. 195 40 Feeling and Form, p. 401 30 II - THE RECENT 'AFFECTIVE' LITERARY CRITICISM If we entertain the aesthetic p r i n c i p l e i n Chapter I, then we can see that the relationship between an art object and i t s percipient (a l i t e r a r y text and i t s reader) i s dynamic, v i t a l l y connected to personal development. We only need consider how our attitude might change to- wards a single novel i n the course of a l i f e t i m e to see that our responses are not s t a t i c . The New C r i t i c a l attitude, however, where the text i s considered a s t a t i c verbal object (a verbal icon) has ignored the aesthetic p r i n c i p l e espoused by Dewey and others, and i s an oppo- s i t e extreme. New C r i t i c s assumed that meanings of poems were more or less fixed and that 'objective' mean- ings could be determined from the s t a t i c structures of the text. Recently, however, certain c r i t i c s have recognized the significance of the reader's personal in t e r a c t i o n with the l i t e r a r y text. New C r i t i c i s m , perhaps c r y s t a l l i z e d by W. K. Wimsatt's "The A f f e c t i v e Fallacy" (1947), saw the poem as a verbal object, the import of which was to be explained so l e l y i n terms of i t s formal features. The New C r i t i c a l method became firmly entrenched i n England and North America i n the 1940's and 1950's as a c r i t i c a l and an 31 educational t o o l . But perhaps when l i t e r a r y study turned to the novel, the New C r i t i c a l method of close reading became inadequate. Unlike the short poem, the novel can- not be perceived at once as a whole; since the reading process must obviously take place i n time, the analysis of s t a t i c forms i s inadequate and inappropriate. C r i t i c s of the novel, beginning with Wayne Booth (The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n , 1962), became concerned with d i f f e r e n t aspects of l i t e r a r y analysis, r e s u l t i n g i n a reconsideration of l i t e r a r y theory. Serious c r i t i c s of the novel have had to consider the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the reader and the text. Thus, a handful of c r i t i c s , whose influence upon one another i s minimal, has been struggling (each i n his own way) to account for the dynamic experience of reading. Though, as we s h a l l see, the concerns of each diverge considerably, I choose (with reservations) to c a l l these c r i t i c s ' a f f e c t i v e ' because th e i r i n t e r e s t l i e s i n the text-reader r e l a t i o n s h i p . This chapter w i l l present an overview of t h i s re- cent trend i n c r i t i c i s m after a b r i e f discussion of Wimsatt's influence on c r i t i c a l thought. We w i l l see these c r i t i c s coming to r e a l i z a t i o n s about l i t e r a t u r e and language which are correspondent to Dewey's aesthetic 32 p r i n c i p l e about experience — ordinary and aesthetic — delineated i n Chapter I. a) W. K. Wimsatt: The Af f e c t i v e Fallacy W. K. Wimsatt's i n f l u e n t i a l essay "The A f f e c t i v e Fallacy" i s an attempt, not to deny the emotional aspects of l i t e r a r y response, but to c l a r i f y the relat i o n s h i p of emotion to poetry. Wimsatt wrote his essay with a polem- i c a l intent as a reaction to the c r i t i c a l impressionism and r e l a t i v i s m which had preceded him: the outcome of such c r i t i c i s m , he maintained, " ... i s that the poem i t - s e l f , as an object of s p e c i f i c a l l y c r i t i c a l judgement, tends to disappear.""1" Wimsatt deals i n turn with what he labels the emo- t i v e , imaginative, physiological, hallucinatory, and h i s - t o r i c a l forms of a f f e c t i v e c r i t i c i s m . In the emotive and imaginative forms respectively, c r i t i c s would describe the feelings they experienced as they read, or they would em- pathize with the poetic s i t u a t i o n . What Wimsatt c a l l s physiological c r i t i c i s m judged poetry by bodily reactions l i k e the t i n g l i n g of spines or the b r i s t l i n g of skin. In hallucinatory or hypnotic c r i t i c i s m , the reader gave him- s e l f wholly to the poetic i l l u s i o n and described his re- actions to t h i s 'mystical' experience. F i n a l l y , a h i s - t o r i c a l a f f e c t i v e c r i t i c , rather than defining h i s own emotive reactions to a poem, attempted to exhume those of the o r i g i n a l readers. By way of summary Wimsatt states: "The report of some readers ....that a poem or story i n - duces i n them v i v i d images, intense feelings, a heightened consciousness, i s neither anything which can be refuted nor anything which i t i s possible for the objective c r i t i c to take into account. The purely a f f e c t i v e report i s 2 either too physiological or too vague." Now Wimsatt does not deny that we react emotionally to poetry, but he does i n s i s t that we must look to the poem as an object i f we are to discern i t s emotive q u a l i t y . "The objective c r i t i c , " he states, " ... must admit that i t i s not easy to explain ... how poetry makes ideas thick and complicated enough to hold on to emotions." Wimsatt rests on E l i o t ' s explanation of the 'objective c o r r e l a - tive'. In his essay on Hamlet, E l i o t had said: "The only way of expressing emotion i n the form of art i s by finding an 'objective c o r r e l a t i v e ' . i n other words, a set of ob- jec t s , a s i t u a t i o n , a chain of events, which s h a l l be the formula of that p a r t i c u l a r emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate i n sensory experience, are given, the emotion i s immediately evoked." Wimsatt 3'4 uses t h i s theory to explain why poetry i s eternal, why i t can o u t l i v e i t s own time, and why readers i n l a t e r cen- turies can respond to i t . "Poetry i s a way of f i x i n g emo- tions," Wimsatt states, "or making them more permanently perceptible when objects have undergone a functional change from culture to culture, or when as simple facts of history 5 they have l o s t t h e i r emotive value with loss of immediacy." In the end Wimsatt attempts, as a reaction to im- pressionism, to propose a theory of how l i t e r a t u r e works. Wimsatt has demarcated two i n t e r r e l a t e d concerns. One i s his c u r i o s i t y about the l i t e r a r y object and that object's a b i l i t y to have an emotional e f f e c t on i t s readers. And the second, a r i s i n g out of the f i r s t , i s his concern to explain how poetry.works, to explain e s s e n t i a l l y the na- ture of our processes as we read and respond to l i t e r a - ture. Wimsatt suggests that l i t e r a r y objects are co n s t i - tuted of sets of objects, chains of events, or situations which have fixed emotional meaning. For Wimsatt, poetry works, at least by analogy, by discursive means; "Poetry i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y a discourse- about both emotions and objects." And thus poets become " ... expositors of the laws of f e e l i n g . " (my emphases). Wimsatt suggests that because a f f e c t i v e responses are too physiological or too vague they should not be dealt 35 with by the l i t e r a r y c r i t i c . There i s a danger here,I think, because Wimsatt would seem to l i m i t 'legitimate' responses only to those which can be expressed discur- sively.. We must remember Langer's view that a l l art ex- presses non-discursive symbolic forms of f e e l i n g which, •ghe would suggest, can only be expressed i n a r t . To deny the v a l i d i t y of a l l but discursive forms of response i s to dehumanize l i t e r a t u r e . Wimsatt also has nothing to say about works of l i t e r a t u r e being 'constituted experiences. 1 He would say that poems are autonomous verbal objects which e x i s t i n t h e i r own r i g h t exclusive of any perceiver. The psychoanalytic theory of Norman Holland o f f e r s a good contrast to Wimsatt's. Wimsatt*s greatest fear of af- f e c t i v e c r i t i c i s m i s that the text a l l but disappears. In Holland's view, the verbal structure of the text i s considered much less important than the psychological fantasies generated by the text. b) Norman Holland: Psychoanalytic Theory "The psychoanalytic theory of l i t e r a t u r e , " states Norman Holland i n Dynamics of L i t e r a r y Response^'holds that the writer expresses and disguises childhood fanta- s i e s . The reader unconsciously elaborates the fantasy content of the l i t e r a r y work with his.own versions of these fantasies ... " 8 The l i t e r a r y text provides the reader with a nuclear fantasy to which he reacts unconsciously. The fantasy of the writer becomes the reader's, or at the least, triggers an aggressive fantasy i n the reader. Then there follows aa subsequent defensive modification of the aggressive fantasy which r e s u l t s , ultimately, i n i n t e l l e c t u a l mean- ing. Literature transforms the reader's primitive wishes and fears into significance and coherence through l i t e r a r y form. Unconscious meaning underlies a l l other meanings, which are arrived at only through successive abstraction of the nuclear fantasy presented i n the text. L i t e r a r y form i s a mastery of that fantasy; the l i t e r a r y work i s a transformation of a fantasy, and according to psycho- analytic theory, t h i s transformation i s what gives us pleasure when we read. The c l a s s i c c o n f l i c t of the un- couscious i s the struggle between drive and defense with the subsequent compromise. For Holland the tension be- tween l i f e and art, between an aggressive fantasy and the defense of i t , i s another manifestation of that struggle. Literature attains i t s force from the tension: " I t i s from such deep and f e a r f u l roots of our most personal ex- g perxence that l i t e r a t u r e derives i t s power and drive." Part of t h i s l i t e r a r y process i s achieved because the reader i s disengaged or derailed from the normal, purposeful action by the act of reading; he i s not caught up i n the a f f a i r s of the world for the time that he reads. The reader i s able to experience his fantasy v i c a r i o u s l y , experience i t at least 'once removed1 from the a c t i v i t y of the world. This i s one of the attractions of l i t e r a - ture; i t allows the reader a l l the trappings of a fantasy with none of the r e a l l i f e consequences. "In e f f e c t , " says Holland, "the l i t e r a r y work dreams a dream for u s . " ^ For the psychoanalytic theorist, t h i s accounts for part of our pleasure i n the experience of reading. The other part of our pleasure comes from the management of fantasies while we experience them. Usually the manage- ment of fantasies causes anxiety. But the reader, so to speak, has i t both ways. He gains pleasure from the enactment of an aggressive fantasy, while at the same time taking pleasure i n the way the author has managed to con- t r o l his own fantasy through form: "In l i f e , defenses stand off and modify drives and so cut down the amount of pleasure we get even i f the drives are s a t i s f i e d . I f , however, the defense i t s e l f gives pleasure, there i s a net increase i n pleasure, and that increase i n pleasure 38 (according to Freud) buys a permit for 'a s t i l l greater pleasure a r i s i n g from deeper psychical sources, 1 the gra- t i f i c a t i o n of the drive (or, i n l i t e r a t u r e , unconscious content)."''""'" As well, our inevitable search for mean- ing i n a text i s a kind of device or defense we employ i n order to j u s t i f y our primitive pleasures derived from the experiences of the fantasy. "In a way," says Holland, "we seek l i t e r a r y forms because we wish we could manage 12 l i f e i t s e l f as a d r o i t l y as a sonnet does." Even i f i n reading a work we f e e l g u i l t or pain or anxiety, the work w i l l manage those feelings for us; as well, the fantasy i s only a vicarious one upon which we are not required to act and react i n the ' r e a l ' world. Holland s t r i k e s two s i g n i f i c a n t chords. F i r s t , he views l i t e r a t u r e as experience; a l i t e r a r y work pro- vides readers with a kind of vicarious fantasy. Second, he i d e n t i f i e s (but does not develop) the si g n i f i c a n c e of the communication of author and reader through the text; the author i s important to the reader as a valuable source of vicarious fantasy. Holand ultimately d i f f e r s from Langer because he equates dream and l i t e r a t u r e ; while both may be manifestations of our a f f e c t i v e being, he de- emphasizes the f a c t that writing l i t e r a t u r e i s a highly conscious act. 33 c) Stanley Fi s h : A f f e c t i v e S t y l i s t i c s Stanley Fish's essay "Literature i n the Reader: Af f e c t i v e S t y l i s t i c s , " i f not d i r e c t l y attacking some of Wimsatt's notions, at lea s t uses them as a springboard from which to propose a divergent theory. "The Affec- t i v e Fallacy," Wimsatt has said, " i s a confusion between the poem and i t s re s u l t s (what i t is_ and what i t does) 13 ... " While Wimsatt has maintained that poems must be considered as objective verbal structures, F i s h just as emphatically denies the v a l i d i t y of t h i s approach because i t ignores the reading process. F i s h claims that much contemporary c r i t i c i s m s e l l s l i t e r a t u r e short because i t largely ignores that responses to the l i t e r a r y text take place as processes within i n d i - vidual readers: " /~Criticism _ 7 transforms a temporal ex- perience into a s p a t i a l one; i t steps back and i n a single glance takes i n a whole (sentence, page, work) which the reader knows ( i f at a l l ) only b i t by b i t , moment 14 by moment." The experience of reading, as Fish sees i t , takes place i n time; readers respond not to whole ut- terances but to t h e i r word by word temporal flow. There i s a difference i n meaning, to i l l u s t r a t e with his simple examples, between the statements 'He i s sincere' and 'Doubtless, he i s sincere, 1 because as statements they do d i f f e r e n t things. F i s h delineates h i s method: "The con- cept i s simply the rigorous and disinterested asking of the question, what does t h i s word, phrase, sentence, para- graph, chapter, novel, play, poem do?; and the execution involves an analysis of the developing responses of the reader i n r e l a t i o n to the words as they succeed one ano- ther i n time. Every word i n thi s statement bears a spe- c i a l emphasis. The analysis must be of the developing responses to di s t i n g u i s h i t from the atomism of much 15 s t y l i s t i c c r i t i c i s m . " For F i s h , works of l i t e r a t u r e do what they mean. His theory denies the i n i t i a l importance of 'deep struc- ture' i n the reading process i n favour of 'surface struc- ture. 1 'He i s sincere 1 and 'Doubtless, he i s sincere' may possess the same extractable meanings but because they do not 'do the same meaning'-," t h e i r meanings are d i f f e r - ent. The extracted meaning of a deep s t r u c t u r a l analysis i s somehow secondary for Fish, what he would c a l l a 'res- ponse to a response. 1 Hence two r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t sen- tences making the same 'point' i n no way mean the same thing. " I t i s the experience of an utterance," F i s h states, " — a l l of i t and not anything that could be said about i t , including anything I could say — that is_ i t s 16 meaning." F i s h happily confesses that his method i s descriptive and impractical. He makes no attempt to d i s t i n g u i s h between l i t e r a t u r e and " ... advertising or preaching or propaganda or 'entertainment'." "For some this w i l l seem a f a t a l l i m i t a t i o n of the method," states Fish, "I welcome i t , since i t seems to me that we have for too long, and without notable r e s u l t s , been try i n g to determine what distinguishes l i t e r a t u r e from ordinary 17 language." Here F i s h wants to view works of l i t e r a - ture not as aesthetic ojbects but as verbal utterances; thus his view of l i t e r a t u r e i s not normative. In his consideration of the reader who reads his book i n time, word by word, from l e f t to r i g h t , page by page he i s d i r e c t l y opposed to Wimsatt. How would F i s h answer the question: What does l i t e r a t u r e do? Literature p l a i n l y just does, and a l l Fish i s concerned about i s to describe a basic word by word response. The c o r o l l a r y here i s that the reader must s t r i v e to become 'the informed reader' who possesses semantic competence and whose text- 18 ual methodology i s ' r a d i c a l l y h i s t o r i c a l . " "In the analysis of a reading experience, when does one come to the point?" Fish asks coyly. "The answer i s , 'never', 42 or, no sooner that than the pressure to do so becomes un- 19 bearable (psychologically)." Wimsatt has said that with a f f e c t i v e criticism,- the text tends to disappear. Fish gladly agrees: "The ob̂ -i j e c t i v i t y of the text i s an i l l u s i o n , and moreover a dan- gerous i l l u s i o n , because i t i s so p h y s i c a l l y convincing. 2 The i l l u s i o n i s one of s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y and completeness." Just as Holland plays down the importance of the formal features of the text, so F i s h welcomes the disappearance of the text as verbal object. Literature i s " k i n e c t i c art," the great merit of which i s " ... that i t forces you to become aware of ' i t ' as a changing object — and there- fore no 'object' at a l l — and also to be aware of your- 21 s e l f as correspondingly changing." Fish's method pre- cludes any analysis of s t a t i c structures of the text. The difference here between Wimsatt and Fish i s great. For Wimsatt a poem i s a formal, s t a t i c structure which works as a discourse about the emotive q u a l i t y of objects, a 'discourse' from which meaning can be extracted. For Fish a poem i s a k i n e t i c art which 'does not lend i t s e l f to s t a t i c i nterpretation because i t refuses to stay s t i l l 22 and doesn't l e t you stay s t i l l e i ther." Fish's tendency i s to view a work of l i t e r a t u r e as a verbal utterance which takes place i n time (that i s , 43. at a c e r t a i n time i n history) and which must be read i n time (not only at another time i n history, but also word by word, from l e f t to r i g h t on the page). His prime c r i t i c a l concern i s to analyze the developing responses of an 'informed' reader. d) Roland Barthes: S t r u c t u r a l i s t Analysis Roland Barthes:'.; theory i s an i n t e r e s t i n g counter- part to Fish's. While Fish w i l l not acknowledge the ' l i t e r a r y object', Barthes does. Yet t h e i r theories are compatible. Barthes proposes an analysis of the l i t e r a r y object to discover how i t works, but from the point of view of a s t r u c t u r a l i s t . He f i r s t assumes that the l i t e r a r y text achieves i t s status as an object because of i t s form. "The goal of a l l s t r u c t u r a l i s t a c t i v i t y , " says Barthes, "whether r e f l e x i v e or poetic, i s to reconstruct an 'object* i n such a way as to manifest thereby the rules of function- 23 ing ('the functions') of t h i s object." The functions of an object are i t s i n t e r n a l relationships which hold i t together and maintain i t s i n t e g r i t y as an object. The s t r u c t u r a l i s t f i r s t attempts a d i s s e c t i o n of the object to determine the smallest units of i t s functions, and a sub- sequent a r t i c u l a t i o n which resolves these units into the object once again by establishing for them "certain rules 43 of association." * H Much s t r u c t u r a l i s t a c t i v i t y has centered on the study of language, s p e c i f i c a l l y the 1 sentence-object. , : In "An Introduction to the S t r u c t u r a l i s t Analysis of 25 Narrative," Barthes states: " S t r u c t u r a l l y , narrative belongs with the sentence without ever being reducible to the sum of i t s sentences: a narrative i s a large sentence, just as any declarative sentence i s , i n a cer- 2 6 t a i n way, the out-line of a l i t t l e narrative." The s t r u c t u r a l i s t analysis of the sentence, then, i s to be more than a mere guiding analogy to f a c i l i t a t e the study of a l i t e r a r y text: p r e c i s e l y the same p r i n c i p l e s apply i n both cases. The functional units of the sentence are the level s of the contextual, grammatical, phonological, and phonetic; moreover, these l e v e l s are h i e r a r c h i a l , the contextual subsuming the grammatical, the grammatical subsuming the phonological and so on. Although we read a sentence d i s - tributed word by word from l e f t to r i g h t on a page, i t does not follow that our understanding of i t i s the r e s u l t of our construal of i t s l i n e a r progression. Clearly, there i s more afoot: Sign d i s t o r t i o n s e x i s t i n language, and S a l l y analyzed them i n his comparative study of French and German; dystaxie /dystaxy/ occurs 45 as soon as the signs (of a l i n g u i s t i c message) are no longer juxtaposed, as soon as the li n e a r (logical) order i s d i s - turbed (for instance the predicate preceed- ing the subject). One t y p i c a l form of dystaxy occurs when the d i f f e r e n t parts of . one sign are separated by other signs--along the chain of the message (for instance the negative ne jamais and the verb a pardonne i n : elle ne nous a jamais pardonne) : the sign being fractured, i t s s i g n i f i e d i s dis t r i b u t e d among several s i g n i f i e r s , sepa- rated from each other, none of which can be understood by i t s e l f . 27 What Barthes proposes i s that as we read we construe not only l i n e a r l y ( d i s t r i b u t i v e l y , syntagmatically) but we also construe i n an h i e r a r c h i c a l manner, resolving the various functional units of the sentence i n order to grasp the meaning of the whole. We do not have to read to the end of the sentence and then figure out i t s meaning. Barthes would i l l u s t r a t e his 'sentence-object' with axes — the d i s t r i b u t i v e conctruing of signs on a horizontal axis, the h i e r a r c h i c a l construing of signs on a v e r t i c a l axis. Now Barthes asserts that i n our construing of a l i t e r a r y text, p r e c i s e l y the same thing happens, only the units of the text are d i f f e r e n t . Instead of the h i e r - a r c h i c a l l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l s of contextual, grammatical, and so on, there are three textual l e v e l s — function, action, and narration. Perhaps c e r t a i n 'non-structur- 46 a l i s t 1 comparisons can be drawn: 1) functions — 'move- ments' which occur, both t r i v i a l and important, such as the l i g h t i n g of a c e r t a i n brand of cigarette by the hero of a James Bond novel, or his shooting of the v i l l a i n ; 2) action — the l e v e l of characters ( 1actants 1) which i n i t i a t e and respond to functions; 3) narration — the narrative presence, the attitude to the characters and events. As i n his understanding of sentences, the reader construes a narrative text both d i s t r i b u t i v e l y and h i e r a r c h i c a l l y . This makes a good deal of common sense because i f a reader only construed the l i n e a r pro- gression of events he would have absolutely no idea of character or narrative attitude u n t i l he had reached the end of the text. The l e v e l of functions i s subsumed by the l e v e l of action, and i t by the l e v e l of narration. "To understand a narrative," says Barthes, " i s not only to follow the unfolding of the story but also to recognize i n i t a number of ' s t r a t a , 1 to project the horizontal concatenations of the narrative onto an i m p l i c i t l y v e r t - i c a l axis; to read a narrative (or l i s t e n to i t ) i s not only to pass from one word to the next, but also from one 28 l e v e l to the next." Functions are integrated and stored around a given actant to give us the conception of 47 a character. Then as actants are themselves integrated, the reader becomes aware of the force which i s giving shape to events; the text i s construed as a kind of world i n which actants p a r t i c i p a t e i n events. Describing what s t r u c t u r a l i s t analysis of the text attempts to accomplish, Barthes states: " ... the goal i s to give a s t r u c t u r a l description to the chronological 29 i l l u s i o n ..." In summary, Barthes states: "Narra- t i v e thus appears as a succession of t i g h t l y interlocking mediate and immediate elements; dystaxy i n i t i a t e s a 'horizontal reading, while integration superimposes on i t 30 a ' v e r t i c a l ' reading." A s t r u c t u r a l i s t analysis i s unemotional or non-emotional; there i s no attempt to go beyond the text, to give, for example, psychological qua- l i t i e s to an actant; "Just as l i n g u i s t i c s stops at the sentence, the analysis of narrative stops at the analysis of discourse: from that point on, i t i s necessary to 31 resort to another semiotics." I f t h i s h o r i z o n t a l / v e r t i c a l construal of the text, however, i s i n f a c t how any normal reader reads, then i t i s easy to see that actants may be viewed as characters or people, and not A mere 'etres de papier.' By the same notion/;, the nar- rat i v e l e v e l becomes a view or representation of the 48 world. Barth.es' method, though objective i n i t s e l f , may provide important insights into our more subjective res- ponses to l i t e r a t u r e . F i s h makes no d i s t i n c t i o n between kinds of li n g u - i s t i c utterances; Barthes does. Barthes 1 s t r u c t u r a l i s t analysis complements Fish's theory, allowing for a d i f - ference between non-discursive and discursive l i n g u i s t i c utterances. As Langer has said, we tend to discard d i s - cursive symbols as we use them to lead us step by step to an ins i g h t . In a non-discursive symbolic form, such as a novel, we discard nothing: as we construe l i n e a r l y , we also do so v e r t i c a l l y , constructing, i n the case of the novel, a v i r t u a l world. Wolfgang Iser proposes something si m i l a r to Barthes i n suggesting that the narrative text i s a 'performative' utterance. e) Wolfgang Iser: Indeterminacy Wolfgang Iser's approach to l i t e r a t u r e shares a similar concern, at least i n i t i a l l y , with that of F i s h . His essays "The Reading Process: a Phenomenological Approach" and "Indeterminacy and the Reader's Response in Prose F i c t i o n " both stress the necessity of con- sidering the reader's response i n that no text can e x i s t 49 independently of a reader for i t i s he who gives meaning or l i f e to the text. Meanings are generated by the act of reading. Iser proposes that the l i t e r a r y text i s what he c a l l s 'performance' rather than 'statement', an utterance that creates i t s own object and does not r e f e r to s p e c i f i c objects i n the 'real' world: "/ The l i t e r a r y text_ 7 d i f - fers from other forms of writing i n that i t neither des- cribes nor constitutes r e a l objects; ... i t diverges from the r e a l experiences of the reader i n that i t offers views and opens up perspectives i n which the empirically known 32 world of one'is own personal experience appears changed." Iser i s rather imprecise, however, about t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n and acknowledges his confusion: how can l i t e r a r y texts which do not refer to anything objectively r e a l be consi- dered r e a l i s t i c (as they commonly are)? Iser answers: "The l i t e r a r y text activates our own f a c u l t i e s , enabling 33 us to recreate the world i t presents." Having established, or at l e a s t proposed t h i s ex- planation of the nature of l i t e r a r y texts, Iser then sets out to describe the dynamic rela t i o n s h i p between text and reader. His i n i t i a l explanation i s that the r e c i p r o c a l process between the text and the reader takes place at the 50 l e v e l of the sentences, which are read i n time: " ... the a c t i v i t y of reading can be characterized as a sort of kaleidoscope of perspectives, preintentions, r e c o l l e c t i o n s . Every sentence contains a preview of the next and forms a kind of viewfinder for what i s to come; and t h i s i n turn changes the 'preview' and so becomes a 'viewfinder' for 34 what has been read." S i m i l a r l y , upon the second reading of a text, the reader w i l l bring d i f f e r e n t expec- tations with him. Every reading for Iser i s unique. Iser proceeds to say that the l i n g u i s t i c apparatus of a text w i l l set up expectations i n the reader which, i n good texts, are either frustrated or modified. This e s s e n t i a l l y i s his phenomenon of 'indeterminacy'. This building up of expectations and the subsequent modifica- tions of them are engineered by what Iser labels 'gaps of indeterminacy'," which are the product of a repertoire of structures.manipulated by the author. A chapter i n a novel, to take an obvious example, which ends<:at a very suspenseful moment w i l l produce such a gap, which the reader must f i l l i n for himself, and then gauge the ac- curacy of his expectations l a t e r . More subtle gaps might be produced by a sudden s h i f t i n point of view, or even a change of tense. These gaps can occur at many levels i n the text — at the l e v e l of narrative strategy, 51 character portrayal or at syntactic and semantic lev e l s — a l l these gaps working on the same p r i n c i p l e that the reader must f i l l them i n for himself and await confirma- ti o n (or modification) of his expectations as he proceeds to read. According to Iser, the author never gives the reader the 'whole story!. As he reads, the reader seeks a consistent pattern i n the text and a worthwhile piece of l i t e r a t u r e w i l l stretch the reader beyond the l i m i t s of what he normally expects. This explains for Iser why some l i t e r a t u r e has the power to move us deeply: "In seeking the balance /or consistency/ we inevitably have to s t a r t out with cert a i n expectations, the shattering of which i s i n t e g r a l to the 3 5 aesthetic experience." I t i s th.ep forced expansion of reader expectations that leads Iser to conclude that reading l i t e r a t u r e i s analagous to having an actual expe- rience: The e f f i c a c y of a l i t e r a r y text i s brought about by the apparent evocation and subsequent negation of the f a m i l i a r . What at. f i r s t seemed to be an affirmation of our assumptions leads to our own re j e c t i o n of them, thus tending to prepare us for re-orientation. And i t i s only when we have outstripped our preconceptions and l e f t the shelter of the fam i l i a r that we are i n a position to gather new experiences. As the l i t e r a r y text involves the reader i n the forma- ti o n of i l l u s i o n s and the simultaneous forma- ti o n of means whereby the i l l u s i o n i s 52 punctured, reading r e f l e c t s the process by which we gain experience. So for Iser the l i t e r a r y text i s something d i f f e r - ent from written assertions of fa c t , something that cre- ates i t s own object by describing, not objects i n the r e a l world, but reactions to them. The reading process i s f a c i l i t a t e d by gaps of indeterminacy which draw the reader into the text and make him an inseparable element of i t . In t h i s process, the reader undergoes something l i k e an experience which, i n good l i t e r a t u r e , expands his imagin- ation. While Wimsatt would say that great works of l i t - erature are eternal because they discourse eternal 1 laws of f e e l i n g , 1 Iser says l i t e r a t u r e creates a world (but not the ' r e a l 1 and hence mutable world of r e f e r e n t i a l writing) into which the reader i s drawn through the structure of the text. Three important ideas which others have so far touched upon are reinforced by Iser. F i r s t , a l i t e r a r y text i s an utterance, as Fish has mentioned. Second, the l i t e r a r y text i s an object — i n Iser's words a per- formative utterance — as Barthes has claimed. Third, the in t e r a c t i o n between the text and reader i s an expe- rience, a claim for which Holland attempted to make a case. 53 f) Georges Poulet: Phenomenology Georges Poulet extends the view of l i t e r a t u r e as utterance. His essay "Phenomenology of Reading" begins with a casual discussion of the physical r e a l i z a t i o n s of art objects such as vases or statues as compared to the physical e n t i t i e s of books. For Poulet a statue remains e s s e n t i a l l y external and impermeable whereas a book opens i t s e l f to i t s reader, enters into the reader. This i s similar to Iser's claim that the existence of the text i s dependent upon the reader 1s bringing i t to l i f e . But there are s i g n i f i c a n t differences between Iser and Poulet on t h i s point. Poulet goes so fa r as to say that the reader's consciousness i s usurped by the l i t e r a r y text. He describes i t thus: At the precise moment that I see, surging out of the object I hold open before me, a quantity of s i g n i f i c a t i o n s which my mind grasps, I r e a l i z e that what I hold i n my hands i s no longer just an object, or even simply a l i v i n g thing. I am aware of a r a t i o n a l being, of a consciousness, the consciousness of another, no d i f f e r e n t from the one I automatically assume i n every human being I encounter, except that i n t h i s case the cousciousness i s open to me, welcomes me, l e t s me look deep inside i t s e l f , and even allows me, with unheard-of license, to think what i t thinks and to f e e l what i t feels.^7 54 This l a s t aspect, the reader's f a c i l e a b i l i t y to think the thoughts and f e e l the emotions of another consciousness, curiously disturbs Poulet i n one sense. "I become the 3 8 prey of language," he comments, implying that he has given up the d i r e c t perception of r e a l i t y to surround himself with unr e a l i t y . He also claims to i d e n t i f y a curious epistemological problem which i s the unique condi- ti o n of reading a l i t e r a r y word: "I am someone who happens to have as objects of h i s own thought, thoughts which are part of a book I am reading, and which are therefore the cogitations of another. They are the thoughts of another, and yet i t i s I who am t h e i r subject. ... I am thinking the thoughts of another. Of course, there would be no cause for astonishment i f I were thinking i t as the thought 39 of another. But I think i t as my very own." Accord- ing to Poulet, then, the reader entertains thoughts which are a l i e n to himself and also, by necessity, he entertains the force or p r i n c i p l e which has shaped those thoughts, an a l i e n consciousness. Poulet discusses at some length the nature of t h i s consciousness as something akin to a narrative presence, but by no means to be i d e n t i f i e d as the biographical en t i t y of the author. I t would be more accurate to 55 describe t h i s consciousness as a force shaping the events of the book and imbuing i t with cert a i n attitudes. How, then, does l i t e r a t u r e work, i n Poulet's view? While he has described the reading process as an i n i t i a l usurpation of the reader's consciousness, he asserts that the reader i s not victimized by the a l i e n consciousness. Poulet's abstruse c o r o l l a r y here i s that a reader i s able to entertain the consciousness of another (as his own) and at the same become aware of that a l i e n consciousness. More simply perhaps, the reader i s able to evaluate the attitude of narrative presence at the same time he involved i n the l i t e r a r y work. "I am a consciousness," states Poulet, "astonished by an existence which i s not mine, but 40 which I experience as though i t were mine." This re- minds us of Iser's claim that gaps of indeterminacy have the power to modify the reader's expectations to the point where he undergoes a broadening experience. Poulet's more fl a v o u r f u l conclusion i s that: " ... a work of l i t e r a t u r e becomes ... a sort of human being, /which/ i s a mind con- scious of i t s e l f and constituting i t s e l f i n me as the sub- je c t of i t s own object." ^ A work of l i t e r a t u r e ceases to be an object i n the ' r e a l ' world when i t i s read, unlike the statue and the vase. I t i s transformed into an ' i n t e r i o r o b j e c t 1 . 56 "In short," says Poulet, "the extraordinary f a c t i n the case of a book i s the f a l l i n g away of bar r i e r s between #ou and i t . You are inside i t ; i t i s inside you; there i s 42 no longer either outside or inside." The v i t a l element i n reading l i t e r a t u r e i s , accord- ing to Poulet, our response to the consciousness behind the text.. He i s not p a r t i c u l a r l y concerned about lin g u - i s t i c structures. The experience of l i t e r a t u r e i s the inte r a c t i o n between the consciousness of the text and that of the reader. Wayne Booth and Walter S l a t o f f develop the same idea along s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t l i n e s . g)i Wayne Booth: Interests, Emotions, B e l i e f s In Wayne Booth's The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n , the chap- ter e n t i t l e d "Emotions, B e l i e f s , and the Reader's Object- i v i t y " rejects the notion that the reader must be dispas- sionate, keeping an 'aesthetic distance' from the text. "Every l i t e r a r y work of any power", Booth states, " — whether or not i t s author composed i t with his audience i n mind — i s i n fac t an elaborate system of controls over the reader's involvement and detachment along various l i n e s of in t e r e s t . The author i s limi t e d only by the range of human in t e r e s t s . " 4 3 57 Booth divides these human interests into three basic types which he c a l l s i n t e l l e c t u a l , q u a l i t a t i v e , and prac- t i c a l . F i r s t , as we read, our i n t e l l e c t u a l c u r i o s i t i e s may be engaged and we desire to know the 'truth' or the ' f a c t s b e i t the facts of a case i n a detective novel, or on a more sophisticated l e v e l , psychological or philoso- p h i c a l truth. A q u a l i t a t i v e i n t e r e s t i s defined by Booth as a desire to see a pattern or form (of narrative or structure for example) completed or developed. At a basic l e v e l the reader's i n t e r e s t i s caught by cause-and- e f f e c t patterns i n the p l o t . There are also expecta- tions of l i t e r a r y conventions. (Writers can, of course, ex p l o i t these and shatter conventions:) Booth also iden- t i f i e s c e r t a i n abstaiact forms as q u a l i t a t i v e i n t e r e s t : balance, symmetry, r e p e t i t i o n , contrast, comparison for example. F i n a l l y c e r t a i n 'promised q u a l i t i e s ' may be i d e n t i f i e d by the reader at the outset of the text, which he desires to see continued: a s t y l i s t i c b r i l l i a n c e , for example, or an o r i g i n a l wit. P r a c t i c a l interests operate at the l e v e l of cha- racter. The characters are people i n whom we become i n - terested. ":if we look c l o s e l y at our reactions to most great novels," says Booth, "we discover that we f e e l a 58 strong concern for the characters as people; we care about t h e i r good or bad fortune. In most works of any significance, we are made to admire or detest, to love or hate, or simply to approve or disapprove of at least one central character, and our in t e r e s t i n reading from page to page, l i k e our judgment upon the book afte r re- consideration, i s inseparable from t h i s emotional i n - 44 volvement." These pragmatic interests can also e x i s t i n either of the other l e v e l s . In the i n t e l l e c t u a l sphere we may desire an i n t e l l e c t u a l change i n a character. Or in the q u a l i t a t i v e sphere, we may appreciate the author's portrayal of a certa i n character because i t i s 'round' rather than f l a t . Characters become people who are important to us, who are cause for our concern, and, according to Booth, we w i l l not be able to avoid judging characters on t h e i r i n t e l l e c t u a l and moral behavior. As mundane as t h i s may seem, Booth maintains that: " ... the very structure of f i c t i o n , and hence of our aesthetic apprehension of i t i s often b u i l t of such p r a c t i c a l , and i n themselves 45 seemingly 'non-aesthetic, 1 materials." Booth proceeds to discuss the r o l e of the reader's b e l i e f i n the reading process. Since the reader cannot 59 avoid judging the moral q u a l i t y of the characters, i t would seem that his b e l i e f s are necessarily implicated. Booth's theory i s that the author creates an implied reader for the text he writes who w i l l be sympathetic to his b e l i e f s , to his attitude. I t i s as i f the author, i n giving shape to the event he portrays, has i n mind some kind of hypo- t h e t i c a l reader who w i l l approve of his creation. Thus E, M. Forster said he wrote for the people whose respect he desired and John Milton wrote for his ' f i t audience, though few'. The c o r o l l a r y here i s that the (implied) reader must largely agree with the attitudes and b e l i e f s of the author i f he i s to appreciate f u l l y the l i t e r a r y work. Booth i s outspoken about t h i s matter: "To pretend that we read otherwise, to claim that we can make ourselves into objective, dispassionate, thoroughly tolerant readers i s i n the f i n a l analysis nonsense." ^ For Booth,then, the l i t e r a r y object exists as a kind of r h e t o r i c a l s i t u a t i o n where an 'implied' author i m p l i - cates an ' implied ' reader by i n t e r e s t i n g him on one or a combination of lev e l s — the i n t e l l e c t u a l , the qua- l i t a t i v e , and the p r a c t i c a l . Booth suggests that the p r a c t i c a l l e v e l of i n t e r e s t i s more i n t e g r a l to the reading process than i s usually assumed. Even i n great l i t e r a t u r e our aesthetic responses follow our 60 p r a c t i c a l , emotional response. And i n structuring his work, the author counts on t h i s . A major tenet of Booth's theory i s similar to Poulet's: there i s an int e r a c t i o n of consciousnesses — i n Booth's case, the implied author and reader. For Booth, too, l i t e r a t u r e i s utterance as the t i t l e of his book implies. h) Walter J. S l a t o f f : Subjectivity Like Booth, Walter S l a t o f f i s concerned with the reader's subjective responses to l i t e r a t u r e ; his tone, however, i n With Respect to Readers, i s much more polemical. Whereas Booth includes the response to formal q u a l i t i e s and structures i n a work as 'qualitative i n t e r e s t s , ' S l a t o f f doubts the i n t e g r i t y of responding to those things at a l l : "To l i m i t our concern to l i t e r a r y history or formal anal- y s i s ... , to ignore, problems of value and human response, i s to ignore the very q u a l i t i e s of l i t e r a t u r e which have 47 led us to be concerned with i t i n the f i r s t place." His opinion stems from a frank b e l i e f i n the i n a b i l i t y of discursive thought to a r t i c u l a t e or contain the responses we f e e l when reading l i t e r a t u r e . S l a t o f f also deni- grates the idea of the disinterested, i d e a l reader ' i n - voked' by certain c r i t i c s , because he finds t h i s hopelessly 61 naive and inhuman. In f a c t he marvels that there can be such a consensus of response about a p a r t i c u l a r piece of l i t e r a t u r e when one considers the p o s s i b i l i t i e s for i d i o - syncratic readings. F i r s t of a l l , according to S l a t o f f , i n d i v i d u a l responses to a given text w i l l vary according to the reasons that text i s read: a text read for the purposes of an examination w i l l furnish a d i f f e r e n t res- ponse when read for pleasure. Then, i n reading any book, there w i l l be an inevitable d i s t o r t i n g temporal gap between the time the book i s written and when i t i s read which, as that gap increases, w i l l increase i t s p o s s i b i l i t y to d i s t o r t response. F i n a l l y , there are inevitable psycho- l o g i c a l differences between reader and reader; individuals w i l l vary greatly i n t h e i r reaction to r e a l human su f f e r - ing and, hence, f i c t i o n a l human su f f e r i n g . This same kind of difference can exis t between the author and the reader. Booth touched on t h i s c o n f l i c t , maintaining that we may simply d i s l i k e the attitude which an 'implied author 1 adopts to the characters and events he depicts. This sense of authorial presence i s paramount for S l a t o f f : 11 ... l i t e r a r y works require that we respond not only to the words and formal structures themselves but to q u a l i t i e s of mind and temperament that they suggest and 48 r e f l e c t . " When we read we have " ... a sense of being 62 talked to by someone." ^ Again t h i s 'someone' i s not to be associated d i r e c t l y with the biographical e n t i t y of the author, but more with a kind of narrative presence which exists within and only within a p a r t i c u l a r work. Sl a t o f f even goes so f a r as to say that part of our res- ponse i s a sharing of the author's a r t i s t i c attempts to handle his material; thus we respond to formal elements, but those by no means are the necessary focus of our res- ponse. Nor i s that response to the presence of the author confined to f i c t i o n : "But I believe too," says S l a t o f f , " i t i s moEe generally recognized that poems are usually the utterances of p a r t i c u l a r consciousnesses and 50 are responded to as such." S l a t o f f also attacks the notion that characters are to be conceived as mere verbal constructions, who have no 'real' existence outside the text. In fa c t , we have to think of characters as r e a l people i n order for f i c t i o n to work. That we do i n fac t imagine characters i n t h i s manner i s shown by the fac t that we imagine characters as having ongoing l i v e s , just l i k e people; i f we did not, i f characters were mere verbal constructions, they would have to be recreated each time they appeared 'on the scene'. As well, despite the great variety i n l i t e r a r y 63 structures and verbal constructions, we are able to cone ceive of characters — say Emma, Molly Bloom, Mrs. Dallo- way, and Pamela — i n much the same way, that i s , as peo- 51 pie who are " s i m i l a r l y immediate, f u l l , and a l i v e . " This i s a kind of ' f i l l i n g i n ' which i s required of the reader i n order to make l i t e r a t u r e work; and i t i s not confined to characters. We do the same kind of thing with 'scenes' and 'atmospheres'. F i n a l l y , S l a t o f f main- tains that to d i s t i n g u i s h between r e a l and l i t e r a r y cha-' racters i s to maintain too g l i b l y that we have a s o l i d understanding of the essence of r e a l people. (In an i r o n i c sense, f i c t i o n a l people can be more r e a l than 'real' people for we are allowed to know them bette r ) . Literature has the a b i l i t y to move the reader pro- foundly, even disturbingly; indeed, t h i s i s i t s value. And i t s power to do so l i e s i n the implication of our deepest emotions and i n t e l l e c t u a l b e l i e f s . And i t has the power to disturb us because i t opens up new experiences for us, d i f f e r e n t ways of thinking and knowing. "In a word," says S l a t o f f , "because l i t e r a t u r e counts on i t , the reader must bring his own consciousness and experience to 52 bear." For S l a t o f f then, what l i t e r a t u r e does i s to implicate us, to extend our experience, our ways of knowing 64 and f e e l i n g . Literature i s cl o s e l y linked with l i f e and S l a t o f f sees a danger i n the attempts of c r i t i c i s m to sepa- rate them. S l a t o f f ' s p o s i t i o n may be regarded, from our view- point, as a refinement of Booth's. In the in t e r a c t i o n between author and reader, the author implicates and plays upon the reader's b e l i e f s . We concluded Chapter I by suggesting the need for l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m to examine more cl o s e l y the in t e r a c t i o n between text and reader. The 'affective* c r i t i c s have done that, each i n his own way. Some have found, as Dewey has suggested, that aesthetic experience cannot be sepa- rated from ordinary experience. Booth has argued vehe- mently that our mundane feelings are implicated as we read l i t e r a t u r e , and are necessarily so to make l i t e r a t u r e work. Both Iser and Holland maintain that i n l i t e r a t u r e , we have access to vicarious experience (fantasy, i n Holland's case), and Iser suggests a connection between reading l i t e r a t u r e and personal development, a connection which Dewey sug- gests about art and which Brit t o n takes up i n his theory. As well, Fish, Iser, S l a t o f f , and Barthes a l l h i t upon the idea that we, as readers, are c a l l e d upon to f i l l i n 65 narrative gaps i n f i c t i o n from our own experience of the 53 world; i n f a c t , for them, t h i s i s how f i c t i o n works. At the same time, we see a p a r a l l e l aesthetic p r i n - c i p l e developing with these c r i t i c s — the idea that a work of l i t e r a t u r e as a l i n g u i s t i c utterance cannot r e a l l y be divorced from other kinds of verbal utterances. This, as we s h a l l see, i s a basic tenet of Britton"s theory. Fish begins by stating that he sees no point i n d i s t i n g - uishing between the l i t e r a r y use of language and other uses of language. Most s t r i k i n g l y , Poulet, Booth, Iser, Holland, and S l a t o f f a l l discuss the sense of being talked to by someone when they read — a narrative presence. Also Barthes 1 s t r u c t u r a l i s t analysis of narrative provides for the narrative presence. The r e l a t i o n s h i p between what Booth has c a l l e d the 'implied' author and the 'im- p l i e d ' reader i s also developed by B r i t t o n . F i n a l l y , i t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that Fish and Poulet f i n d that a work of l i t e r a t u r e can have no extractable meaning, For t h i s , too i s an ultimate implication of Britton's theory. The ideas of t h i s c r i t i c a l movement, though import- ant, are fragmented. There i s a need to integrate them into a more general theory. James Britton's theory of response provides a structure which subsumes these 66 fragmented ideas, enabling us to gain a perspective on these c r i t i c s and to discern the d i r e c t i o n i n which they point. 67 Footnotes 1 W. K. Wimsatt, "The Af f e c t i v e Fallacy," The Verbal Icon; Studies i n the Meaning of Poetry (Lexington, Ky.: The University Press of Kentucky, 1954), p. 21. 2 Wimsatt, p. 32 "Wimsatt, pp. 34-35 4 T. S. E l i o t , "Hamlet," Selected Essays (London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1934), p. 145 5 Wimsatt, p. 38 6 Wimsatt, p. 39 7 Wimsatt, p. 39 8 ^ Norman N. Holland, The Dynamics-of L i t e r a r y Response (New York: Oxford University Press, 1968T, p. 52. 9 Holland, p. 30 1 0 Holland, p. 75 1 1 Holland, p. 132 12 Holland, p. 161 68 13 Wimsatt, p. 21, 14 Stanley Fish, "Literature i n the Reader: Affec- t i v e S t y l i s t i c s , " Self-Consuming A r t i f a c t s : , The Experi- ence of Seventeenth Century Literature (Berkeley:. Univer- s i t y of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1972), p. 401. 1 5 Fish, pp. 387-388. 1 6 Fish, p. 393 1 7 Fish, p. 408 1 R Fish, p. 407 1 9 Fish, p. 410 2 0 Fish, p. 401 2 1 Fish, pp. 400-401 2 2 Fish, pp. 400-401 23 Roland Barthes, "The S t r u c t u r a l i s t A c t i v i t y , " The S t r u c t u r a l i s t s from Marx to Levi-Strauss, ed. Richard T. and Fernande M. De George (Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1972), p. 149. 2 4 Ibid., p. 152 69 25 F i r s t published i n Communications VIII (1966) pp. 1-27 2 6 Roland Barthes, "An Introduction to the S t r u c t u r a l i s t Analysis of Narrative," New L i t e r a r y ̂  xt.nry VI, 2 (1975), p. 241. ^ J L 2 7 Ibid., p. 266 2 8 Ibid.^ p. 243 2 9 Ibid., p. 251 3 0 Ibid., p.270 3 1 Ibidv,- p. 26 5 32 Wolfgang Iser, "Indeterminacy and the Reader's Response i n Prose F i c t i o n , " Aspects of Narrative, ed. J. H i l l i s M i l l e r (Berkeley: University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1972), p. 8, 33 Wolfgang Iser, "The Reading Process: A Phenomen- o l o g i c a l Approach," New Li t e r a r y History, III (1972), p. 284. 3 4 Ibid., p. 284 3 5 Ibid., p.292 70 3 6 Ibid., p. 295 3 7 Georges Poulet, "Phenomenology of Reading," Issues i n Contemporary C r i t i c i s m , ed. Gregory T. P o l l e t t a (Boston: L i t t l e , Brown, and Company, 1973), p. 104 3 8 Poulet, p. 105 3 9 Poulet, p. 106 4 0 Poulet, p. 110 41 Poulet, p. 109 4 2 Poulet, p. 104 4 3 Wayne Booth, "Emotions, B e l i e f s , and the Reader's Object i v i t y , " The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n (1961; rpt. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970), p. 123. 4 4 Booth, p. 129 45 Booth, p. 133 4 6 Booth, p. 147 47 Walter J. S l a t o f f , With Respect to Readers: Dimensions of L i t e r a r y Response (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, 1970), p. 24. 71 48 49 50 S l a t o f f , p. 132 S l a t o f f , p. 93 S l a t o f f , p. 99n. M. H. Abrams also expresses si m i l a r ideas about poetry i n "Belief and the Suspension of D i s b e l i e f , " l_ L i t e r a t u r e arid B e l i e f : English I n s t i t u t e Essays 1957 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1958)_/ ~~ " ... I think the issue of morality and b e l i e f i n poetry has been made to seem unnecessarily recondite be- cause of the common tendency to define a poem as a special kind of language, or a special structure of words and meanings, and then to s l i p i n characters and actions qu i e t l y through the back door." (p. 13) "The s k i l l f u l poet contrives which of our b e l i e f s w i l l be c a l l e d into play, to what degree, and with what emotional e f f e c t . Given a t r u l y impassive reader, a l l his b e l i e f s suspended or anaesthetized, he would be as helpless i n his attempts to endow his work with i n t e r e s t and power, as though he had to write for an audience from Mars." ;(p.l7) 5 1 S l a t o f f , p. 16 5 2 S l a t o f f , p. 66 There i s some inter e s t i n g recent psycholinguisti research which suggests that something l i k e t h i s happens i ordinary verbal communication. {_ Bransford, J. D., Barclay, J. R., and Franks, J . J . , "Sentence Memory: A Constructive Versus Interpretive Approach," Cognitive Psychology, III (1972, 193-209_7 "In a broader sense," the study concludes, "the constructive approach argues against the t a c i t assumption that sentences "carry mean- ing." People carry meanings, and l i n g u i s t i c inputs 72 merely act as cues which people can use to recreate and modify t h e i r previous knowledge of the world. What i s comprehended and remembered depends on an i n d i v i d u a l 1 s general knowledge of his environment." (p. 207) 73 III - James B r i t t o n Unlike the c r i t i c s i n the previous chapter, James Bri t t o n i s not s o l e l y concerned with l i t e r a t u r e and l i t - erary response. He approaches those topics from the much broader overview of man's entire l i n g u i s t i c a c t i v i t y , placing l i t e r a t u r e i n a more encompassing perspective than most l i t e r a r y c r i t i c s do. B r i t t o n theorizes that man, for d i f f e r e n t purposes, assumes either the role of participant — to carry out p r a c t i c a l matters i n his world — or the role of spectator — to detach himself from his world and evaluate his l i f e and the l i v e s of those around him. Each role i s characterized by a spe- c i a l kind of language use — l i t e r a t u r e being a mani- fes t a t i o n of language use i n the spectator r o l e . The major statement of his l i n g u i s t i c theory i s contained i n Language and Learning (1970). As well, two essays, "Response to Li t e r a t u r e " (1968) and "The Role of Fantasy" (1971) complement the theory put forth i n his book. I t should be noted at the outset that Britton's viewpoint i s primarily, though not exclusively, that of an educator: his views on l i t e r a t u r e are grounded i n studies of philosophy, psychology, sociology, and l i n g u i s t i c s , as well as l i t e r a r y theory. To a c e r t a i n 74 extent Bri t t o n i s behaviorally oriented, concerned as he i s with theories, experiments, and personal observations about how we use language. Such p r a c t i c a l concerns serve to l i b e r a t e B r i t t o n from the poten t i a l myopia of a viewpoint which i s so l e l y l i t e r a r y . Indeed, his extra- l i t e r a r y background makes his view of l i t e r a t u r e a l l the more inter e s t i n g and extensive. At the end of the l a s t chapter, we saw that two s i g n i f i c a n t ideas about the nature of l i t e r a r y response emerged ffom a discussion of what we might c a l l the 'affe c t i v e ' c r i t i c s . The ideas however remained r u d i - mentary and unrelated. James Britton's theory of l i t e r a r y response w i l l prove useful i n integrating these fragmented ideas. "The role of Fantasy" i s a b r i e f a r t i c l e about the nature of children's play; i n i t James B r i t t o n suggests: ' ... that the arts (including l i t e r a t u r e ) represent a highly organized a c t i v i t y within the general area of *plav' " v- x ''' This statement may at f i r s t seem absurd, or c e r t a i n l y naive, but Britton's assumption i s based on a b e l i e f , suggested by Langer, that l i f e has i t s 'art- i s t i c mode'. Basing his views on the study of children, B r i t t o n believes that man's experience comes to him primarily i n the form of images which antedate his use 75 of words (his discursive understanding), and which continue to function i n association with, and independently of, words. On the one hand B r i t t o n has distinguished a mode of a c t i v i t y whereby man attempts to understand the actual world, to picture an increasingly more accurate represen- tat i o n of i t — his a c q u i s i t i o n of discursive knowledge. But on the other hand, there are times when human beings improvise on that representation for seemingly very im- p r a c t i c a l purposes. This i s e s p e c i a l l y true of c h i l d - ren's play, or of adult day-dreaming, or of dreams them- selves. The point B r i t t o n wishes to make here i s that while we are involved i n such f a n t a s t i c a c t i v i t i e s , there may be l i t t l e concern for v e r i s i m i l i t u d e and the events acted out may take place i n an u n f a i t h f u l repre- sentation of the 'real* world, but that t h i s does not mean that the a c t i v i t y lacks organization altogether. Like Langer, Bri t t o n claims there are a l t e r n a t i v e ways of or- ganizing experience, al t e r n a t i v e ways of knowing. Inter- estingly B r i t t o n sees l i t e r a t u r e to which we respond a e s t h e t i c a l l y , as a manifestation of the same mode of organization which operates i n children's play. 76 a) The Nature of Experience Like Dewey, Br i t t o n believes that we construct for ourselves a view of the world, which changes and grows as we assimilate experience. In Language and Learning Brit t o n states: " ... we construct a representation of the world as we experience i t , and from t h i s representa- t i o n , t h i s cumulative record of our past, we generate our expectations concerning the future; expectations which, as moment by moment the future becomes the present, en- 2 able us to interpret the present." I have suggested that we construct t h i s world view by two modes of under- standing — i n Langer's terms, the discursive and the non-discursive. Dewey has hypothesized that the human organism i s perpetually involved i n the a c t i v i t i e s of 'doing'' and 'undergoing':' the organism acts, and when th i s action i s thwarted, the organism i s forced into r e f l e c t i o n . For Dewey t h i s , i n essence, i s the fundamental rhythm of human l i f e . Forced into r e f l e c t i o n , we must bring to bear our past experience to deal with a new, d i s - parate experience. Having re-achieved a state of harmony aft e r a p a r t i c u l a r disturbing phase of d i s p a r i t y , we are conscious of having had a very powerful experience. And what gives t h i s experience i t s power i s i t s emotion. The 77 organism's r e f l e c t i o n i s not purely discursive; our sen- t i e n t being comes into play. Bri t t o n has i d e n t i f i e d two main a c t i v i t i e s by which human beings deal with t h e i r world which he c a l l s the 3 parti c i p a n t role and the spectator r o l e . In the pa r t i c i p a n t role we are preoccupied with get- ting things done i n the world, and t h i s involves behavior which i s both overt purposeful a c t i v i t y , and covert mental a c t i v i t y . Our chief concern i s to function i n or to esta b l i s h a coherent, accurate representation of the world. In the ro l e of spectator, however, our concerns are no longer so p r a c t i c a l . The mode of a c t i v i t y i n the spectator role -- as opposed to part i c i p a n t a c t i v i t y : overt purposeful a c t i v i t y ; i n t e l l e c t u a l comprehension; and perception ~- i s the mode of detached evaluation In the part i c i p a n t r o l e , we are concerned with 'the way things are' i n the world; i n the spectator r o l e , our con- cern i s with 'the way we f e e l about things'." Our evalu- ation i s an emotional one. This i s not to say that we adopt the role of spectator only when we are iso l a t e d from participant a c t i v i t i e s . Certainly there are times when we do, but often we are evaluating almost as we 78 pa r t i c i p a t e ; i n fact, as we l i v e we adopt and interchange the two roles continuously, often almost simultaneously. But there w i l l also be times when we del i b e r a t e l y detach ourselves from our a c t i v i t i e s i n the world i n order to step back and evaluate what we are doing or what i s going on around us. Also, i t i s important to r e a l i z e that both roles of a c t i v i t y e x i s t at every l e v e l of human endeavour, however mundane or sophisticated. "Both 'spectator' and 'participant'," states B r i t t o n , " ... are used i n a special and r e s t r i c t e d sense: 'participant' i s the key word to mark out someone who i s p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the world's a f f a i r s : 'spectator' i s the l a b e l for someone on a h o l i - day from the world's a f f a i r s , someone contemplating expe- riences, enjoying them, v i v i d l y reconstructing them per- 5 haps -T but experiences i n which he i s not taking part." Two things should be noted here. In the f i r s t place, p a r t i c i p a t i o n does not necessarily mean physical action; our concern as participants i s with 'the way things are', and our a c t i v i t y may well be mental. In the second place, detached evaluation i n the spectator mode does not imply that we are not involved i n what we observe. B r i t t o n i l l u s t r a t e s the difference i n the two modes of a c t i v i t y . He claims that i n either mode, we tend to c l a s s i f y things 79 in our world. A domestic cat c l a s s i f i e d by 'the way things are' belongs to the same group as the t i g e r . But c l a s s i f i e d according to 'the way we f e e l about things', the domestic cat becomes something quite d i f f e r e n t from the t i g e r . The point B r i t t o n makes i s that both c l a s s i f i c a - tions are esse n t i a l and inevitable to the formulation of a coherent and balanced representation of the world. Dewey has mentioned the role of emotion i n constru- ing experience and Langer has written of the a b i l i t y of our sentient being to 'perceive' experience. These two ideas r e l a t e to Britton's theory of the spectator r o l e , where our detached evaluation i s an emotional one. A l l three theories point to the formative importance of the spectator r o l e . As spectators we can carry out our a c t i v i t y of detached evaluation as individuals where we witness and evaluate actual events. What comes into play i n our evaluations are our int e r e s t s , desires, sentiments, and i d e a l s . We are no longer interested necessarily i n comprehending events and could quite well be concerned only for the appearance of things. For example, at a f o o t b a l l game, we may cease to be concerned about how the game works and become caught up i n the game's s i m i l a r i t y to war. The attitudes evoked i n us can be more or less 80 intense depending upon our relationship to the p a r t i c i - pants and upon the bearing the event has to our own system of values. If we personally know one of the players at our f o o t b a l l game, or i f we have v i v i d and exciting memo- r i e s of our own f o o t b a l l games i n youth, our evaluative attitudes w i l l be affected. I t i s perhaps worth restating here Langer's view that the patterns of our sentient be- ings may often be unconscious, or i n e f f a b l e ; thus, we may be i n a s i t u a t i o n where we have a powerful reaction to some event we have witnessed and not r e a l l y know why. I mentioned e a r l i e r that the mode of detached evalu- ation can e x i s t i n close association with p a r t i c i p a n t a c t i v i t i e s . Our detachment however w i l l be v i t i a t e d the closer we are to p a r t i c i p a n t a c t i v i t i e s , as i n situations where we have t r i e d unsuccessfully or have neglected an o b l i g a t i o n to p a r t i c i p a t e i n events or i n a s i t u a t i o n where we are preparing f o r overt a c t i v i t y . The more we can detach ourselves, the more comprehensive w i l l be our evaluation. Such detachment enables us to be more aware of our surroundings, more aware of p o s s i b i l i t i e s of experience, simply by v i r t u e of watching and evaluating events around us i n terms of the way we f e e l about them. No doubt what we see w i l l not merely confirm what we 81 already f e e l but w i l l surprise us and extend our expecta- tions of human experience. This notion relates to the theories of growth proposed by Dewey and K e l l y . B r i t t o n Has stated that as spectators: " ... i n contemplating the new (the experience of which we are spectators) we are g more than usually concerned with our t o t a l world view." We are concerned with organizing the new experience i n the l i g h t of the old, with a n t i c i p a t i n g future events, and with preserving our world view from fragmentation. One more aspect of our role as i n d i v i d u a l specta- tors must be mentioned. While we are able to witness actual events, we are also able to remember and evaluate things i n the past and perhaps, by v i r t u e of t h i s , a n t i c i - pate future events; we also might imagine what we might have Been, or what might be, as i n fantasy or day-dreams. But our s o c i a l experience as spectators i s l i a b l e to have an even more profound e f f e c t upon us. There can be no doubt that we are inescapably s o c i a l . As spectators surrounded by our fellows, we may witness actual events; here we can be influenced even by the non-verbal reactions of those around us, t h e i r gestures, tears, laughter. Un- doubtedly, we define ourselves Cantagonistically, or con- genially), by those around us. And here language has a 82 great inpact upon our spectator experience because we are able to l i s t e n to someone's representation of events which have happened. There are s o c i a l counterparts to the s o l i t a r y spectator a c t i v i t i e s of day-dreaming, remembering past events, a n t i c i p a t i n g future events. One counterpart i s the cooperative play which children engage i n ; the c other i s gossip. 9 B r i t t o n has stated that i n the spectator role we are more than usually concerned with our world view, and : one aspect of our concern i s to preserve i t from fragmen- tati o n , or, i n Dewey's terms, to maintain the sense of a u n i f i e d whole which i s the essence of sanity. Gossip provides us with the opportunity of s o c i a l i n t e r a c t i o n where we can share experiences and our attitudes to those experiences. "We become experienced people," states Brit t o n , " ... as a r e s u l t of the fusion of other people's experience with our own," 1 0 Spectator role a c t i v i t y i s l i f e i n the a r t i s t i c mode (in Langer's sense). For Brit t o n , what we have come to regard as a r t i s t i c l i t e r a - ture i s organically rooted i n gossip. b)_ The Role of Language Britton's main in t e r e s t i s i n the l i n g u i s t i c a c t i v i t y . p f the p a r t i c i p a n t and spectator rol e s , 83 p a r t i c u l a r l y the l a t t e r . In the Foreword to Language and Learning; he states: "As spectators we use language to contemplate what has happened to us or to other people, or what might conceivably happen; i n other words, we impro- vise upon our world representation and we may do so either to enrich i t , to f i l l i t s gaps and extend i t s f r o n t i e r s , or to iron out i t s inconsistencies. In Britton*s view, l i t e r a t u r e i s one, but only one, manifestation of li n g u - i s t i c a c t i v i t y i n the spectator r o l e . Here Britton's difference from the c r i t i c s discussed i n Chapter II must be stressed; t h e i r points of view are almost exclusively confined to l i t e r a t u r e , whereas Britton's encompasses l i n - g u i s t i c a c t i v i t y i n general. B r i t t o n stresses the c r u c i a l part which language plays i n our l i v e s ; i t i s the prime t o o l by which we negotiate experience, B r i t t o n states: "Before a c h i l d can 'make something 1 of experience, i n the sense of turn- ing i t to his advantage, he must make something of i t i n the sense of reducing flux to order and there can be no doubt whatever that language i s a p r i n c i p a l agent i n achieving t h i s i n a l l normal cases." This a b i l i t y to use language i s uniquely human. In the rudimentary stages of our development as children, our speech i s riveted to 84 the concrete environment u n t i l we learn that words can take the place of objects i n i t . For the human being words become symbols, and, as Susanne Langer emphatically points out, man's power of symbolizing i s the essence of his humanity. B r i t t o n , agreeing with Jerome Bruner, states that a c h i l d ' s f i r s t use of language serves to regulate, organize, and extend the representations of his world made i n the 'enactive' and 'iconic' modes of per- ception. I t i s as i f we construct a representation of the world by constructing a f i l i n g system which pro- cesses the images of our experience. Language then 12 f a c i l i t a t e s a more extensive and e f f i c i e n t system. Britt o n states: " ... language i s a highly organized, systematic means of representing experience, and as such i t a s s i s t s us to organize a l l other ways of represent- 13 ing." Language used s t r i c t l y i n t h i s manner i s language used i n the p a r t i c i p a n t r o l e . I t i s e s s e n t i a l l y discursive, a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n system according to 'the way things a r e 1 , and i s used to construct an increasingly f a i t h f u l representation of the world.., In our discursive use of language we are largely concerned-..: with p r a c t i c a l matters, with the way things are. !rwe did observe, however," states B r i t t o n , "that our 85 representation of the world i s affected also by the pro- ject i o n of i n d i v i d u a l feelings, our needs and desires: l e t us regard t h i s now as involving an alternative mode of c l a s s i f y i n g — a c l a s s i f i c a t i o n i n accordance with '•the way I f e e l about things.' 1 5 J n B r i t t o n , s v i e W / a kind of p o l a r i t y exists i n l i n g u i s t i c a c t i v i t y . Dis- cursive thought gives r i s e to a s c i e n t i f i c use of langu- age which becomes gradually more objective so as to evolve into pure symbol systems. Non-discursive thought, on the other hand, gives r i s e to l i t e r a t u r e and art, generally. On one end of t h i s language a c t i v i t y c o n t i - nuum, then, we have the discursive use of language which culminates i n a s c i e n t i f i c t r e a t i s e ; on the other end we have the non-discursive use o£ language (gossip) which culminates i n a work of- l i t e r a t u r e . In between these two poles f a l l what could be c a l l e d a r t i s t i c and s c i e n t i f i c modes of a c t i v i t y ; a c t i v i t i e s i n these modes, of course, culminate i n neither art nor science, but l i e somewhere in between. Moreover, B r i t t o n would say that a c t i v i t y i n the a r t i s t i c mode i s that of the spectator r o l e , and a c t i v i t y i n the s c i e n t i f i c mode i s that of the p a r t i c i - pant. Language i n the spectator role B r i t t o n c a l l s the poetic use of language; language i n pa r t i c i p a n t r o l e , 86 transactional: s c i e n t i f i c mode (activity) a r t i s t i c mode (activity) SCIENCE ART transactional mode (language) poetic mode (language) PARTICIPANT ROLE SPECTATOR ROLE 'the way things are' 'the way we f e e l about things' But t h i s model, . . i i s s t i l l undeveloped and so mis- represents our language a c t i v i t y . A l l speech acts imply an audience, and thus far I have had l i t t l e to say about audience. I have mentioned gossip, characterizing i t i s a kind of basic language a c t i v i t y i n the spectator r o l e . In gossip, for example, one i s able to r e c a l l a past ex- perience, give shape to i t i n the t e l l i n g , and convey, through language and other means, an appropriate attitude to that past experience. My audience i s f a i r l y immediate; people can stop me and i n t e r j e c t t h e i r own comments con- veying t h e i r own attitudes, thus elaborating and embel- l i s h i n g my representation. I t i s also possible for some- one whom I do not know to l i s t e n to my gossip and enjoy (or disapprove of); the attitudes which I convey. The point of a l l t h i s i s to indicate an even more 87 'rudimentary 1 class of utterances than gossip, which func- tions i n what Br i t t o n c a l l s 'the expressive mode'.- Such a class of utterance i s e n t i r e l y embedded i n the immediate sit u a t i o n , and can only be understood by those involved i n that s i t u a t i o n . For example, a good f r i e n d of mine may ask me what I think of so-and-so, a mutual acquaintance. My reply might be simply, "Ugh!" accompanied by a grimace. Here i s a one s y l l a b l e reply, not even a word r e a l l y , and yet i t s 'meaning' w i l l be conveyed i n a p e r f e c t l y clear fashion to my friend; there i s no doubt how I f e e l about our mutual acquaintance. I can get away with my sparse reply because of the absolute mutuality and r e c i p r o c i t y I have with my fr i e n d — we share a common world of experi- ence. This combination of speech (or sound) and gesture which together becomes a kind of speech act occurs much more commonly than we perhaps r e a l i z e . The expressive mode comes into play whenever speaker and l i s t e n e r share a common world of experience, for however b r i e f a time. Even when I seek to purchase gasoline at a service station, often a l l I need to do i s hold up a f i v e d o l l a r b i l l and indicate the appropriate pump to the attendant. The f i r s t example of language use i n the expressive mode, the i n t e r - change with my f r i e n d , might be considered as a c l a s s i f i c a - 88 ti o n according to the way I f e e l about things (the specta- tor r o l e ) ; the second i s a 'gesture-utterance' for the purpose of getting things done i n the world (the p a r t i c i - pant r o l e ) . But as utterances divorced from t h e i r res- pective receivers ( i . e . removed from the immediate s i t u a - tion) , they would be t o t a l l y meaningless. Speech i n the expressive mode i s e n t i r e l y dependent upon a shared world of experience between speaker and hearer. The c o r o l l a r y to t h i s i s that there w i l l be pres- sure on the expressive mode as soon as one of the hearers no longer shares a common world of experience. My frie n d may ask me what I think of so-and-so, a person of whom he knows v i r t u a l l y nothing. Or, to take our other example, my sta t i o n attendant's son, who knows nothing about gaso- l i n e pumps, i s l e f t to mind the station when I happen to arrive i n my car. In each of these situations my hearer and I no longer share the same context of experience. If I reply "Ugh!" to my friend's request, he w i l l not know what I mean. Of i f I gesture to the boy at the gasoline pumps, he w i l l f i r s t need to have more e x p l i c i t information before he can comply with my request. We are forced out of the expressive centre into the transactional or poetic mode of language use, as the case may be. 89 Now as the hearer shares less and less of his speaker's world of experience, the utterances must become gradually more e x p l i c i t to account for t h i s lack of mutu- a l i t y . In the transactional mode, as we move from the expressive centre to the pole, we have manifestations of the transactional use of language i n which the speaker and hearer have less and less personal r e c i p r o c i t y — the play- by-play description of a televised hockey game, an on-the scene news report, a newspaper a r t i c l e , a s c i e n t i f i c text book. Each of these i s increasingly more e x p l i c i t . Lan- ger maintains that discursive symbolism, as opposed to pre- sentational, culminates i n symbolic l o g i c , an absolutely e x p l i c i t discursive form. I t should be added that trans- actional language a c t i v i t i e s are often embellished with r h e t o r i c a l devices from the poetic mode. But transac- t i o n a l speaking and writing generally deal the 'way things are* i n the world; transactional language i s concerned e s s e n t i a l l y with the 'facts' of the world, however trans- ient and mutable these 'facts' may prove to be. c) Literature as Experience Of the transactional and poetic modes of language a c t i v i t y , B r i t t o n states: "We a l l use language i n both these ways, to get things done i n the outer world and to 90 manipulate the inner world. Action and decision belong to the former use; freedom from them i n the l a t t e r en- ables us to attend to other things — to the forms of language, the patterns of events, the fe e l i n g s . We take up as i t were the role of spectators: spectators of our own past l i v e s , our imagined futures, other men's l i v e s , impossible events. When we speak t h i s language, the near- est name I can give i t i s 'gossip'; when we write i t , i t 17 i s l i t e r a t u r e . " Britton's d e f i n i t i o n , of course, i s not normative; that i s , he does not define l i t e r a t u r e as writing which surpasses some threshold of excellence. Ra- ther, f o r Bri t t o n , l i t e r a t u r e i s writing i n the spectator role and his int e r e s t l i e s i n studying l i t e r a t u r e to see i f i t s roots l i e i n common experience. I have already discussed gossip to some extent. Through,gossip, i t ' i s possible for someone to represent, to me, for my evaluation, an event we have both p a r t i c i - pated i n , or, equally, an event I may have missed a l t o - gether. From here i t i s only a step, though a c r u c i a l one, to say that i t i s possible for someone to represent to me for my evaluation an event which might happen, an imaginary event. And t h i s i s e s s e n t i a l l y what happens when we t e l l s t o r i e s , and s i m i l a r l y , therefore, when we 91 write s t o r i e s . According to t h i s view, a l l forms of s t o r y t e l l i n g , true or f i c t i o n a l , spoken or written, are narratives which i n v i t e onlookers to j o i n i n evaluating 18 some p o s s i b i l i t y of experience. As the form of discourse i n the transactional mode i s conditioned by the audience, or more s p e c i f i c a l l y by a gradually less immediate audience, so, too, i n the poetic mode. I might write a l e t t e r to a close f r i e n d , i n which I t e l l him an anecdote about some mutual acquaintances. This l e t t e r , i f made public, would be i n t e l l i g i b l e to only a few people, A nov e l i s t , on the other hand, must write for an unknown public, and th i s audience w i l l put pressure 19 on hxm to o b j e c t i f y his writing. In transactional writing an author o f f s e t s the personal anonymity of his audience by making his discourse more e x p l i c i t . Langer has characterized a r t as a non-diecursive symbol, as opg posed to discursive a r t i c u l a t i o n , so i t follows that the nov e l i s t must make his creation more i m p l i c i t to account for his public audience. A piece of l i t e r a t u r e i s a cre- ated object rather than a discursive exposition of objects i n the world. A simple i l l u s t r a t i o n of t h i s implicitness- ex p l i c i t n e s s p r i n c i p l e i s that a text which i s c l e a r l y t transactional w i l l state i t s intention, as, for example, 92 $; have i n t h i s thesis: Whereas i n l i t e r a t u r e the inten- t i o n i s not stated but i m p l i c i t , embedded i n the utterance 20 i t s e l f . A novel w i l l often plunge i t s reader into the midst of the action. I t i s as i f the utterance supplies i t s own context. Discursive writing deals with a world of r e a l i t y (though perhaps mutable) which i s external to the reader, while l i t e r a t u r e must create a f i c t i v e world i n which the reader places himself. At t h i s point Britton's theory c l a r i f i e s some of the ideas which emerged from Chap- ter IT. For example, Britton's theory of i m p l i c i t w rit- ing coincides with Booth's theory of the implied author and reader. As we l l , Iser has mentioned that what makes a l i t e r a r y text unique i s that the reader i s drawn into the world of the novel. Br i t t o n regards l i t e r a t u r e as a highly specialized way of enlarging and extending the discussions which we 21 o r d i n a r i l y have with each other about l i f e . The author of f e r s the reader some p o s s i b i l i t y of experience; he structures his attitude (the way he feels) towards his cha- racters and events i n a way he fe e l s appropriate. Both characters and events are open to evaluation by the reader who can agree or disagree and who w i l l ultimately be either enthusiastic or disappointed with what the author o f f e r s . 93 The reader i s also free to evaluate the attitude which the author conveys towards the events he describes, an attitude which i s as often i m p l i c i t as e x p l i c i t . The author here i s implied, that i s , the author behind the events and cha- racters i n a novel i s not necessarily to be associated with the biographical e n t i t y of the author. Nonetheless, we do not ignore the authorial presence giving shape to his 22 discussions; rather we evaluate his attitu d e . Here, what Poulet, Booth, S l a t o f f , and to some extent Holland say about the relationship between the author and the reader becomes clear. Part of the power of l i t e r a t u r e i s indeed the r e c i p r o c i t y of consciousnesses which r e s u l t s when the author imbues his f i c t i v e world with his personal (though im p l i c i t ) attitudes. In Britton's mind, such r e c i p r o c i - t i e s are quite l i t e r a l l y discussions of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of experience. What does Br i t t o n have to say about l i t e r a t u r e that i s art? The gossip who shapes his story, giving form to his experiences, undergoes the same basic processes as the 23 writer of f i c t i o n a l l i t e r a t u r e . Of course, each has a di f f e r e n t audience, but both, as they move out of the ex- pressive mode, become caught up i n the t e l l i n g of the story; the story becomes something important for i t s own sake, 94 something to be shaped. "As expressive writing moves towards poetic," states B r i t t o n , " ... i t reaches a wider audience ... by heightening or i n t e n s i f y i n g the i m p l i c i t . By the deliberate organizations of sounds, words, images, events, feelings by formal arrangement i n other words -- poetic writing i s able to give resonance to items which in a less c a r e f u l l y organized utterance would be so inex- p l i c i t -- so minimally supported or explained i n the text •— as to be merely puzzling to a reader who was not i n t i - 24 mate with the writer and his audience." Literature, then, i s a manifestation of language use i n the spectator mode and Bri t t o n views a work of l i t - erature as a special convention whereby the author 'dis- cusses'' some p o s s i b i l i t y of experience with the reader. Lit e r a t u r e , of course, i s communication of a special sort. The sophisticated reader i s aware that his rel a t i o n s h i p with the author i s a special one. The writing i s ob- j e c t i f i e d ; the events read or heard are not r e a l , but 25 v i r t u a l . In reading a work of l i t e r a t u r e we have the i l l u s i o n of having an experience; there i s a semblance of experienced events. "The s a t i s f a c t i o n I have i n the story, says B r i t t o n , " i s the kind of s a t i s f a c t i o n 1 de- r i v e , not from having an experience, but from looking back 95 on one I have had: i t i s as though I were to go back over 2 6 an experience I have hot had!" Thus, for B r i t t o n , the experience of l i t e r a t u r e i s not vicarious p a r t i c i p a t i o n , but, as i t were, vicarious spectating. Literature en- ables us to achieve an imaginative insight into the expe- riences of others. Here Br i t t o n integrates another idea from Chapter IT. Both Iser and Holland made claims that a work of l i t - erature i s an experience which the reader undergoes. Less e x p l i c i t l y , Booth, Poulet, and S l a t o f f support t h i s view as well. B r i t t o n relates two important concepts: l i t e r a t u r e as experience and l i t e r a t u r e as utterance. Now we are able to see how the two notions are compatible. How, then, does Britt o n account for our aesthetic responses to l i t e r a t u r e ? B r i t t o n accounts for them much i n the same way as Dewey has accounted for our responses to a r t . The power of l i t e r a t u r e , taken i n Britton's sense of v i r t u a l expe- rience, i s that i t can be as formative as raw experience. The processes which are c a l l e d into play i n the assimila- t i o n of primary experience, can also be c a l l e d into play to assimilate v i r t u a l experience. We are able, and some- times forced, to reconstruct our world view. B r i t t o n states: " ... new experiences are interpreted, structured 96 i n the l i g h t of the old, and i n that modified form incor- porated: the body of experience, the world representation, i s modified, reinterpreted, i n the l i g h t of the new, and i t s comparative unity and coherence as f a r as possible 27 maintained." We acquire imaginative insight into the experience of others, thereby building up the s o c i a l con- text i n which we l i v e . "Looked back on," Bri t t o n states, "the experience others have related merge into the expe- riences we have had ourselves: as a basis for making generalizations, judgments decisions, we c a l l upon both. We become experienced people, i n other words, as a r e s u l t H 2? of the fusion of other peoples' experience with our own. Brit t o n maintains ultimately that there i s a p o s i t i v e human need for the spectator role — the need to preserve our world views from fragmentation. According to Dewey, t h i s preservation or reconstruction of the world view i s the source of the aesthetic emotion. I t follows that our capacity to assimilate v i r t u a l experience (literature) i s not constant; the a b i l i t y to respond to more sophis- t i c a t e d works of l i t e r a t u r e i s related to a corresponding growth of the world view. Our sophi s t i c a t i o n of response to l i t e r a t u r e w i l l grow as we gain more experience i n both l i f e and l i t e r a t u r e . We have a l l had the experience of re-reading a novel and finding what was once engrossing 97 re-reading a novel and finding what was once engrossing has Become f l a t and t r i v i a l . But there are other works of l i t e r a t u r e which grow i n richness as we grow, and even some we f i n d rewarding where once we were incapable of response. For B r i t t o n , t h i s involves the perception of forms i n l i t e r a t u r e . d) Perception of Form In the spectator r o l e , just as the writer i s able to concentrate on the form of his writing, so the reader i s able to pay more attention to form. For B r i t t o n , the perception of forms i n l i t e r a t u r e i s not excluded to the perception of the forms of the medium i t s e l f ; we also perceive the pattern of events and the changing tensions and interactions of f e e l i n g . Our a B i l i t y to perceive l i t e r a r y form i s gradually achieved. "Our sense of form increases," says B r i t t o n , "as our frame of reference of r e a l i t y grows with experience, primary and secondary, of 2 8 the world we l i v e i n . " As we read more and as we ex- perience more of the world, we are able to respond to more sophisticated works of l i t e r a t u r e . The i n t e r a c t i o n be- tween the a c q u i s i t i o n of both primary and secondary expe- rience i s r e c i p r o c a l , each extending the other. "Progress 98 / i n perceiving l i t e r a r y form/ l i e s i n perceiving gradually more complex patterns of events," says B r i t t o n , " i n pick- ing up clues more widely separated and more diverse i n character, and i n finding s a t i s f a c t i o n i n patterns of events less d i r e c t l y related to ... expectations and, more p a r t i c u l a r l y ... desires; at the same time, i t l i e s i n also perceiving the form of the varying relationships be- tween elements i n the story and r e a l i t y , as increasingly /"~we_7 ... come to know that commodity." 30 Thus the forms to which we respond i n l i t e r a t u r e , are not confined to the l i n g u i s t i c forms. B r i t t o n states: ." ... the forms of language i t s e l f -- i t s words with t h e i r meanings and associations, i t s syntax, i t s sounds and rhythms, i t s im- ages these contribute to the t o t a l form, not as fringe 31 benefits but as inseparable elements of a single e f f e c t . " B r i t t o n sees a d i s t o r t i o n i n responding only to the l i n g u i s t i c apparatus. Here Brit t o n draws upon Langer's d i s t i n c t i o n between discursive and non-discursive symbolic form: "A work of art ... i s not a sequence of systematic- a l l y related symbolic items — as a l o g i c a l verbal state- ment i s , or an algebraic equation — but i s i t s e l f a com- plete symbol. I t has 'organic' shape, that i s to say i t r e f l e c t s i n some way the tensions and rhythms that are 99 c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of every act of a l l l i v i n g creatures. I t achieves uniqueness and unity as a r e s u l t of the way div- erse modes of experience interlock within i t s highly com- 32 plex structure." A successful piece of l i t e r a t u r e possesses s i g n i f i c a n t form or v i t a l import, much as any other work of a r t . Our response to that v i t a l import w i l l be, i n Dewey's sense, d i r e c t and unreasoned. A work of l i t e r a t u r e does not lead d i s c u r s i v e l y to an insi g h t : rather, i t i s a constituted in s i g h t . In Dewey's words, i t does the deed that breeds i n s i g h t . For Langer and Bri t t o n the term 'meaning' as applied to a r t , i s inappropriate and misleading; art has import not mean- ing. Just as the import of a work of art cannot be ex- plained, so there can be no formulas for producing genuine works of art and, hence, imitations are shabby. The per- ception of form i n l i t e r a t u r e involves a paradox of sorts: a piece of l i t e r a t u r e i s a non-discursive symbolic form which takes what we normally regard as discursive symbols for i t s matter. Moreover, our handling of these discur- sive symbols on t h e i r own terms i s t i e d c l o s e l y to our per- sonal growth, our world view. To contemplate form i n l i t e r a t u r e presents us with a problem which does not con- 3 3 front us i n the other a r t s , for l i t e r a t u r e presents 100 us with an all-embracing ' s i g n i f i c a n t form' which u n i f i e s the piece of l i t e r a t u r e and i s the essence of i t s import. Literature, then, i s v i r t u a l experience, a kind of vicarious way of spectating on other peoples' experience. Literature, i n B r i t t o n r s view, can serve a purpose which i s quite pragmatic. Reading l i t e r a t u r e i s one of sev- e r a l imaginative spectator a c t i v i t i e s which functions '•' ... to preserve our view of the world from fragmentation and disharmony, to maintain i t as something we can con- 34 tinue to l i v e with as happily as may be." For Dewey, as we have seen, t h i s also accounts for our aesthetic responses to l i t e r a t u r e . According to Br i t t o n we cease to operate on the actual world v i a the representation we have made of i t ^ and begin to operate d i r e c t l y on the representation I t s e l f . "Why do men improvise upon t h e i r representation of the world?" Bri t t o n asks. "Basi c a l l y because we never cease to long for more l i v e s than the one we have; i n the role of spectator we can p a r t i c i p a t e i n 35 an i n f i n i t e number." Britton's theory provides a structure through which we are better able to evaluate the nature and trend of the 'aff e c t i v e ' c r i t i c i s m described i n the previous chapter. He successfully integrates i t s two major ideas 101 which previously appeared somewhat unrelated — l i t e r a t u r e as aesthetic experience i s related to ordinary experience, and as aesthetic use of language i s related to ordinary use of language. el Implications The theories delineated i n Chapter II represent, at least i n part, a trend that i s a reaction to the ex- tremes of New C r i t i c i s m where i t was assumed that a poem was an autonomous verbal object, the meaning of which be- ing more or less eternal. That we respond a e s t h e t i c a l l y to l i t e r a t u r e has always been taken for granted. The *affective ' c r i t i c s have also proposed that we respond to a work of l i t e r a t u r e as an experience or an utterance, or both* James Br i t t o n substantiates t h i s new develop- ment i n c r i t i c a l thinking; he i s , i n f a c t , i n the main- stream of i t even though he i s not even a l i t e r a r y c r i t i c . B r i t t o n ""s theory of l i t e r a r y response maintains, f i r s t , that l i t e r a t u r e i s a manifestation of l i n g u i s t i c a c t i v i t y i n the spectator mode, and that i t i s a natural extension of quite ordinary language use. A work of l i t e r a t u r e i s a non-discursive symbolic form possessed of a p a r t i c u l a r emotional import; i t conveys the i l l u s i o n of experienced events or • v i r t u a l experience'. I t i s t h i s semblance of 102 experienced events to which we respond. A work of l i t e r a - ture enacts i t s meaning; i t i s not a repository of extract- able meaning. I t 'does i t s meaning*, and i s , i t s e l f , the most perfect expression of what i t means. Britto n has c l e a r l y demonstrated the relationship between the ideas of viewing l i t e r a t u r e as art, l i t e r a t u r e as experience, and l i t e r a t u r e as a p a r t i c u l a r l i n g u i s t i c 3 6 phenomenon (utterance). The d i f f i c u l t y with the 'af- fective' 1 c r i t i c s i s that none adequately integrates these views of l i t e r a t u r e . Undoubtedly what enables B r i t t o n to gain an advantageous perspective on l i t e r a t u r e i s sim- p l y that he i s not sol e l y preoccupied with l i t e r a t u r e and l i t e r a r y theory. His main concern i s to esta b l i s h a more general theory of language use and t h i s necessarily leads him into other f i e l d s — philosophy, sociology, psychology, l i n g u i s t i c s . . Indeed, his theory i s a l l the more s i g n i f i c a n t because much of i t has been derived from actual observation of man's l i n g u i s t i c habits. The major implication of Britton's theory i s that i t furnishes a new way of looking at l i t e r a t u r e . Stanley Fish has mentioned thet the meaning of a work of l i t e r a - ture l i e s i n what i t does, and that to view i t as a repository of extractable meaning i s inappropriate. 103 Perhaps we have for too long tended to view pieces of l i t e r a t u r e as a r t i f a c t s or products. According to Dewey, Langer, and Bri t t o n , works of art ( l i t e r a t u r e i n - cluded) are non-discursive symbolic forms which possess a v i t a l import to which we respond i n t u i t i v e l y . Some of our responses may be phrased i n discursive language, but equally, many may well not be amenable to discursive forms. Langer has suggested that a r t exists because of the i n - a b i l i t y of discursive forms to accommodate the f u l l 'mean- ing' of l i f e , A l l t h i s suggests that i t i s wrong to sanction only discursive responses, as New C r i t i c i s m did. One may also question the study and teaching of l i t e r a t u r e as i f i t were a body of knowledge with extractable mean- ing; we have perhaps long been labouring under an i l l u - sion. In "The Role of Fantasy," B r i t t o n suggests that i t i s appropriate to view l i t e r a t u r e i n the same l i g h t as children's play. His claim for play i s that i t allows a c h i l d to improvise upon his representation of the world i n order to extend i t or make sense of i t . In other words, .play i s a process by which a c h i l d learns to handle the non-discursive aspects of his experience. In a sense, then, the end r e s u l t of play i s rather p r a c t i c a l . He 104 holds a similar view of l i t e r a t u r e ; vhen we read works of l i t e r a t u r e , we are not examining them as products, we are involved i n a process — one which i s cl o s e l y related to our personal growth. We assume the spectator ro l e , where we are involved i n discussions with other human be- ings, much the same as we gossip with one another about the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of l i f e . Thus, B r i t t o n holds a non- normative view of l i t e r a t u r e . He considers any writing i n the spectator mode as l i t e r a t u r e . One might diagram Britton's perspective on l i t e r a t u r e thus: 105 A work of l i t e r a t u r e placed i n Britton's perspective tends to disappear as an objects of c discursive:: study. There are also consequent ramifications for what has long been c a l l e d 'aesthetic response?; B r i t t o n would say that a l l of what we come to c a l l experience i n the spectator role i s aesthetic, a work of art or l i t - erature providing a very special kind of experience i n that r o l e . Dewey's theory c e r t a i n l y supports t h i s view of things. Langer claims that there is a side of man which i s ' a r t i s t i c ' by nature and which w i l l manifest i t s e l f ; t h i s side of man might be c a l l e d man i n the spectator r o l e . One can say, I think that i t i s our spectator role a c t i v i t y which provides the aesthetic element i n our l i v e s . Our rela t i o n s h i p with a work of a r t i s a proce ss which, i d e a l l y , continues throughout a l i f e t i m e . This process might appropriately be c a l l e d a learning experience for our personal growth i s i n t i - mately implicated. Britton's experience as an educator provides him with a view of l i t e r a t u r e as a manifestation of man's 'Tanguaging' a c t i v i t y . A piece of l i t e r a t u r e i s not only an acknowledged c l a s s i c , i t i s also a schoolboy's poem about tadpoles. The single most in t e r e s t i n g point about 106 B r i t t o n r s theory i s that he quite l i t e r a l l y puts l i t e r a t u r e i n i t s place, and he i s able to do so because his perspec- t i v e i s not solely l i t e r a r y . His preoccupation with lang- uage r e f l e c t s , i n turn, a preoccupation with learning: thus the t i t l e of his book. To expand one's view of the world i s to learn, and l i t e r a t u r e provides an invaluable source of secondary experience by which to do t h i s . As we read l i t e r a t u r e and respond to i t , we learn <— about ourselves and about the world around us. For B r i t t o n such 'learning'is the aesthetic experience of l i t e r a t u r e . 10(7 Footnotes 1 James N. Britt o n , "The Role of Fantasy," English i n Education, V.3 (Winter, 1971), p. 42 2 James N, Bri t t o n , Language and Learning (1970; rpt. London: Pelican Books, 1972), p. 13 3 The theory of the spectator-participant roles was f i r s t put fo r t h by D.W. Harding i n two essays. The ideas he proposed i n "The Role of the Onlooker" {_ Scrutiny, VI, 3 (1937), pp. 247-58_/-he l a t e r developed i n "Psychologi- c a l Processes i n the--Reading of F i c t i o n " / B r i t i s h Journal of Aesthetics, II 2 (1962), pp. 133-45_7- Harding pro- poses that i n these roles we are involved i n d i f f e r e n t modes of a c t i v i t y : PARTICIPANT * » SPECTATOR I } detached evert i n t e l l e c t u a l . . . . . .... . . perception evaluation a c t i v i t y comprehension c * In the par t i c i p a n t role we engage i n purposeful action i t - s e l f , a c t i v i t y to get p r a c t i c a l things done i n the world. But we also comprehend inte1Tectua1ly things around us, as (say) i n fig u r i n g out how a machine works. As well, we look at things and l i s t e n to them, not always to under- stand them i n t e l l e c t u a l l y , but sometimes to organize them at the l e v e l or perception; we study a phenomenon or an experience for i t s own sake (as i n looking at a stretch of landscape or studying the structure of a building) and make no attempt to "evaluate. In t h i s mode of perception We are primarily interested i n the pattern of things. Harding states that we attempt: " ... the e f f o r t simply to extend and refine our perceptual experience and to unify i t into increasingly complex and subtle wholes, 108 always at the l e v e l of perception." ("The Role of the Onlooker," p. 249). Functioning i n t h i s mode of per- ception , however, we often cease to appreciate the mere pattern of things. In looking at the pattern of a country side, for example, we might often make statements about how pleasant the view i s , or how i t reminds us of the place where we grew up. A subtle s h i f t has taken place: we have adopted the role of spectator. We are no longer concerned about establishing a coherent, ac- curate representation of the world. The mode of the spectator r o l e i s the mode of detached evaluation. Language and Learning, p. 104 D. W. Harding states i n "The Role of the On- looker": "The event we look on at from a distance a f f e c t s us, but i t i s set i n a wider context than the urgencies of p a r t i c i p a t i n g relationships usually permit us to c a l l up around events. And for t h i s reason, i f we could o b l i t e r a t e the e f f e c t s on a man of a l l occasions when he was 'merely a spectator' i t would be profoundly to a l t e r his character and outlook." (p. 253) ' Harding states i n "Psychological Processes i n the Reading of F i c t i o n " : "Detached and distanced evaluation i s sometimes sharper for avoiding the blurrings and bufferings that p a r t i c i p a n t action brings, and the spec- tator often sees the event i n a broader context than the participant can t o l e r a t e . " (p. 136) Language and Learning, p. 121 9 In "The Role of the Onlooker," Harding states: "Gossip i s the second method through which the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of experience reported or imagined -- may be communicated and evaluated." (p.257) 109 10 11 12 13 15 16 Language arid Learning, p. 116 Language arid Learning, p. 19 See Language arid Learning, p. 190 f f . Ibid., p. 21 Language arid Learning, pp. 105-106 The model i s large l y adapted from B r i t t o n . I have added the ' s c i e n t i f i c mode' and the ' a r t i s t i c mode'. 17 James N. Bri t t o n , "Response to Li t e r a t u r e , " Response to Li t e r a t u r e : The Dartmouth Seminar Papers, ed, James R. Squire (Champaign, 111,: N.C.T.E., 1968), p. 9 18 In "Psychological Processes i n the Reading of F i c t i o n , " Harding's intention i s " ... to view the read- ing of a novel as a process of looking on at a representa^ ti o n of imagined events, or, rather, of l i s t e n i n g to a description of them." (p.134) 19 Collingwood_has said:_ "The audience i s per- petually present to /the a r t i s t / as a factor i n his a r t - i s t i c labour; not as an anti-aesthetic factor, corrupt- ing the s i n c e r i t y of his work by considerations of repu- ta t i o n and reward, but as an aesthetic factor, defining what the problem i s which as an a r t i s t he i s trying to solve what emotions he i s to express — and what con- s t i t u t e s a solution of i t . The audience which the a r t i s t thus f e e l s as collaborating with himself may be a large one or a small one, but i t i s never absent. i a o An apparant contradiction of t h i s would be some- thing l i k e Paradise Lost, where Milton states his inten- t i o n i s to j u s t i f y God's way to man. Yet the f u l f i l l - ment (or f a i l u r e to do so) of t h i s intention i s not r e a l l y why we appreciate Milton's epic. Discussions of l i f e may include, paradoxically, events which are c l e a r l y not possible i n r e a l i t y — fanta- s i e s . "In a l l forms of fantasy," states Harding, "whe- ther dreams, day-dreams, private musings or make-believe play, we give expression to p e r f e c t l y r e a l preoccupations, fears, and desires, however bizarre or impossible the imagined events embodying them." ("Psychological Pro- cesses i n the Reading of F i c t i o n , " p. 136) Harding elaborates; "The 'discussion' may seem a one-sided a f f a i r since the reader i s unable to answer back. But he i s none the less active i n accepting or rejecting what the author asserts. In the f i r s t place, the author o f f e r s what he claims to be p o s s i b i l i t y of experience; the reader may i n e f f e c t say 'No: that action of the hero i s inconsistent with what he has said or done before; that monster of i n i q u i t y i s n ' t humanly possible; that sudden repentence could never have hap- pened ... '• Secondly, the author conveys what he re- gards as appropriate attitudes towards events, charac- ters and actions. He i s constantly <— but of course t a c i t l y — saying: 'Isn't t h i s e xciting ... He's a t t r a c t i v e , i s n ' t he ... Wasn't that t r a g i c ... Isn't t h i s moving ...?' Again the reader accepts or rejects the implied assessments." (Ibid., pp 139-40) " Britton's ultimate claim holds for poetry as well: "spectator role a c t i v i t y i s primarily assimilative i n function. Freed from the demands made upon us as participants i n the world's a f f a i r s , we are able to take more f u l l y into account our experience as a whole. To put the same point rather d i f f e r e n t l y , even where a poet may focus narrowly upon some tiny p a r t i c u l a r such as a snowflake, yet i t i s with the whole of himself that he 11BL looks. This item of his experience becomes as i t were a small peephole through which we can see a great deal of his personality. A concern with the world-as'-I-have- known-it, with my t o t a l representation, i s e s s e n t i a l l y an assimilative a c t i v i t y — a digestive a c t i v i t y , i f the crude figure can be accepted." ("The Role of Fantasy," p.- 42) Also, Langer states: "Every successful work of l i t e r a t u r e ... i s an i l l u s i o n of experience. I t always creates the semblance of mental process — that i s , of l i v i n g thought, awareness of events and actions, memory, r e f l e c t i o n , etc. Yet there need not be any person i n the v i r t u a l world who sees and reports. The semblance of l i f e i s simply the mode i n which v i r t u a l events are made." (Feeling and Form, p. 245) Although there i s an obvious difference between l y r i c poetry (say) and the novel, Langer suggests the difference i s i n rhetoric not i n kind: "The v i r t u a l history that a l y r i c poem creates i s the occurence of a l i v i n g thought, the sweep of an emotion, the intense experience of a mood ... The r h e t o r i c a l form / " i n l y r i c expression_7 i s a means of creating an impersonal sub- j e c t i v i t y , which i s the peculiar e x p e r i e n t i a l i l l u s i o n of a genre that creates no characters and no public events." (pp. 259-60) Language and Learning, p. 177 Brit t o n adopts the notion of v i r t u a l experience from Langer. One of Langer's basic tenets i s that a l l works of art create i l l u s i o n s of r e a l i t y . " A l l forms i n ar t , " she says, " ... are abstracted forms: Their con- tent i s only a semblance, a pure appearance, whose func- t i o n i s to make them, too, apparent — more f r e e l y and wholly apparent than they could be i f they were exempli- f i e d i n a context of r e a l circumstance and anxious i n - terest. I t i s i n t h i s elementary sense that a l l art i s abstract. Its very substance, q u a l i t y without prac- t i c a l s ignificance, i s an abstraction from material 112 existence." (Feeling and Form, pp. 50-51) Thus, she says, i n l i t e r a t u r e the poet " ... uses discourse to create an i l l u s i o n , a pure appearance, which i s non- discursive symbolic form." (p. 211) The discursive forms of language when used i n l i t e r a t u r e become, i n a sense, transparent i n order to f a c i l i t a t e the poetic iTIusion. "The experiences of events i n our actual l i v e s , " says Langer, are fragmentary, transient, and often i n d e f i n i t e , l i k e most of our experiences — l i k e the space we move i n , the time we f e e l passing, the hu- man and inhuman forces that challenge us. The poet's business i s to create the appearance of 'experiences,' the semblance of events l i v e d and f e l t , and to organize them so they constitute a purely and completely expe- rienced r e a l i t y , a piece of v i r t u a l l i f e . " (p.212) The key to understanding a r t , for Langer, l i e s i n the p r i n c i p l e that we are perpetually constructing a sense of wholeness i n our world; the work of art e l i c i t s and accentuates t h i s sense of wholeness. Thus, a statue, to i l l u s t r a t e from the p l a s t i c arts, creates i t s own three-dimensional universe by creating the i l l u s i o n of wholeness, of v i r t u a l k i n e t i c volume, out of the i n f i - n i t y of volume around i t ; i t makes tactual space v i s i b l e . The p l a s t i c arts, Langer says, create the primary i l l u s i o n of v i r t u a l space. The primary i l l u s i o n of l i t e r a t u r e , she says, xs v i r t u a l experience. Just as language i s the dynamic symbolism of discursive thought, so, i n art, i t has the a b i l i t y to represent experience intimately, i n f a c t , create the i l l u s i o n of experience. "Every successful work of l i t e r a t u r e , " states Langer, "... > always creates the semblance of mental process — that i s , of l i v i n g thought, awareness of events and actions, memory, and r e f l e c t i o n ... " (p. 245) Language arid Learning, p. 103 Language and Learning, p. 117 28 Ibjd., p. 116 113 2 9 'Response to Literature," p. 5 30 31 32 Ibid. , pp:~ .4-5 Ibid., p. 5 Language and Learning, p. 214 33 Langer, i n claiming that any successful, poem i s a non-discursive symbolic form, claims insistence upon the extractable meaning of a piece of l i t e r a t u r e i s caused by a confusion i n r e a l i z i n g that the a r t i s t has used l i n g u i s t i c (discursive) forms as a medium to create a non-discursive symbol. "The natural r e s u l t of the confusion between discourse and creation," she states, ' i s a p a r a l l e l confusion between actual and v i r t u a l ex- periences. The problem of "Art and L i f e , " which i s only of secondary importance for the other a r t s , becomes a central issue i n l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m . " This confusion has implicated l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m i n what Langer charac- t e r i z e s as a "welter of morals and p o l i t i c s , r e l i g i o n and modern psychiatry." (Feeling and Form, pp. 234-235) 34 Language and Learning, p. 117 35 "Response to Literature," pp.9-10 3 6 For an in t e r e s t i n g t h e o r e t i c a l a p p l i c a t i o n of Britton's c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of language use involving spe- c i f i c works of l i t e r a t u r e , see the second chapter, "The Modes of Discourse," of a d i s s e r t a t i o n by Arthur Applebee /"The Spectator Role: Theoretical and Developmental Studies of Ideas about and Responses to Li t e r a t u r e , with U S Special Reference to Four Age Levels, unpublished disser ta t i o n (The University of London, 1973) .y 115 BIBLIOGRAPHY Applebee, Arthur N. The Spectator Role: Theoretical and Developmental Studies of Ideas about arid Responses to Literature, with Special Reference to Four Age Levels, unpublished d i s s e r t a t i o n . University of London, 1973. Barthes, Roland. "An Introduction to the S t r u c t u r a l i s t Analysis of Narrative." New L i t e r a r y History. VI, 2 (1975), 237-72. _______ "The S t r u c t u r a l i s t A c t i v i t y . " The Structuralists:: From Marx to Levi-Strauss• ed. Richard T. DeGeorge and Fernande M. DeGeorge. Garden City, New York: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1972, 148-54. Booth, Wayne C. The Rhetoric of F i c t i o n . Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1970. Bransford, J, D., Barclay, J, R., and Franks, J, J . "Sentence Memory: A Constructive Versus Inter- pretive Approach." Cognitive Psychology. I l l (1972), 193-209. Britto n , James N, Language arid Learning. London: Pelican Books, 1972. "Response to Literature.'.? Response to Lite"ra"ture: The Dartmouth Seminar Papers ed. James R. Squire. Champaign, 111: N.C.T.E.; 1968, 3-10. _________ "The Role of Fantasy." English i n Education. V, 3 (1971)., 39-44. 116 Dewey, John. Art As Experience. New York: Capricorn Books, 1958. E l i o t , T. S. "Hamlet." Selected Essays. London: Faber and Faber Ltd., 1934, 141-46. Fish, Stanley. "Literature i n the Reader: A f f e c t i v e S t y l i s t i c s . " Self-Consuming A r t i f a c t s : The Experience of Seventeenth Century L i t e r a t u r e . Berkeley: The University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1972, 383-427. Harding, D.W. "Considered Experience: The In v i t a t i o n of the Novel." English i n Education. I (Summer, 1967), 7-15. ______ Experience Into Words: Essays on Poetry. New York: Horizon Press, 1964, 163-74. . "Psychological Processes i n the Reading of F i c t i o n . " B r i t i s h Journal of Aesthetics. I I , 2(1962), 133-47T ' ' "Response to Lite r a t u r e : The Report of the Study Group." Response to L i t e r a t u r e : The Dartmouth Seminar Papers. ed. James R. Squire. Champaign, 111: N.C.T.E., 1968, 11-29. . "The Role of the Onlooker." Scrutiny. VI, 3(1937), 247-58. Holland, Norman N. The Dynamics of L i t e r a r y Response. New York: Oxford University Press, 1968. 117 Iser, Wolfgang. "Indeterminacy and the Reader's Response i n Prose F i c t i o n . " Aspects of Narrative. ed. J. H i l l i s M i l l e r . BerKeiey: -rne university of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1972, 1-45. ________ "The Reading Process: A Phenomenological Approach." New L i t e r a r y History III (1972), 279-99. Kelly, George A. A Theory of Personality: The Psychology- of Personal Constructs. New York: W. W. Norton and Company, Inc., 1963. Langer, Susanne K. Feeling and Form: A Theory of Art Developed From Philosophy i n a New Key. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1958. ' ' . Philosophy i n a New Key: A Study i n the Symbolism of Reason, Rite, and Art. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1957. Lerner, Laurence. The Truest Poetry: An Essay on the Question What i s Literature?. London: Hamish Hamilton, 1960. Poulet, Georges. "Phenomenology of Reading." Issues i n Contemporary L i t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m , ed. Gregory T. P o l l e t t a . Boston: L i t t l e , Brown, and Co., 1973, 103-18. Sapir, Edward. "Language." Culture, Language, and Personality. Berkeley: The University of C a l i f o r n i a Press, 1964, 1-44, S l a t o f f , Walter J. With Respect to Readers: Dimensions Of L i t e r a r y Response. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1970. 11'8 Wimsatt, W. K. "The A f f e c t i v e F a l l a c y . " The Verbal Icon: Studies i n the Meaning of Poetry. Lexington, Ky: The University Press of Kentucky, 1954, 21-39.

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