Essays Toward a Symbolic of Motives, 1950-1955
In August, 1959, an anxious William Rueckert wrote Kenneth Burke to ask, "When on earth is that perpetually 'forthcoming' A Symbolic of Motives forthcoming? Will it be soon enough so that I can wait for it before I complete my book [Kenneth Burke and the Drama of Human Relations]? If the Symbolic is not forthcoming soon, would it be too much trouble for you to send me a list of exactly what will be included in the book, and some idea of the structure of the book?" Burke replied, "Holla! If you're uncomfortable, think how uncomfortable I am. But I'll do the best I can. . . ." In the course of their long correspondence, the nature of the Symbolic--Burke's much-anticipated third volume in his Motivorum trilogy-vexed both men, and they discussed its contents often. Ultimately, Burke left the job of pulling it all together to Rueckert. Forty-eight years after they first discussed the Symbolic, Rueckert has fulfilled his end of the bargain with this book, Essays Toward a Symbolic of Motives, 1950--1955. ESSAYS TOWARD A SYMBOLIC OF MOTIVES, 1950¬-1955 contains the work Burke planned to include in the third book in his Motivorum trilogy, which began with A Grammar of Motives (1945) and A Rhetoric of Motives (1950). In these essays-some of which appear here in print for the first time-Burke offers his most precise and elaborated account of his dramatistic poetics, providing readers with representative analyses of such writers as Aeschylus, Goethe, Hawthorne, Roethke, Shakespeare, and Whitman. Following Rueckert's Introduction, Burke lays out his approach in essays that theorize and illustrate the method, which he considered essential for understanding language as symbolic action and human relations generally. Burke concludes with a focused account of humans as symbol-using and misusing animals and then offers his tour de force reading of Goethe's Faust. About the Author KENNETH BURKE (1897-1993) is the author of many books, including the landmark predecessors in the Motivorum trilogy: A Grammar of Motives (1945) and A Rhetoric of Motives (1950). He has been hailed as one of the most original thinkers of the twentieth century and possibly the greatest rhetorician since Cicero. Paul Jay refers to him as "the most theoretically challenging, unorthodox, and sophisticated of twentieth-century speculators on literature and culture." Geoffrey Hartman praises him as "the wild man of American criticism." According to Scott McLemee, Burke may have "accidentally create[d] cultural studies." About the Editor William H. Rueckert, the "Dean of Burke Studies," has authored or edited numerous groundbreaking books and articles on Kenneth Burke, including the landmark study, Kenneth Burke and the Drama of Human Relations (1963, 1982). His correspondence with Burke was collected in Letters from Kenneth Burke to William H. Rueckert, 1959-1987 (Parlor, 2003). His most recent book is Faulkner From Within-Destructive and Generative Being in the Novels of William Faulkner (Parlor, 2004).
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Aegisthus Aeschylus aesthetic Agamemnon ambiguities amphisbaena analysis Aristotle Aristotle’s Athena attitude audience begin Burke Burke’s called Cassio catharsis character Chorus Clytemnæstra concerned connotations consider death Desdemona dialectical dramatic dramatistic entelechial Erinyes essay essence Ethan Ethan Brand explicitly Faust formula Furies Goethe’s Faust Gretchen guilt Hence human Iago Iago’s idea ideal imagery imitation instance Kenneth Burke kind language lilac lines linguistic literary logology lyric man’s material means Mephistopheles mother motion murder nature negative notable one’s Oresteia Orestes Othello passage patricidal perfect play plot poem poet poet’s poetic poetry principle purely realm recall reference relation rhetorical ritual Roethke Roethke’s role scene sense sexual sheer social song sparagmos spirit stage stanza Stephen’s stichomythia stress symbol-using symbolic action Symbolic of Motives talk theme things Thyestes tion tragedy tragic transcendence transformed trilogy variant Walpurgis Night whereas whereby Whitman word Zeus
Page 18 - When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished : and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
Page 282 - Take but degree away, untune that string, And, hark! what discord follows; each thing meets In mere oppugnancy: the bounded waters Should lift their bosoms higher than the shores, And make a sop of all this solid globe: Strength should be lord of imbecility And the rude son should strike his father dead...
Page 176 - O curse of marriage, That we can call these delicate creatures ours, And not their appetites! I had rather be a toad, And live upon the vapor of a dungeon, Than keep a corner in the thing I love For others
Page 92 - ... the image of Divine Maternity, which so many illustrious painters have vied with one another to represent ; something which should remind him, indeed, but only by contrast, of that sacred image of sinless motherhood, whose infant was to redeem the world.
Page 35 - Yes, the newspapers were right, snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen, and farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves.
Page 223 - Shakespeare included, are poisonous to the idea of the pride and dignity of the common people, the lifeblood of democracy. The models of our literature, as we get it from other lands, ultramarine, have had their birth in courts, and bask'd and grown in castle sunshine; all smells of princes
Page 81 - Laughter, when out of place, mistimed, or bursting forth from a disordered state of feeling, may be the most terrible modulation of the human voice. The laughter of one asleep, even if it be a little child, the madman's laugh, the wild, screaming laugh of a born idiot, are sounds that we sometimes tremble to hear and would always willingly forget. Poets have imagined no utterance of fiends or hobgoblins so fearfully appropriate as a laugh.