Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 500. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2019-03-03 01:08:51+00:00 From: Francois Lachance
Subject: Nested? Willard and Company An appeal. Northrop Frye in the preface to the _Well-Tempered Critic_ (1963) writes that the lectures are intended to fit inside one another, like the boxes of Silenus . Frye references Silenus in a review of Robert Graves's collected poetry (Hudson Review vol. 9 no. 2 Summer 1956) but the Graves poem "Warning to Children" that Frye points towards although constructed in a most marvellous mise en abyme does not mention Sileni of any sort nor play on the inside-outside associations of Sileni boxes. Frye's reading characterizes the link between imbrication and the Sileni as a theme. The association of Sileni boxes and nesting appears throughout Frye's career. It is also found in one of the notebooks from the early 1970s where Frye remarks "Also Egyptian is the boxes-of-Silenus mummy cases, of one inside another: Rabelais." But there is no mention of nesting in Rabelais (Preface to Gargantua). Nor in Erasmus. Nor in Plato. My quandary: where does Frye get the image of nesting boxes? What can account for the leap from a multiplicity of boxes to nesting? I have also located another reference to nesting Sileni: in Charles L. Griswold, Jr. _Adam Smith and the Virtues of Enlightenment_ (1999) describing his own work with the figure of nesting Sileni: "my discussion here will resemble a series of Sileni, one nested inside the next." Andrew Ford in "Alcibiades's Eikon of Socrates and the Platonic Text: Symp. 215a-222d" in _Plato and the Power of Images_ (2017) has a pointed aside: "There is no archeological evidence for anything like the nested 'Russian Dolls' we may picture to ourselves." Frye's figure of the nested Sileni is of course an instance of a model of text at work in generating readings. One that remains for me opaque. I would be grateful to anyone who could enlighten me as to the origins of the connection between Sileni boxes and nesting. -- Francois Lachance Scholar-at-large http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~lachance https://berneval.blogspot.com _______________________________________________ Unsubscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted List posts to: firstname.lastname@example.org List info and archives at at: http://dhhumanist.org Listmember interface at: http://dhhumanist.org/Restricted/ Subscribe at: http://dhhumanist.org/membership_form.php
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