Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 32, No. 509. Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London Hosted by King's Digital Lab www.dhhumanist.org Submit to: email@example.com Date: 2019-03-05 02:40:28+00:00 From: Francois Lachance
Subject: Re: [Humanist] 32.500: Frye & nested boxes? Willard and Company A possible solution. I had observed: > 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. In rereading the instances where Frye mentions the Sileni boxes (as either "theme" or "image"), I see what I had missed: the reference is always to Rabelais. So this called for a more careful reading of the Prologue to Gargantua in English. Because of Frye's repeated references, Rabelais was the key. Although one doesn't find direct reference to nesting Sileni boxes, one does encounter in the Prologue to Gargantua the mention of onion, the peel to be exact, and from this emblematic vegetable might we assume the notion arose of layer upon layer upon layer? And hence to nested boxes? (Have we here an example of how test the reading of a keyword in context or how best to judge the extent of the scope of a metaphor?) [quote] [...] Just such another thing was Socrates. For to have eyed his outside, and esteemed of him by his exterior appearance, you would not have given the peel of an onion for him, so deformed he was in body, and ridiculous in his gesture. He had a sharp pointed nose, with the look of a bull, and countenance of a fool: he was in his carriage simple, boorish in his apparel, in fortune poor, unhappy in his wives, unfit for all offices in the commonwealth, always laughing, tippling, and merrily carousing to everyone, with continual gibes and jeers, the better by those means to conceal his divine knowledge. Now, opening this box you would have found within it a heavenly and inestimable drug, a more than human understanding, an admirable virtue, matchless learning, invincible courage, unimitable sobriety, certain contentment of mind, perfect assurance, and an incredible misregard of all that for which men commonly do so much watch, run, sail, fight, travel, toil and turmoil themselves. François Rabelais translated by Thomas Urquart [/quote] The proximate image of the onion likely lodged itself in memory and the subsequent application (1956) of the "theme" by Frye to Graves's poem ("Warning to Children") cemented the association that we find decades later in the notebooks (1970-72) in the link he makes between Egyptian sarcophagi and Sileni boxes. Further comment: although "peel" gives rise to the notion of layer, the French "copeau d'oignon" is more like a sliver or shaving and less connected to the image of a layer as to that of a piece. I must admit that the primary reason the nested reference caught my attention in my reading of Frye was the lively discussion on Humanist about content objects and their relations -- what it might mean to be nested... -- 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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