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Associationism and the Literary ImaginationFrom the Phantasmal Chaos$
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Cairns Craig

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748609123

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748609123.001.0001

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The Mythic Method and the Foundations of Modern Literary Criticism

The Mythic Method and the Foundations of Modern Literary Criticism

Chapter:
(p.181) 4 The Mythic Method and the Foundations of Modern Literary Criticism
Source:
Associationism and the Literary Imagination
Author(s):

Cairns Craig

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748609123.003.0005

This chapter takes a look at associationism and the basis of modern literary criticism. It first discusses the combination of associationism with an evolutionary perspective and the concept of ‘ideational continuum’. The chapter then considers the dependence of art on the activation of a memory, or engrams. It shows that the canon of art is also viewed as an ‘ideal continuum’ which can build relations between significant moments that have no reality in any original experience. The discussion also examines emotion, which invokes or provokes a number of associations. The chapter furthermore includes a diagrammatic form of a series of mutually interacting fibres of ‘stimulation’ which shows various kinds of associations with emotions. Poetic imagination, the symbolic structures of myth, and the recovery of ancient association are discussed.

Keywords:   modern literary criticism, evolutionary perspective, ideational continuum, engrams, ideal continuum, emotion, poetic imagination, symbolic structures, myth, ancient association

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