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Allen Tate and the Metaphysics of Metaphor

Allen Tate and the Metaphysics of Metaphor Allen Tate and the Metaphysics of Metaphor by Anthony Lombardy “But we shall not know the world by looking at it; we know it by looking at the hovering fl y.” — Allen Tate, “The Hovering Fly,” 117 I. The Challenge of the Chicago Criticism John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate both claimed that poetry is a form of knowledge. It is the knowledge of life as a whole, a kind of knowledge independent of and irreducible to other kinds of knowledge. Such views are implicit in early and evocative statements like Ransom’s claim that the metaphysical poetry of the seventeenth century “had the courage of its metaphors” (The World’s Body 137), as well as in Ransom’s responses to the Chicago critics, but Tate was more insistent than Ran- som in these “knowledge” claims, and focused them on the importance of metaphor. Among all the disputants in the collision between the Chi- cago critics and the New Critics, Allen Tate was the most diligent in as- serting Aristotle’s broad claims for the importance of poetry and meta- phor in human life and cognition. Tate’s reward was respectful attention among those who sympathized with his metaphysical concerns, which they discerned http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Allen Tate and the Metaphysics of Metaphor

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 37 (2) – May 16, 2005

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2005 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Allen Tate and the Metaphysics of Metaphor by Anthony Lombardy “But we shall not know the world by looking at it; we know it by looking at the hovering fl y.” — Allen Tate, “The Hovering Fly,” 117 I. The Challenge of the Chicago Criticism John Crowe Ransom and Allen Tate both claimed that poetry is a form of knowledge. It is the knowledge of life as a whole, a kind of knowledge independent of and irreducible to other kinds of knowledge. Such views are implicit in early and evocative statements like Ransom’s claim that the metaphysical poetry of the seventeenth century “had the courage of its metaphors” (The World’s Body 137), as well as in Ransom’s responses to the Chicago critics, but Tate was more insistent than Ran- som in these “knowledge” claims, and focused them on the importance of metaphor. Among all the disputants in the collision between the Chi- cago critics and the New Critics, Allen Tate was the most diligent in as- serting Aristotle’s broad claims for the importance of poetry and meta- phor in human life and cognition. Tate’s reward was respectful attention among those who sympathized with his metaphysical concerns, which they discerned

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: May 16, 2005

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