By Joseph Frank
The belief of Spatial shape comprises the vintage essay that brought the concept that of "spatial form" into literary dialogue in 1945, and has due to the fact that been permitted as one of many foundations for a thought of contemporary literature. it truly is right here reprinted in addition to later reconsiderations, one in every of which solutions its significant critics, whereas the second one areas the idea when it comes to Russian Formalism and French Structuralism. initially conceived to elucidate the formal experiments of avant-garde literature, the assumption of spatial shape, while put during this wider context, additionally contributes importantly to the principles of a basic poetics of the literary textual content. additionally incorporated are comparable discussions of André Malraux, Heinrich Wölfflin, Herbert learn, and E. H. Gombrich.
New fabric has been extra to the essays within the kind of footnotes and postscripts to 2 of them. those both illustrate the continued relevance of the questions raised, or supply Frank's more moderen reviews at the subject.
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Additional resources for The Idea of Spatial Form
E. Hulme, one of the few writers in English to have seriously concerned himself with the problem of form in literature, turned to this group for guidance; and we can do no better than to follow his example.
In the first four chapters we are introduced to each of the important persons-Felix Volkbein, Nora Flood, Robin Vote, Jenny Petherbridge, and Dr. O'Connor. The next three chapters are, for the most part, long monologues by the doctor, through which the developments of the earlier chapters begin to take on meaning. The last chapter, only a few pages long, has the effect of a coda, giving us what we have already come to feel is the only possible termination. And these chapters are knit together, not by the progress of any action-either narrative action or, as in a stream-of-consciousness novel, the flow of experience-but by the continual reference and cross reference of images and symbols that must be referred to each other spatially throughout the time-act of reading.
And the narrator decides to dedicate the remainder of his life to recreating these experiences in a work of art. This work will differ essentially from all others because, at its root, will be a vision of reality refracted through an extratemporal perspective. This decision, however, should not be confused with the Renaissance view of art as the guarantor of immortality, nor with the late nineteenth-century cult of art for art's sake (though Proust has obvious affinities with both traditions, and particularly with the latter).