Eras & Modes in English Poetry

By Josephine Miles | Go to book overview

CHAPTER TWELVE
THE RESOURCES OF LANGUAGE

LET ME suggest some possible connections between the selective modes discerned in this study and the further implicative powers of language, from three main points of view.

For the past three centuries we have been stressing an associationist psychology of language, emphasizing the range from image to concept, from concrete to abstract reference, from denotation to connotation in the literary senses of these terms as label and symbol. Art in its distinction from science, and poetry in its distinction from prose, have been seen to use language as concrete characteristically, to work at the image and symbol end of the scale, since the eye is the avenue to the heart, and sensation develops through association into significance. Dryden was one of the first to treat the image as the heart of poetry; Wordsworth's triad was "thoughts, feelings, images"; and still today the term poetry calls up first the term imagery, for Imagists, Symbolists,

-203-

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