Grappling with the Gnomic: Modern and Medieval Concepts of Image and Connection
Gnawt nyth eryr ym blaendar. ac yg kyfyrdy gwyr llauar. golwc vynut at a gar.
("Typical an eagle's nest in the top of an oak, and in the tavern talkative men. Courteous the glance upon one who is loved.")
-- Gnodiau, RB
I have discussed the oral and aural aspects of early English and Welsh poetry, and here I will examine the controversial nature of the image. As readers today we are predominantly visual in our approach to reading poems, and there is consequently a special relationship between our desire for grammatical cohesion and the importance we place on visual point of view in any artistic depiction of supposedly "visual" things. W. J. T. Mitchell writes of the hegemony of artificial perspective in the visual arts in "the way it denies its own artificiality and lays claims to being a 'natural' representation of 'the way things really are.' "1 I maintain that our privileging of grammatical cohesion follows the same lines of hegemony and denial, in that both conjunction and hypotactic construction lend a hierarchy and system of relationships to the statement that is paralleled in the arrangement of images and events around a first-person point of view.____________________