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Extra info for Image and Concept: Mythopoetic Roots of Literature (Sign Text Culture - Studies in Slavic and Comperative Semiotics , Vol 2)
But it seemed to me the way to do this was to close my eyes. ”52 Freidenberg’s intuitive method was often compounded by lack of access to scholarly materials. Of her youth she writes that “books were never my companions. ”53 While her early works are copiously annotated, the Introduction to the Theory of Ancient Folklore (written in blockaded Leningrad) and Image and Concept (written after Freidenberg left the University) lack any scholarly apparatus because Freidenberg had no access to scholarly works.
On the one hand, it is considered completely the same kind of artistic literature as they think any literature had to be and always was. Created in an age of developed concepts, such a literature differs from ours only in its themes and in a degree of incompleteness. On the other hand, however, Classical literature is also considered religious, no less so than that of the ancient East. The modernizers have also made Greece and Rome into states of the modern type; in speaking of the Classical period they paint a ready-made picture of democracy or monarchy, republic or empire with our contemporary forms of class struggle.
Freidenberg discovers a whole range of related image forms: the balagan with its showman who pulls the curtain aside to reveal a spectacle; the mystery which culminated in the revelation of a shining object, a “wonder to behold;” the circus magician who makes objects appear and disappear; riddles, with their concealment and revelation of the solution; scenes of opening and revelation (both physical and eschatological) in tragedy, comedy, Homer. These ideas help explain the connections between Socrates in the Symposium and the buffoon/sage: Socrates is ugly on the outside, a shining divinity within just like the statuette sileni which opened to reveal the shining gold figure of a god.
Image and Concept: Mythopoetic Roots of Literature (Sign Text Culture - Studies in Slavic and Comperative Semiotics , Vol 2) by FRIEDENBERG