1. While a temporary suspension of lexical questions may clarify certain analyses of linguistic structures, no utterance can be handled, even in its structure, as though it were content-free. As Charles J. Fillmore says (Davidson and Harmon, p. 21), “given a full grammatical description of a sentence, with complete semantic descriptions of the lexical items it contains, it should be possible to ‘compute’ the full semantic description of the sentence, including, of course, information about what its utterers must presuppose to be true, in-eluding its utterers’ imputations of presuppositions to individuals described or referred to in the sentence.” The last provisos would entail giving not just a sociological or anthropological description of a speaker, but also the entire fabric of possible and actual response, conscious and unconscious, including also the area with which myth deals, the sacred. Further, as Searle says (Harman, pp. 27, 29), “What is the string of symbols that comes out of the semantic component supposed to represent or [to] express in such a way as to constitute a description of the meaning of a sentence? . . . either the readings are just paraphrases, in which case the analysis is circular, or the readings consist only of lists of elements, in which case the analysis fails because of inadequacy. . . . The glue that holds the elements together into a speech act is the semantic intentions of the speaker.”
2. The Greeks connected the discovery of fire with a wide range of technical procedures, in the “Democritean” tradition that later Tzetzes centered on the figure of Prometheus (Thomas Cole, esp. pp. 20-21). Another such figure is Phoroneus, hero of the Phoronis, a lost Argive epic (Huxley, pp. 3 Iff); Phoroneus is the first man and a smith.
3. Aristotle, Politics, 1326b, 2-26.
4. Plato still defines “the knowable” in terms of syllable (sullabe) rather than letter (stoicheion) (Theatetus 203c). For Aristotle, however, the term for letters is adapted for application to constituent elements of any sort, stoicheia, a usage Plato himself verges on for stoicheia (Timaeus, 48).
1. LÉVI-STRAUSS, MYTH, AND THE NEOLITHIC REVOLUTION
1. In Cook (6), I have expanded these remarks into a more particular critique of Lévi-Strauss’s Mythologiques.
2. Leaving out the sacred provides Lévi-Strauss with a very considerable gain in coherence and focus, even though he obviously feels, and argues, that “the sacred” is just a term too plenary, with too many senses, for signification. In Lévi-Strauss’s view, terms like mana falsely pretend to cover the in-explicability and centrality of the processes of social explanation. As Girard says (p. 335),
Tant que le sens ‘se porte bien,’ le sacré est absent; il est hors de la structure. L’ethnologie structurale ne le rencontre pas sur son chemin. Le structuralisme fait disparaître le sacré. Il ne faut pas lui reprocher cette disparition. Elle constitue un progrès réel car, pour la première fois, elle est complète et systématique. Même si elle s’ accompagne d’un parti pris idéologique, elle ne résulte aucunement de lui. Le structuralisme constitue un moment négatif mais indispensible dans la découverte du sacré. (Insofar as the sense “is in good shape”, the sacred is absent; it is out of the structure. Structural ethnology does not encounter the sacred on its path. Structuralism makes the sacred disappear. We must not reproach it for this disappearance. It constitutes real progress for, for the first time, it is complete and systematic. Even if it is accompanied by an ideological parti pris, it derives in no way from that. Structuralism constitutes a moment negative but indispensable in the discovery of the sacred.)
This argument would presumably be extrapolable to cover Girard’s own profound, but too exclusively mythic, enterprise, in which the evasion of violence explains all social processes, and notably religion (p. 439). “Seront dits religieux tous les phénomènes liés à la remémoration, à la commémoration et à la perpetuation d’une unanimité toujours enracinée, en dernière instance, dans le meurtre d’une victime émissaire.” (“All those phenomena will be called religious that are linked to a remembering, a commemorating, or a perpetuation, of a unanimity always rooted, finally, in the murder of a scapegoat.”) What could be disputed would not be the correctness of this highly original and probing conclusion, but rather its exclusiveness, and the implied shrinking and negativization of the social processes, including depth-psychological ones, which he insists on defining primarily with reference to it.
3. Anthony Wilden’s comments are quite apposite here, that the doublebind oscillation described by Gregory Bateson becomes an unconscious repetition in Freud and Lacan (p. 3), from whom Lévi-Strauss seems at times to borrow, as in his distinctions, identical with Lacan’s, between the symbolic, the imaginary, and the real (OMT; p. 68).
4. Lévi-Strauss (9, pp. 139-73) himself accuses Propp of a confusion between history and context via a formalist’s confusion of form with content and abstract with concrete. In the process he points out the difference between the content-free phonemes which are combined to make words and the use by mythemes of material which already possesses content. Nevertheless, he himself oscillates between this view of the “words” used by mythemes, and the view that structural analysis reveals something that underlies a seeming content. The jaguar does tend to disappear into the functions assigned his significances in the oppositions of the tales where that animal-figure occurs.
Lévi-Strauss has, Wilden says (p. 239), “a preference for the static and homeostatic rather than for the dynamic and morphogenic.”
The formulae of Propp are modified by the Soviet folklorists who follow him, Nekludov, Meletinsky, and Segal (Maranda, 1974). In so doing they revise him in the direction of what amounts to type-clusters and motifs, implying a weakness in the deep structure of his sequences.
5. A striking illustration of the indissolubility of physical and spiritual elements in myth-systems is offered by the mudra diagram printed in Saunders (pp. 32-34).
While this is of course a fairly late diagram, the conjunction of physical and spiritual in mudra is traceable to the earliest stages of Hindu religious thought.
This Japanese diagram offers a maze of attributions for the fingers of both hands. Its repertoire of categories strikingly resembles Lévi-Strauss’s analyses in its fine-meshed and coordinated attributions, while differing from them in its thorough and detailed conjunction of the micro-physical and the spiritual.
We are offered in the analyses as well as in the natural groupings, oppositions of two (the left and the right hand), five (the five fingers of each hand) and ten (the two taken together). These are the very numbers that Lévi-Strauss finds are widely permuted in North American Indian classification and elsewhere (OMT, “Les decades”; pp. 269-309).
For each finger, in addition, there are seven significant positions, though only the number seven, repeated ten times or once for each of the fingers, does not enter into the reckoning of the groups of twos, fives, and tens. As in Lévi-Strauss and in myth systems generally the category “two,” the binary principle, is fundamental, here used to divide the “temporal reality” (left hand, moon) from “ultimate reality’’ (right hand, sun)—though even here the categories are differently organized from Western ones, and for “ultimate reality” is reserved the “outer” and “observation,” while “temporal reality” subsumes the “inner,” “contemplation,” and “blessedness.”
6. This vacancy or mere relationalism of analysis for the system of myth also continues to pose a problem for the semantics of natural language. As David Lewis says (pp. 169-70),
Semantic markers are symbols: items in the vocabulary of an artificial language we may call Semantic Markerese. Semantic interpretation by means of them amounts merely to a translation algorithm from the object language to the auxiliary language Markerese. But we can know the Markerese translation of an English sentence without knowing the first thing about the meaning of the English sentence. . . . The Markerese method is attractive in part just because it deals with nothing but symbols: finite combinations of entities of a familiar sort out of a finite set of elements by finitely many applications of finitely many rules. There is no risk of alarming the ontologically parsimonious. But it is just this pleasing finitude that prevents Markerese semantics from dealing with the relations between symbols and the world of non-symbols—that is, with genuinely semantic relations. Accordingly, we should be prepared to find that in a more adequate method, meaning may turn out to be complicated, infinite entities built up out of elements belonging to various ontological categories.
7. Lucretius’ arguments against the instantaneous origin of language still hold (De Rerum Natura, V, 1028-55): that the process of learning language, the necessity of getting it from a social context, and the impossibility of imposing such a strange invention on those with whom one would have to communicate, all indicate that the development would have to have been a gradual process. Bailey points out that Lucretius is developing notions of Epicurus that are “closely akin to modern theories,” in contradiction to the theory of Plato in the Cratylus (III, 1486-90).
2. THE LARGE PHASES OF MYTH
1. Bellah (p. 41), following Stanner on the Australian aborigines, characterizes such pre-Neolithic societies as “dreaming” the totality of their myth, asserting that the “participation” deduced by Lévy-Bruhl—and confined by him to the Australian aborigines on the criticism of Mauss—extends to all details of living. Bellah’s categories, “primitive,” “archaic,” and “historical,” though centered on religion rather than on exchanges between myth and language, share some features of my typology of periods. On the resistance of a “first-phase” mythology to contrastive definition, Neumann’s remarks are suggestive (I, 121):
To become conscious of oneself, to be conscious at all, begins with saying “no” to the uroboros, to the Great Mother, to the unconscious. And when we scrutinize the acts upon which consciousness and the ego are built up, we must admit that to begin with they are all negative acts. To discriminate, to distinguish, to mark off, to isolate oneself from the surrounding context—these are the basic acts of consciousness. Indeed, experimentation as the scientific method is a typical example of this process: a natural connection is broken down and something is isolated and analyzed, for the motto of all consciousness is determinado est negado. As against the tendency of the unconscious to combine and melt down, to say to everything “tat tvam asi” “that art thou”—consciousness strikes back with the reply “I am not that.”
2. The traces of likely Chinese influence on archaic Greece and even earlier (Butterworth) across the great Central Asian Plain, and the probability that North America was populated by Asiatic migrants across the Bering Strait, would provide the most difficult links in a chain connecting peoples, group by separate group, across the entire world, in the gradual migrations of Neolithic and post-Neolithic times. Such linkages would give a status of more than mere parallelism, and less than racial memory, to the predominant feminine deities of the Japanese and the Navajo, among others. Meletinsky (1979) provides additional evidence of a shared mythology between Siberian groups and Indians of the Pacific Northwest.
3. Plato (Menexenus 238 с) declares that woman imitates earth and not earth the woman, bringing the female half of humankind into a special relation with an encompassing Gaia. “By Hera’’ in Plato always accompanies statements of admiration (Dodds on Gorgias 448 d 5),
4. André Leroi-Gourhan (1, pp. 85-99) demonstrates that at all periods of cave wall decoration, male and female symbols, realistic or abstract, tend to be associated with each other, while animals tend not to have their sexual characteristics emphasized or even portrayed. At the same time there are no whole male figures in any distinguishable number to set beside the Venusses. Of the female symbols 91 percent are found at the central portion of the decorated walls, at the places where the cave enlarges, or else in alcoves and fissures. And female symbols, along with the aurochs and the bison assoeiable to them, occupy more than 90 percent of the most distinguishable wall surfaces. The horned dancer outlined on the wall at Trois Frères may well be in the service of the Mother Cult. In any case he does not offer any counter balance to the multiplicity of her manifestations. Still, a more complex possibility for interaction of male and female may be offered by the complicated positions of the humans outlined in the late Paleolithic cave drawings from Monte Pellegrino near Palermo, and by the marking of lunar periodicities deciphered by Marshak.
5. I owe a version of this idea to a lecture given by Curtis Bennett at SUNY Buffalo, Spring, 1971.
6. Of some 412 Paleolithic sites listed by Müller-Karpe, only 6 are in the Western Hemisphere, all of them in North America. All of them present finds too rudimentary for anything like the constructions abput the Paleolithic in the much richer remains from the Old World, though comparable flaking techniques are observable in the artifacts. But the sites hold only the brief remains of short stays during hunting expeditions. As Müller-Karpe says (p. 11), “Da die paläolithischen Funde Nordamerikas von kurzfristigen Jagdaufenthalten herrühren, enthalten sie häufig nur einen eng begrenzten Ausschnitt des der betreffenden Population bekannten Gerätebestandes.” (“Since the Paleolithic sites originate in short stays during hunting expeditions, they contain for the most part only a very limited selection of the implements known for the population in question.”) Lévi-Strauss, however, does distinguish between the Neolithic in Europe and that in the Western Hemisphere by pointing out that there is little or no domestication of animals to accompany agriculture in the latter (9, p. 390).
7. The notion of a “tribe” poses many difficulties, as set forth by Morton H. Fried (pp. 154-75). And yet it seems a convenient term for characterizing societies of a certain rudimentary sort that have not developed bureaucratic procedures with indirect staff-and-line authority systems. My second phase of the relation between language and myth, for example, I am arguing, is preserved under increasing social complexity. It would cut across Service’s three levels of sociocultural integration: the patrifocal band, the tribe (in his more particular use of the term), and the chief dom, persisting even into societies like that pictured in the Homeric poems where the chiefdom is already on its way towards becoming a kingdom.
8. The word I have rendered as “dispute,” neikos, neikeiein, has a repertoire of senses that puts many kinds of social strife under its heading, as Ad-kins (2, pp. 37-38) explains:
Neikeiein is used to characterise Nestor’s statement (Iliad 7.161) that not even the chieftains of the Greeks are willing to face Несtor; Euryalus’ remark that Odysseus does not look like an athlete, but a merchant (Odyssey 8.158); and a message sent from Zeus to Poseidon by Iris (Iliad 15.210). Now the message Zeus gave to Iris was (160ff): “Tell him to stop fighting and rejoin the other gods on Olympus, or go into the sea If not,” (163ff). . . .
Of these examples, the first appears to be a rebuke, the second an insult, and the third a sharp command combined with a threat. Yet all are neikeiein.
Nagy (2, pp. 109-10) codes the neikos of this passage into the interaction of the hero with his society. Empedocles later abstracts and universalizes this very term as a principle of dissension in the universe (Neikos), a counter force to the principle of unification (Philia).
9. Martin Pops traces a whole series of iconographie and ideological projections of labyrinths, from Paleolithic caves to modern pop puzzles, following Rachel Levy for the former.
10. Nardi (XII, glossing ‘l’mi son un che quando/amor mi spira’, noto, ea quel modo/ch’è dita dentro vo significando,” cites Richard of St. Victor on the necessity of totality to the presence of love (De Grad charity., I): “Aut totus (amor) intus est aut nusquam est . . . solus de ea digne loquitur qui, secundum quod cor dictat verba componit.״
3. HERACLITUS AND THE CONDITIONS OF UTTERANCE
1. Pavese, p. 272 (24 April 1944).
2. Jaeger would attribute the very attempt to define typoi peri theologias (Rep. 379a) “to the conflict between the mythical tradition and the natural (rational) approach” (2, p. 4).
3. Walter Burkert points out (1962, pp. 35ff.) that Aristotle criticized the numbers of Pythagoras and Plato as not being the same as those of a process of calculation (Rechenprozess); Aristotle calls them “not associable” (asymbletoi, Metaphysics 1080 A, 29, 1081 A, 1-2). “The relationship of these numbers to the mathematical ones remains uncertain.” Pythagoras confuses, Burkert says, the four functions he assigns to numbers: In his system they act as symbols of order, as points in a series, as determinations in space (the image of pebble-lots is used [psephoi]), and as a law of nature.
4. Among those who reserve their fullest rigor for the questions of “flux” and “fire” are Jean Bollack and Heinz Wismann, W.K.C. Guthrie, Charles H. Kahn, G.S. Kirk, M. Marcovitch, Karl Popper, Karl Reinhardt, Gregory Vlastos, and W.J. Verdenius.
Almost all of them attempt in some way to connect logos and flux or logos and fire. We may remain convinced that such a connection obtains, and yet we cannot define it in the face of such small overlap between any pair of these terms in the statements of Heraclitus we do have. Of some one hundred and forty-seven В fragments in Diels, only ten at most mention fire, and only five mention it outright; the larger total counts emendations, compounds (purkaie, prester), and verbs that imply fire (haptesthai). Of all those there is only one that mentions logos, В 31, and the connection is by no means firmly deducible in its exact effects there. There are at least eleven fragments where logos or its verb occurs, and another twenty-four mention such arguably relatable notions as hen, noos, onoma, gignosko, and eidenai. There is next to no mention, direct or indirect, of fire in all these thirty-five statements nor does any one of them mention the three flux fragments, nor is there any overlap at all between “flux” fragments and “fire” fragments. To use the terminology of modern information theory, this lack of overlap offers far too much “noise,” and far too little “redundancy” to offer a message; a ratio of 50 percent would usually be needed for defensible decoding, and the language here—though the ratios could be variously tabulated—offers on any tabulation only a minute fraction of that requisite ratio.
This verbal-phenomenological fact should stand as a massive caveat against those who would construct some specific physiological doctrine for Heraclitus as the supposed heir of the Milesians, whom he does not even mention. Moreover, as Cherniss points out (1935; p. 380), Plato never once mentions Heraclitus and fire. (Still, in a context where he will soon mention flux—hõs hoi sophoi phasin aei gar hapanta anõ te kai katõ rei [Philebus 43a]—Plato does touch on the doctrine of universal conflagration without mentioning Heraclitus specifically [29 b-с]. Moreover, harmonia, a notable term in Heraclitus, is introduced as an organizing principle shortly thereafter [31 a-d]).
Cherniss, like many others, makes a qualifying statement (p. 381), “Heraclitus did not distinguish between the sign and the thing signified; fire is both a token for exchange like gold in trade (fgt. 90) and is involved in change itself (fgts. 76, 126).” Kahn takes back what he gives away when he first distinguishes Heraclitus from the Milesians and then defines Heraclitus’ doctrine in what are really their terms. Karl Reinhardt says in a footnote (1959; 196n), “and finally I believe that in Heraclitus the world-fire generally plays a much more subordinate role than is usually supposed.” Kirk himself pauses before the hard facts (1974, p. 193), “Strangely enough, however, we do not find that Heraclitus used his discovery of the unity of opposites in any obvious way at any rate, to explain cosmological phenomena.” If so, what is strange is our trying to use Heraclitus’ views to do just that. M.L. West (1971) convincingly raises the whole question of the ascription of any doctrines to Heraclitus, though his skepticism throws out the baby with the bath water when he asserts, against the evidence of Heraclitus’ thrust as taken by antiquity and also against the very breadth of senses in the word logos, that there is no such thing as a logos doctrine in Heraclitus’ work.
5. Aristotle, De Mundo 5 396 b 20, and Strabo in Diels 22.A 3a.
6. Vlastos sees the reference to dike in В 80 especially as an echo of Anaximander, and В 30 as a criticism of his doctrine of eternal worlds, while the references to thunder and lightning combine Anaximander and Anaximenes. On the other hand Vlastos admits that Heraclitus is “ignored in Ionia” (p. 368), by Anaxagoras and Leucippus if arguably not by Parmenides and Empedocles. Walter Bröcker, in addition to the dike references (B 23, В 80, В 94, В 102), reasons on the basis of a single archaic word in В 126, that the references there to hot, cold, wet, and dry in transformational conjunction are quoted from Anaximander. All we can confidently assert here is that there is a large area of cosmological discourse which Heraclitus inherits from the Milesians and on which he very occasionally touches.
7. See von Fritz (1947) on this point, who cites Snell (1924). It is hard not to see in this aphorism an amplification of half of Archilochus’ statement (201 West), poll oid’ alōpēx, all’ echīnos hen mega. “The fox knows many things, the hedgehog one big thing.”
8. Liddell and Scott, sub voc.
9. To this it might be added that each figure differs from the other three: Pythagoras alone left a cult, Hesiod alone stays close to the Homeric tradition, Xenophanes alone complements a critical attitude towards the gods with a search for philosophical unity, and Hecataeus alone occupies himself in sober prose with presumably verifiable facts.
10. Vlastos, op. cit.
11. It may indeed be that those aphorisms were rank-ordered, or put into some other kind of systematic order. But they would have to be regarded as standing free whether they were rank-ordered or not. Otherwise we would be returning them to a form of the continuous discourse from which it was Heraclitus’ masterstroke to liberate them. If they were rank-ordered or ordered in some other kind of sequent argument—if Heraclitus were a sort of archaic Wittgenstein—then his book would be a uniquely anachronistic document. It would be hard, if not impossible, to find a parallel at any equivaient stage of any culture, to say nothing of Greek culture. Charles H. Kahn argues that the ambiguity of the word logos, together with the plausibility of there having been a doctrine, argues for an ordering of the aphorisms; and he proceeds not exactly to produce one, but to provide, as usual, a doctrine. Logos can mean, “on the one hand, a specific utterance, on the other hand, an orderly relationship between things which is reflected in discourse” (p. 192). But even the presence of these two (and many other) meanings in the word logos as used by Heraclitus does not argue for a stitching together of the aphorisms. Kahn’s point is logically neutral. The fact that logos sometimes means “gathering” or “ordering” does not imply that the doctrine of unification (B 32, hen to sophon) would have to be expressed in any utterance longer than a single discrete sentence. The absence of any unit even so large as a paragraph in the 147 В fragments we do possess is a considerable counter-argument in favor of the conventional view that the aphorisms stand free. The kind of elaborate rhythmic pattern that Deichgräber repeatedly finds in single aphorisms would also argue for their discreteness: in language a marking of phonological discreteness is also a marking of semantic discreteness. One could, in fact, on this principle, use Deichgräber’s analysis to substantiate the discreteness of the aphorisms, though not, as he implicitly does, to argue for the presence in them of a rhythmic pattern more marked than one would find in any well-formed and well-balanced sentences. Alternatively, if one argues for a continuous prose discourse which has somehow been broken up, only at most two or three of the existing 147 “fragments” have such a flow. For the others to have been preserved by chance as distinct and separable utterances would present a situation unparalleled by few if any writers in the whole history of the accidents of literary transmission.
12. Homer’s tendency to schematization, especially in the Iliad, is discussed in Cedric Whitman, and somewhat differently in Cook (1966).
13. On this point Robert Lowth and Samuel Levin are especially apposite. For reasons no doubt related to the emotional patterning of sound structures in language, there is a permanent tendency for a tradition of prose to develop itself on the assumption of a poetry that it is superseding or supplementing. As Lotman says of Russian literary history, “artistic prose developed on the basis of a defined poetic system, as its denial” (italics Lotman’s).
It would not be too much to say that all Western practice in prose could be deduced from Heraclitus. This is almost what Eduard Norden does, who locates in Heraclitus the beginnings of balanced rhetorical cola in prose. He then demonstrates how Gorgias may be seen as a specialized version of Heraclitus and goes on to derive all of Western rhetoric, ancient, medieval, and Renaissance, from Gorgias—when in fact he has done so from Heraclitus.
14. Timon of Phlius as cited by Diogenes Laertius, IX, 6 (Diels 22.A1). The word ainigma, it is worth noting, occurs first in Heraclitus’ slightly younger contemporary Pindar (fgt. 177).
15. As Gregory Vlastos (op. cit.) points out, palintropos is to be preferred to palintonos as the difficilior lectio, and the word is also repeated in Parmenides (B 6.9).
16. The identification of oracle with riddle is made twice in the Agamemnon: 1112, 1183.
17. Poetics, XXII 51.1458a. “The idea of a riddle is to fit the things said together in impossible combination. And it is not possible to do this according to the regular collocation of words, but it can be done according to metaphor, as Ί saw a man stick bronze on a man with fire,’ and the like.” (The answer is a cupping bowl.)
18. See Kranz. Comparable connections about В 93 are made by Uvo Hölscher. Homer, too, prefers the simile; Pindar will rely on metaphor.
19. The elenchic procedure may be said to harness negation in what Bollack and Wismann (18) call the “antiphrase”
G.E.R. Lloyd shows Heraclitus as using both polarity and analogy in combination (p. 96), “Two features of Heraclitus’ philosophy are especially important . . . (1) his apprehension of the analogy between different examples of opposition, and (2) his alleged violation of the Law of Contradiction.” Lloyd’s point (1) here has Heraclitus effectually cut across and comprehensively combine the two principles he so amply documents.
20. Bruno Snell begins to make such a distinction that implies an elenchos by stressing Heraclitus’ emphasis on opposites, remarking on Heraclitus’ point of departure from his own consciousness, “Heraklit geht bei seinem Denken aus von den Zuständen des eigenen Ich . . . hinaus projiziert” (1924; p. 135). Snell posits (1924, p. 141) a questioning in Heraclitus of the fit between word and thing, especially in В 15, В 32, and В 48. He thus says, suggestively —though this is still not fully an elenchos—“So ist denn die Spannung in dem Wortspiel wohl grösser als man auf den ersten Blick annehmen möchte” (143).
21. It is perhaps significant that the root lig (Pokorny, sub voc.), meaning “gather,” appears perhaps first in Greek rather than Sanskrit, its other early occurrences being in Old Persian, Albanian, Latin, and Anglo-Saxon. Guthrie (op. cit., pp. 420-24), lists eleven major senses for logos, all of which apply in some degree to Heraclitus: (1) anything said, (2) worth, (3) taking thought or holding a conversation with oneself, (4) reason, argument, (5) the real reason, (6) measure, (7) correspondence, relation, proportion, (8) general principle of rule, (9) the faculty of reason, (10) definition or formula (common in the fourth century but “difficult to pinpoint” in the fifth), (11) idiomatic periphrasis for “say” or other senses. Under each of these headings there is a considerable array of sub-senses, as also in the Liddell and Scott entry for the word, and more elaborately in a source Guthrie cites, Hans Boeder.
22. This is just the example Aristotle uses (Rhetoric 1407 b) when he criticizes as not euphraston, as though it were a minor stylistic fault of failing to “punctuate” (diastixai), this fundamental stylistic practise of Heraclitus. “. . . when the punctuation is hard, as in the writings of Heraclitus. For it is hard to punctuate Heraclitus’ writings, since it is unclear to which word another belongs, whether to the preceding one or to the following one, as at the beginning of his book; for he says, ‘The word being this always men are ignorant,’ where it is unclear whether ‘always’ should go with ‘being’ or with ‘ignorant’ in its punctuation.”
23. Kirk (1964; p. 398) offers four initial interpretations of this puzzling aphorism, (i) wisdom is separated from all men; (ii) wisdom is separated from all things; (iii) the wise (cf. hen to sophon mounon in fr. 32) is separated from all men; (iv) the wise is separated from all things.” His exclusions of i and iii are not finally convincing. Bollack and Wismann add the word “art” in their translation, offering a fifth interpretation, that the art of discourse (logous) is in question.
24. The Heraclitean simile always involves primarily a logical rather than a physical comparison, and by this practice it inverts that of the Homericsimile, wherein a physical comparison can always be detected (Cook, 1966, 98-106). Heraclitus uses similes much more often than Empedocles does, though Empedocles writes in verse; Walther Kranz counts only eleven in the much greater extant body of Empedocles’ work. Eberhart Jüngel demonstrates how fully Heraclitus works the logic of his comparisons.
25. Plato, Cratylus 402A; Diels 22.A6; also В 12, В 49a.
26. There are traces of a tradition that has Thales asserting the unity of opposites. Diogenes Laertius I, 35 (Diels 11.al) quotes him as saying “Death is not different from life,” the subject and proposition of Heraclitus В 62. Thales is also quoted as declaring night to be prior to “any single day.”
27. Evidence from vases and elsewhere as to the chthonic character of Dionysus is discussed in Jane Harrison, 404-411.
28. Jean Bollack, (1971, 67-120) distinguishes poets from theologians in glossing Aristotle Met. 983b27-984-a3, and points out that later in 1074d38-bl4 myth is distinguished from an earlier stage. “Erst dem Philosophen wird daher die Metapher als solche sichtbar.” (p. 95). However, with Heraclitus, we may say, the metaphor has become invisible rather than visible, and therewith so has the myth.
29. The Zeus of В 120 is an astronomical figure, “God of the bright sky” in A.B. Cook’s title phrase.
30. Rg Veda 2.12; 10.121, as cited in S.N. Kramer, Mythologies of the Ancient World, New York, 1961, 286.
31. Jane Harrison, p. 153. Herodotus (2.47) mentions an Egyptian pig sacrifice involving fire, which he says it is not fitting for him to tell.
32. W.K.C. Guthrie. I follow Bollack, however, in refusing to emend the text by inserting a “not” before kinoumenos, a reading which confuses Guthrie’s point.
33. Of theion and ethos as contrasted with anthropeion in В 78 and В 14, Shirley Darcus concludes “the human (anthropeios) and the divine (theios) were seen by Heraclitus as distinct but related states.”
34. Hoteo, a relative pronoun that goes with either or both alternatively, functions as a metalinguistic qualifier, like the repeated ekeinon in В 62.
35. Deichgräber (p. 483) goes so far as to say that akouein in Heraclitus’ usage amount to anagignoskein, “read.” His argument, however, rests on a fairly restrictive reading of BÍ and other fragments. Elsewhere Liddell and Scott does not attest akouein in the sense “read” before Polybius.
36. Diels 3.A2. What is said of Epimenides’ writings, allowing for the greater closeness to Homer implied in epikos, sounds somewhat like Heraclitus in its inclusion of mysteries and purifications, and its “enigmatic” form: “He wrote much epically, and in prose about certain mysteries and purification and other riddling matters.”
Epimenides was sometimes included in the list of the Seven Wise Men, most of whom were lawgivers, like Solon, the Bias of В 35, and the Hermodorus of В 121. Chadwick (I, p. 494) reminds us that “Written literature usually begins with the writing of the laws,” and he gives evidence from England, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, which could be amplified by the cases of Greece, Israel, Babylonia, and perhaps also the India of the Manavadharmshastra, the China of Confucius, and others.
37. Following the difficilior lectio, palintropos. See note 15 above.
38. Again the possibility of precise and complex alternate interpretation for Heraclitus’ aphorisms is illustrated by Flora R. Levin’s reading (personal communication) of the verbs in В 51 together with the lyre especially, ‘how what is different agrees with itself—has to do with the lyre; while ‘borne apart,’ etc., has to do with the bow. Heraclitus could be talking about the octave or harmonia (in the sense of Pythagoras), in which the ‘same’ note is emitted in a ‘different’ register. Thus A is ‘borne apart’ to Al like the contrary force of the bow string.
“Hence, in what way can a thing that is borne together be at the same time borne apart? Answer, a bow or lyre tuned to an octave (like Terpander’s) so:
*all in palintropos”
39. Plato, indeed, applies the principle of change much discussed among the followers of Heraclitus to their mode of utterance and argument (Thaeatetus, 179e-180b):
Theodorus . . . in Ionia the sect makes rapid strides; the companions of Heraclitus powerfully lead the chorus of the doctrine.
Socrates Then we are the more bound, my dear Theodorus, to examine the question from the foundation as it is set forth by themselves.
Theodorus Certainly we are. About these speculations of Heraclitus, which, as you say, are as old as Homer, or even older still, the Ephesians themselves, who profess to know them, no sooner talk about them than they are stung to madness. For, in accordance with their books, they are absolutely carried along; but as for dwelling upon an argument or a question and quietly asking and answering in turn, they can do that worse than anything; or rather, the determination of these fellows not to have a particle of rest in them is more than the utmost powers of negation can express. If you ask any of them a question, he will pull out, as from a quiver, little riddling utterances, and shoot them at you; and if you inquire the reason of what he has said, you will be hit by some other new-fangled word, and will make no way with any of them, nor they with one another; their great care is, not to allow of any settled principle either in their arguments or in their souls, conceiving, as I imagine, that any such principle would be stationary; for they are at war with the stationary, and do what they can to drive it out everywhere.
It may be that the term “souls” (psychas) and the metaphor of the bow are both ironic and oblique references to Heraclitus.
As a forerunner in the great philosophical tradition that Plato would transmit, Heraclitus has already performed upon mythic thinking a large share of the work that Walter Hirsch attributes to Plato, and his formulations (p. 167) could be applied to Heraclitus with little adjustment, “Die Schwierigkeit im Übergang zum Mythos ist für die Philosophie Piatons das Problem, ihn an den Logos zurückzubinden. Die Lösung dieser Aufgabe wird vorbereitet durch den Versuch, dem Logos das ihm Mögliche an Beweglichkeit abzuge-winnen—eine Denkweise, die im platonischen Entwurf Dialektik heisst.” (The difficulty in the transition to mythos is for Plato’s philosophy the problem, to connect it back to the logos. The solution of this task is prepared for in the attempt to win for the logos a maximum mobility—a mode of thinking that is called dialectic in Plato’s project.)
4. PINDAR: “GREAT DEEDS OF PROWESS ARE ALWAYS MANY-MYTHED”
1. All citations are from the edition of Snell (1964).
2. Here the “fourth labor among three” (60) probably refers to the whole system of traditional punishments, to Tantalus’ fellow offenders whom Pindar does not name in this ode, though he does elsewhere: Ixion (P. 1.21), Tityos (P.4.46, 90), and Sisyphus (0.13.52; fgt. 5). Pelops himself gives his name to the entire Peloponnesus, and the “six sons” mentioned but not named in the last clause about him before the present reference to his tomb could be related to the complex myths of other heroes whom Pindar also mentions elsewhere, however the list is given: Atreus, Thyestes, Pittheus, Alcothoos, Pleisthenes, Chrysippus (or Hippalkmos and Dias. Scholia, Drachmann, ad loc). Through Atreus and Thyestes we ultimately get the Trojan war, through Chrysippus the Theban legend, through Hippalkmos the voyage of the Argo.
3. Some scholars such as Bundy (p. 37), have read the passage, “one race of gods, one of men” as indicating separate races. If so, the “one mother” would be abrupt and the “wholly differentiating power” would lack its contrast. Again, Hesiod in the Works and Days (homothen, 106) stresses the common origin of Gods and Men.
4. David C. Young’s survey, “Pindaric Criticism,” shows that since Dissen’s work over a century ago the question of “unity,” of a central thread in an ode and the relation of individual myths, apophthegms, or even single words thereto, has been a persistent and dominant preoccupation of studies of Pindar. That a dynamic instability obtains of the relations between one myth and another in an ode, and between myth and victor, is attested to by such prolonged and various perplexities of interpretation.
5. Among those who discuss Pindar’s “ring composition” are Finley; Schadewalt, who speaks of “die oft bei Pindar zu beachtender ‘Ringkompositiorü der erzählenden Teile” (p. 308, n.l); L. Iliig; R.W.B. Burton; and David С. Young.
6. Metaphors about ships and voyages in Pindar’s work are extensive enough to have occasioned a book-length study: Jacques Péron, Les Images maritimes de Pindare. And he says (p. 23), “Pour Pindare la poésie est avant tout mouvement; ses odes, comme il le dit dans la IIe Isthmique, il ne les a pas faites pour qu’elles restent en place.”1
7. O.1.116; O.9.38; P.1.12; P.4.248; P.6.49; N.6.23; I.7.18; Pa.7B.20. Sophos=poet, P.3.113; I.1.45; Рa.18.3; O.1.9; P.9.78; P.10.22; I.8.47; Fgt. 35b.
8. Gildersleeve offers one example (pp. 301-302): “Who is the oak? Iason. But as Iason would be the type of Damophilos, Arkesilas would be Pelias, which is monstrous.”
9. P.5.14,55,102; also P.4.141, 255.
10. Farnell (ad loc, II, p. 182) calls the word “almost intolerable,” and says correctly that Wilamowitz’s defense of the text (p. 383, n.l) “lacks clearness.” There would, further, seem little justification for Wilamowitz’s assertion here: “chronos ist ja immer so zu sagen eine Linie, kairos ein Punkt.” Bowra rejects the repeated manuscript reading “chronon” for Bergk’s taming emendation, chloan, a word otherwise unexampled in Pindar.
The scholiast (Drachmann, II, 191) twice uses the word in explaining the four lines generally, but he does not specifically so gloss.
11. Nilsson (1906) came to the conclusion that secularism dominated the Pythian festival, “Uber die Pythien kann ich mich kurz fassen da die agonistische Bedeutung die religiose völlig verdrangt hat.”
12. Cook (1971, pp. 5-6). “So, in the myth to begin with, the emotion attendant on bringing together the general of the group and the particular of the individual reconciles, as merely differences of emphasis, such seemingly contradictory assertions about the function of myth as Freud’s insistence on the individual on the one hand (1955; p. 153) (“The myth is then the step by which the individual moves out of the psychology of the mass”) and Lévi-Strauss’ group-language definition of myth on the other (L-S 4, p. 36) (“Music exposes to the individual his own physiological roots; mythology, his social roots. One takes us in the guts; the other, if one may dare to say it, ‘in the group’ “).
13. Young (p. 122) elaborates Olympian 1 into a ten-fold circular pattern with exactly matching line-lengths for the corresponding sections of the ode —a pattern not congruent with the colametric structure.
14. The verbs are agallo (agalma) agamai, aglaizo, aineo and epaineo, amphaino, arnumai, atuzomai, boao, gegoneo, daidallo, daizo, dainumi, damazo, elelizo, elpomai, ereido, erizo, euchomai, thuio, iaino, kainumai, kamno, keladeo, klazo, kraino, maiomai, marpto, marnamai, nikao, olophuromai, horizomai, orthao, hormao, pertho, pelamai, piaino, ripto, saino, speudo, tarasso, teleo, and orouo, tello, timao, phaino, phrisso, cheo. All these verbs suggest a constantly energetic and creative action.
15. To the adjectives already listed may be added: habros, aidoios, aithon, hapas, atrekes, aphneos, bathus, dnopheros, exochos, eslos, euthus, eurus, euphron, zatheos, thama (adv.), thaumastos, thrasus, kalos, karteros, kleennos, kleitos, klutos, kraipnos, kratistos, labros, leukos, liparos, malthakos, megas, xanthos, obrimos, holos, oxus, orthos, peran (adv.), pikros, polus, potanos, potnia, saphes, tachus, trachus, phthoneros, philos, o/cws.
16. Detienne (1967) finds aletheia always entangled at this period in a context of myth.
17. Pindar touches here and there on the chthonic maternal deity who appears through Greece as Artemis, Cybele, Demeter, Persephone, and at one point in his work simply as “the Mother”: “But I wish myself to offer a prayer/To the Mother, the holy goddess whom maidens before my door/Sing at night, and with a prayer to Pan” (Pythian 3.77-79). Young believes (pp. 45ff) that this invocation to the Great Mother, as a substitute for Asklepius, is made because of her accessibility, rather than for some specific healing function—an interpretation which substantiates the comprehensiveness of her figure. The mention of Pan here preserves the association of Dionysus and related deities to a problematic female element in the Dionysiac procession, and in the birth and bearing of this god. And Demeter is linked with Dionysus at the beginning of Isthmian 5.(105); as the Great Mother Goddess with Pan (fgt. 96).
At another point Pindar wishes a group of Theban legendary heroines to make a night procession in honor to the shrine of a local goddess, Melia (Pythian.l1.1-16) with an emphasis on the feminine element that Méautis stresses (pp. 264-65). While, for example, Empedocles’ evocation of this chthonic deity (Katharmoi, В 128 Diels) is more prolonged and detailed than any Pindar offers us, Pindar’s very inclusions are significant in the light of the primarily, if not exclusively, male character of the athletic contests and celebrations. Pelias insults Jason by asking him “who of earth-born men (chamaigeneon) brought you forth from her hoary womb?” (Pythian 4.98), and we cannot speak here with Lévi-Strauss in his analysis elsewhere of chthonic overvaluation, either pro or con, but rather simply of a sensitizing to the terms. The Mother is linked with Pan in fgt. 96, and other references to her by that name occur in 0.7.38; N. 6.2; fgt. 80; and Dithyramb 2.9 (fgt. 70b). The cult figure of a goddess associated with trees whom we may seem to recognize from Minoan and Mycenean seals is evoked at P.4.74, of an oracle to Pelias “spoken at the mid-navel of the mother with fine trees (eudendreos).” Pindar names Demeter three times, Earth (Gaia) five, and Hera twenty-two—not to speak of the Muses (about sixty times).
The opening of Isthmian 5 addresses “Mother of the Sun, the Divine (Theia) of many names.’’ While this particular designation, Theia, is borrowed from Hesiod (Theogony 371), the term is vague, with a general and inclusive force which Wilamowitz (pp. 201-203) emphasizes. Farnell (1907, III, pp. 289-307) provides a large context in archaic Greece for the cult of a Mother Goddess.
G.L. Huxley points out a divergence between Homer (Iliad 5.370ff and 428) and Hesiod (Theogony, 353) as to Dione and the birth of Aphrodite, indicating an instability about origins. This instability is paralleled, in Hesiod, by an implicit instability of focus: the Erga offers a pattern for almost exclusively male enterprise, while the Eoiai, taken in antiquity to be Hesiod’s, is concerned exclusively with females.
18. 0.1.30; 0.2.50; N. 9.54; 7.5.21.
5. INQUIRY: HERODOTUS
1. George Thomson (1, p. 83), emphasizing the use of isocola in Gorgias and Heraclitus, links both through this formal practice to the ritual of the dirge. He says of Heraclitus “all the elements of his dialectic are embedded in primitive religion.”
2. Aristotle uses the word arrhythmon in connection with him (though verse echoes have been found in him at least since Demetrius ).
Here one must contradict Aristotle’s assertion that “Herodotus could be put into meters and he would be no less history with meter than without meters” (Poetics 1451 G.3).
Aristotle characterizes the paratactic style by quoting the opening of Herodotus, and his terms are suggestive for more than style (Rhetoric 1409a; 1404a):
The strung (paratactic) style is the old one: “Of Herodotus of Thurium’s inquiry this is the exposition” . . .
Since the poets in saying pleasant things by means of style thought they were providing a notion, in this way there came to be a poetic (prose) style, as that of Gorgias.
3. As Fritz Schulz says (p. 25), “Important legal acts were indeed recorded in writing as early as the Sixth Century B.C. (in Rome), but the writing was purely evidential, the record of an already fully accomplished legal act; at most the document might serve to simplify the spoken formula by being referred to in it as containing details . . . The same appears to hold of Greek law in pre-Hellenistic times.”
4. Aitia, a noun roughly meaning “cause” (where the adjective “aitios” in Homer means “guilty”), occurs in Pindar, Olympian 1.35, and here and there in the pre-Socratics, though not often before Democritus, unless Anaxi-mander’s doctrine as phrased by Plutarch (Diels 12.A10) be taken for the words of the early writer.
5. Choruses of women who utter rebukes (kertomioi) are also described in Herodotus 5.83.
6. On the question of what lurks under the story, Aristotle makes a distinction, unfortunately given honorific currency by Sidney and others in the Renaissance, that is quite simply too easy. He distinguishes between a historia that tells events as they happen and a poiesis that tells essential events as they might happen, poiesis telling the general and historia the particular:
From what has been said it is clear too that the poet’s job is not to tell what has happened but the kind of things that can happen, i.e., the kind of events that are possible according to probability or necessity. For the difference between the historian and the poet is not in their presenting accounts that are versified or not versified, since it would be possible for Herodotus’ work to be put into verses and it would be no less a kind of history with verse than it is without verses; rather the difference is this: the one tells what has happened, the other the kind of things that can happen. And in fact that is why the writing of poetry is a more philosophical activity, and one to be taken more seriously, than the writing of history; for poetry tells us rather the universals, history the particulars.
(.Poetics 1451b 2-3)
Translated by Gerald F. Else
Aristotle makes this last remark to amplify what he had just said about Herodotus’ being characterized by content and not by metrical form. Yet “the universals” and “the particulars” as well as “the kind of things that can happen” are either so obvious as distinctions—and themselves so universal—or so particularly bound up with the terms of Aristotle’s system, that they cannot serve other than to beg the question of what might lurk under the story. In any case, as Longinus implicitly reminds us, Herodotus is also poetic; and we know that Homer is also historical. And so the crucial sanctimonious remark embedded in this discussion, “therefore poiesis is both more philosophical and nobler than historia,” is not only gratuitous but obscures important points.
7. See note 21, chapter 3. Related logical difficulties make the word logioi hard to interpret (Thomas Cole, p. 58, n.34).
8. Powell, sub voc.
9. The case of Cleobis and Biton, in its references to the religion of a mother deity, must contain for the modern anthropologist echoes of the sort of mother-cult, Cybele and other, on the terrain of Asia Minor rather than Argos, where the cart in which the goddess rides is drawn or at least worshipped by enfeebled male devotees. There is also for us the psychoanalytic pattern of a sibling rivalry totally sublimated, to the death, in a superego service to the mother. And it is a fact, shocking to us if not to Solon and Herodotus, that the mother was only overjoyed (perichares) and the other Argive women only congratulated her on her good fortune in having such sons. But of course these extrapolations into myth or depth psychology are not possible in Herodotus, even so much as they would be in Homer, because this story exists as an exemplum, coordinate with and complementary to the story of Tellus (one father, one mother; two sons, two daughters).
10. Benardete trenchantly arrays the detail of this comparison, and I am here generally following his lead.
11. The Greeks developed early a curiosity about the specific origins of their peoples, as distinct from the common tribal question about the origin of humanity in general. The five ages of man in Hesiod’s Erga try to satisfy this curiosity with a systematic account, and the question is touched on by Pindar and Empedocles, as well as by Thucydides. Plato’s account of the age of Kronos in the Politicus and of Atlantis in the Timaeus are in the same vein. There, in fact, he may be said to parallel Herodotus, since he offers an account of word־of־mouth tradition through sources comparable to Herodotus’: a third-hand auditor of Solon recounts what an Egyptian priest told him about the destruction of Atlantis by earthquake (27-28), leading first to some ethnographic data, then to a creation story, and finally to an abstract redefinition of the cyclic, time as the moving image of eternity (38a-b).
12. This one passage would seem to be sufficient answer both to the separatists who urge that the Egyptioi logoi are detachable enough to have been written at some other time, and the unitarians who argue a tight and elaborate coherence of the history at all points. Both are right, and neither; Herodotus’ own conception of historie rules out the exclusiveness of either view.
13. Invisibility has powerful connections in itself with bureaucracy, the new abstractions of money, law, and philosophy, as Marc Shell argues in “The Ring of Gyges.”
6. OVID: THE DIALECTICS OF RECOVERY FROM ATAVISM
1. Ovid handles the Muses as intricately as he does his other materials. In Books IV and V of the Fasti he imagines them discussing which should guide his poem, and disagreeing (V, 9, “dissensere deae”). He himself feigns (V, 1-8) not to know which of several directions to take, though of course, given the framework of his poem, he knows he must at this point deal with Maia and with the first of May. He then has Polyhymnia and Urania speaking in alternation, with Thalia and Clio approving (a procedure it would be easy to read allegorically). Frankel (1945, p. 240) points out that Callimachus, too, has his muse conversing with him, and yet it would not be so elaborately.
In the Ars A maioria Ovid contrasts the Muses with experience and says his aim is to speak truth, distinguishing himself from Hesiod (Ascra):
Nec mihi sunt visae Clio Cliusque sorores
Servant! pecudes vallibus, Ascra, tuis;
Usus opus movet hic: vati parete perito;
Vera canam: coeptis mater Amoris ades!
Clio and Clio’s sisters have not been seen by me
As I was minding my flocks, О Ascra, in thy vales;
Use moves this work: appear to an experienced bard;
I shall sing the truth: mother of Love, be here as I begin!
The charge surrounding the Venus whom the last trope names is considerably reduced from that which Lucretius accords the alma Venus of his invocation, though Ovid diverges from the “lying” Hesiod in the direction of truth, as Lucretius claims also to have done. Yet the very last words of the Metamorphoses assert that their function is to bring fame to the poet, and the last word of all is vivam, “I shall live.”
Later, in the Fasti, he declares his impartiality before the individual Muses
turbae pars habet omnis idem,
gratia Pieridum nobis aequaliter adsit
nullaque laudetur plusve minusve mihi
Each part of the throng has the same;
May favor towards the Pierides be equally present in us,
and may none be praised more greatly or less by me.
In the Τristia poetry is described as a sort of obsession, “perhaps the way the beaten gladiator seeks out the sand again,” “scilicet ut victus repetit gladiator harenam” (II, 17), though he also soon speaks of the power in song to invoke great gods, “exorant magnos carmina saepe dios” (II, 22). It is hard not to see both casualness and freedom in these diverse attitudes towards the Muses.
2. For Lucretius the parts of the body are not composed of Aristotelian elements but of rather volatile forces: air, heat, breath, and a fourth part, “mixta latens animi vis est animaeque potestas,” “a mixed hidden force of animus and power of anima” (III, 277).
3. As Bateson forcefully demonstrates, tone is not simply overtone. Rather, in literature and in natural language, it is always philosophically extensible. Ovid often confects a situation in which he is bantering with his gods or muses. On the one hand he cannot be disengaged from some form of belief even in the deified emperor, a credence with which many modern interpreters have struggled, sometimes trying to undermine it by applying to it the modality of the irony which Ovid does in fact apply to all sacral entities in his poem. He would seem, for example, to take at face value the descent of the shield from the sky: “Credite dicenti; mira sed acta loquor”/“Believe me when I speak: I tell of wonders but ones which were done” (Fasti III, 370). And very soon in the same poem, speaking of the emperor’s accession to “pontificalis honor,” he assigns an equally firm credence to the divine numen of the emperor in a way we find equally difficult to understand, given his irony: “ignibus aeternis aeterni numina praesunt/ Caesaris: imperii pignora iuncta vides.” “Over eternal flames the divine powers of eternal Caesar/Preside: of empire you see the pledges unified.” (Fasti III, 421-22).
4. In the locus amoenus trees are always shady, streams purling, meadows flowery, waterfalls crystalline. We do have these “pleasant” attributes, for example, in the Fasti’s description of Henna where (III, 420-44) Pluto abducts Proserpina: “valle umbrosa, aspergina multa/uvidus . . . prata,” and the set-piece of flower descriptions (430-44). The delineation, however, has opened with some “unpleasant” non-pastoral terms: vastum, scopulis (419), touching on the same note once again in inanis (433). The uniformly “pleasant,” and lingering, flower description is suddenly interrupted by the act of abduction, rendered swiftly in a single line so summary that it contains no adjectives but only the adverb of that manner: “hane videt et visam patruus velociter aufert,” “There saw her and, seen, her uncle rapidly snatched her off” (445). This line is immediately followed by the striking use of an ominously “pleasant” adjective. It is the only one in its line, which its four syllables dominate: “regnaque caeruleis in sua portat equis,” “and carried her on cerulean horses to his kingdom” (446). The dark blue, coming so soon after the flowers, has a pleasant air, and it suggests the beautiful visible attributes away from which Proserpina will be carried. But it anticipates the cancellation of those attributes under the earth; and caeruleus is also used of rain at night, the altars of the Manes, etc. Since caeruleus is a standard epithet for Neptune and the sea, and since Neptune has horses, the third brother is briefly touched metonymically into this picture (Jupiter is implied by the relationship of patruus, 445); the horses will soon be under the earth—they cannot stand the sunlight—and the “pleasant” connotations of caeruleus will fall away. Meanwhile both pleasant and unpleasant associations with the terms in the immediately preceding lines of the poem are gathered up into the one word caeruleis, the pleasant ones destined, as Prosperina is herself, for rapid change.
In the Metamorphoses the “unpleasant” elements of the landscape are dwelt on more fully, and the same story itself is coded for more complex connections: it is told by the Muses as Calliope’s winning entry in a contest between the Muses and the bird-changed Pierides, as a result of which the Muses take over the springs on Helicon. These have sprung up under the hoof of Pegasus after he was released through the death of Medusa by Perseus. Minerva is told the Persephone story because she is now free of the long job of protecting Perseus and has gone there precisely because news of the springs had reached her ears (Metamorphoses V, 230ff).
5. Otis summarizes the metrical attributes of their respective styles (pp. 74-75): “Hence the un-Virgilian character of Ovid’s metric: he sacrificed most of the weight, gravity and ethos of Virgil’s hexameter to rapid and unbroken movement. By increasing the number of dactyls, regularizing the pauses and, above all, reducing the elisions, he made his lines move at a very accelerated pace. . . . the proportion of elisions to the total of lines in the whole Aeneid and Metamorphoses is 15.6% for Ovid and 50.3% for Vergil.”1
6. Albrecht discusses the play of tone in the Metamorphoses; D’Elia, that in the Fasti. As Walther Kraus says of the Metamorphoses, “The scope extends from hard tragedy (6.589ff) to keen comedy (1.415ff, 2.36ff).”
7. The lightness of the interwoven verbs, and in a divine conversation, may lead to an outright joke, as in these words of Jupiter to Numa: “addidit hie ‘hominis’: ‘sumes’ aitille ‘capillos.’/postulat hic animam, cui Numa ‘piseis’ ait.” “The latter added ‘(head) of a man’: ‘you will take’ said the former ‘hair’./He demanded the life, and to him Numa said ‘fish’ “(Fasti III, 341-42). Here we are given a kind of sub-riddling request on the god’s part and a weaseling, but effective, reply from the legendary king. The verbs wind down for the final answer, though a touch of their complexity still clings to Numa’s one-word answer, since piscis could be taken either in the nominative or the genitive.
8. Lucretius touches from time to time on allegory, as when he argues that Tityos, Tantalus, etc., are to be understood not as legendary figures in the afterlife but as exempla for activities in this life (III, 979ff).
9. The Thesaurus Linguae Latinae lists most of these uses of concelebro as preceding Lucretius. Plautus (Pseud. 165) and Lucilius (790) use the word in the sense of celebrating a festival day (Greek suneortazo), Plautus (As. 799) and Terence (Phormio prae f. 3.4) in the sense of inhabit or fill, and Plautus also in the senses of causing to abound (Ca IV, iii,2) and of solemnizing (Ps. I,ii,32).
*See A. Siedow, De Elision in usu in hexametris Latinis (1911), p. 55.
7. BETWEEN PROSE AND POETRY: THE SPEECH AND SILENCE OF THE PROVERB
1. Various deductions about the necessity of presupposition for the structural rules of some statements are made by Richard Garner, George Lakoff, Robin Lakoff, Edward L. Keenan, and Arnold M. Zwicky in Fillmore and Langendoen. As George Lakoff says (p. 69),
certain sentences will be grammatical only relative to certain pre-suppositions and deductions, that is, to certain thoughts and thought processes and the situations to which they correspond. This seems to me wholly natural.
The consequences of these observations are important for both linguistics and natural logic. Logic, as it is normally studied, involves a formal system containing axioms and rules of inference which are not constrained with respect to either form or content by empirical linguistic considerations. But these observations show that natural logic must be so constrained, at least with respect to the form of expressions.
2. The ancients classified such locutions as proverbs. For example, “hang by a hair,” Diogenianus 4.40 and “write on water,” ibid. 5.83 (in Leutsch and Schneidewin, i, pp. 238, 267).
3. Chinese is rich in such locutions, as Arthur H. Smith demonstrates.
4. This is also independently declared at 1 Kings 5:12, “And he spoke three thousand proverbs.”
5. Aristotle couples Stesichorus and Aesop as producers of maxims (Rhetoric 1393b) which he goes on to define (1394a2), “it deals . . . with the objects of human actions, and with what should be chosen or avoided with reference to them. As the enthymeme is, as we may say, the syllogism dealing with such things, maxims (gnomai) are the premises or conclusions of enthymemes without the syllogism.”
6. Dümler, ed., Epistiilae Karolini A evi, IV, No. 132, as cited in Boas, pp. 8-9.
7. Gordon, 2.125, p. 265, “Their pleasure, their discomfort; their discomfort, their pleasure.” This is deduced to mean “One man’s meat is another man’s poison.”
8. Gordon, 1.154, p. 121: “Dam-nu-gar-ra e-a ti-lam-am/a-sag-a-sag-e dirig-ga-am.” “A thriftless wife surviving in a household is afflicted with all the sickness (demon)s.” This implies the same general ethic, though put in negative rather than positive terms, as Many a mickle makes a muckle. It is highly wrought, with many rhymes and assonances. The language is firm, and the idea has a comparably firm position in a society hierarchical enough for more than marginal differences to show in the household management of a storage economy, which is here reflected on. The Protestant ethic of Many a mickle makes a muckle would be just a special development of such a reflection.
9. Greek offers a special grammatical category for the verbs of the proverb, the gnomic aorist. Gesenius lists no corresponding form in Hebrew, but the combination of the repetitive imperfect and the jussive imperfect offers something comparable, as for example in Proverbs 2:6, “For the Lord gives wisdom,” where “gives” is in the imperfect rather than in the normal (present) perfect form, (Az JHVH yiten chokhmah). There seems to have been no gnomic aorist in Sanskrit, which may correlate with the fact that at a corresponding period there are no separate collections of proverbs in Sanskrit.
10. Searle (p. 41) follows the tradition of Kant in distinguishing between regulative rules and constitutive rules. The first “regulate antecedently existing forms of behavior; for example, the rules of etiquette regulate interpersonal relationships, but these relationships exist independently of the rules of etiquette. Some rules on the other hand do not merely regulate but create or define new forms of behavior.” The proverb has both regulative and constitutive features.
11. William Alston characterizes a fair share of “linguistic acts” as “rule-recognition acts.” In saying “open the door’’ I imply that the auditor knows my statement will conform to the rules for this command, that there is a door, that the door is not open, that it is possible for the auditor to open it, and that I wish it open. In this light, too, the proverb is metalinguistic. It frames for recognition a general rule that could be applied to the specific circumstance in which it is uttered: it at once constitutes and comments on a linguistic act, being thereby metaphysical even when not explicitly metalinguistic.
12. Margot Norris spells out some philosophical consequences of Joyce’s linguistic manipulations. See also Cook, 1967.
8. THE SELF-ENCLOSURE OF THE RIDDLE
1. In some respects the interchange pattern of the riddle resembles that of the witticism, a verbal sequence brought to an explosive climax by the speaker to create an effect in the hearer. The interchange might well be subjected to versions of the libido analyses which Freud accords the witticism. But the riddle has to do with death as well as some sublimated form of sexuality; the riddle was a death-test in early cultures, presented to Oedipus by a powerful sex-icon, the Sphinx. Even in ordinary conversation, as Martin Pops says (personal communication), the riddle produces
discomfiture . . . no matter what the answer [one is] disappointed . . . riddles are like magic tricks, as indeed they are tricks in language. . . . Almost everyone gets the point of a joke—a small (and perhaps self-deceiving) accomplishment which prompts a joke in return. Is the reason one hardly ever tells a riddle in return because one hardly ever “gets” one, on one’s own? To tell a riddle in return, then, is a kind of revenge (i.e., an act of unseemly earnestness, not playful reciprocity).
Lévi-Strauss (10, pp. 32-35) connects the riddle as a form of expression and the incest taboo for cultural conjunction and some structural homology, noting, after Boas, that the North American Indian tradition tends to lack both riddles and proverbs. The relative absence of these forms would substantiate my own assignment of them to a second phase, and also my attribution of the growth of riddle and proverb to the inception of the third phase —though in fact the Athabascan languages are supposed to have a riddling tradition. These peoples, however, border on the Eskimos and their rich culture.
2. Tryphon (Rhetor es Graeci, III, 90) gives six types of riddle: like, opposite, coincidence, history, homonymy, and language.
3. “You speak enigmas, my good man, or do you compose riddles? For uncommonly like Apollo you make nothing clear.”
4. Borges makes a similar point.
5. The earliest form of the riddle of the Sphinx comes from Asklepiades of Tragilos, a fourth-century compiler, as quoted in the scholia on Euripides’ Phoenissae 45 (Robert, p. 56), and as quoted in Athenaeus, X, 456b. Robert conjectures that five broken letters on a fifth-century vase may be a quotation from the riddle.
Variants of the Sphinx riddle appear in Thompson’s Motif-Index of Folk־Literature under Η 761.
1. Jeremias, 1966, p. 10, “Jesus’ parables are something entirely new. In all the rabbinic literature, not one single parable has come down to us from the period before Jesus; only two similes from Rabbi Hillel (С. 20 B.C.), who jokingly compared the body with a statue, and the soul with a quest. It is among the sayings of Rabban Jochanan ben Zakkai (d. c. A.D. 80) that we first meet with a parable. . . . As its imagery resembles one of Jesus’ parables, we may well ask whether Jesus’ model (together with other factors, such as Greek animal fables) did not have an important influence on the rabbi’s adopting parables as a narrative form.”
2. Ibid., p. 102.
3. Hauch (Kittel, χ V, p. 751, sub voc parabole) quotes Jeremias on the “zweifache Sitz im Leben” of the parables. He goes on to discuss their tendency to shift the context of their auditors, and to alter their allegorical bearing in mid-narration.
4. Matthew 13:1-52,20:1-16, and 24:32-25,30. Mark 4:1-34. Luke 8:418, 10:25-37, 13:6-21, 15:11-16.31, and 18:1-19:27. John 10:1-18.
5. Details on these are given in Bolte and Polivka, 1, pp. 41-45.
10. METAPHOR: LITERATURE’S ACCESS TO MYTH
1. Von Franz (pp. 9-10) diagrams the interconnections between the tree, as an example of a central symbol, and spring, death, bird, mother, moon, sun, sun god, ancestor, phallus, bull, and father.
The sun myth and the tree myth are connected, for in the morning the sun is born in the east out of the tree . . . every Christmas the tree gives birth to the new light in the moment of the winter solstice . . . the tree is also a mother . . . in Saxony, even now, it is said that beautiful girls grow under the leaves of trees . . . the souls of unborn children rustle under the leaves. . . . But the tree is not only the mother of life but also the death mother, because from trees coffins are made, and there are the tree burials . . . Under every tree there is a spring. There is the world-ash Yggdrasil with the Urd well underneath. . . . As the mother the tree is feminine, but it is also the father because the tree is a phallic symbol; for instance, in the Aztec chronicles the word for the original land where the Aztecs and the Mayans emigrated represents a broken-off tree. . . . There are stories of a woman passing a tree and a seed from the tree entering her womb. Therefore clearly the tree is a father, and that links up with the tree being the sun, which is a father-figure.
2. “Children do not learn to speak metaphorically as a kind of crowning achievement in the apprenticeship of language-learning. Rather they use metaphors naturally from infancy onwards, and have gradually to learn—with respect to each noun, verb, adjective or adverb—how to speak literally. The car shouted at me,’ says the child. ‘No, it hooted at you,’ corrects the parent. It is psychogenetically more illuminating to view literal patterns of word-use as the result of imposing certain restrictions on metaphorical ones, than to view metaphorical patterns as the results of removing certain restrictions from literal ones. The deliberate utterance of metaphor, in the awareness that it is such, is no doubt a phenomenon of adult parole. But metaphorical sentences are as much part of the langue that children acquire as are non-metaphorical ones.” (723)
3. The Opies sketch a history for the nursery rhyme that remarkably parallels that for riddle and parable, and to a lesser extent that for proverb (pp. 6-9): a few references in antiquity, a few in the Middle Ages, and a sudden burgeoning and blossoming in the sixteenth century. Again, a comparable phenomenological set towards the world of myth, taken together with a related conception of what a human futurity, and so childhood, may be, would allow for the generation of this particular blend of art song, folk song, proverb, riddle, and parable—again without any reference more than residual to mythic structures.
4. Derrida 4, p. 323:
La métaphore est donc déterminée par la philosophie comme perte provisoire du sens . . . C’est pourquoi l’évaluation philosophique en a été toujours ambigu. La métaphore est menaçante et étrangère au regard de Y intuition (vision ou contact), du concept . . . , de la conscience; mais elle est complice de ce qu’elle menaçe . . . L’opposition de l’intuition du concept et de la conscience n’a plus, à ce point, aucune pertinence. [So metaphor is determined by philosophy as a provisional loss of sense. . . . That is why its evaluation by philosophy has always been ambiguous. Metaphor is menacing and strange in face of the intuition (vision or contact) of the concept . . . , of consciousness but it is always in complicity with that which it menaces. The opposition between intuition and concept, and consciousness, has at this point no longer any pertinence.]
5. Pound’s massive displacement of the political and cultural history into image-points and anecdote-points may be illustrated by his handling in these lines of so little in what we might find to be important for the Ch’in dynasty (his“Tsin”). As he continues:
Wall rose in the time of TSIN CHI
TCHEOU lasted eight centuries and then TSIN came
and of TSIN was CHI HOANG TI that united all China
who referred to himself as the surplus
or needless bit of the Empire
and jacked up astronomy
and after 33 years burnt the books
because of fool literati
by counsel of Li-sse
save medicine and on field works
and HAN was after 43 years of TSIN dynasty.
That is all Pound gives us for what Goodrich narrates in a “Short History” already far more succinct than the eight French volumes on which Pound bases his verses:
Scorned by the other states for their uncouthness and barbarity, the people of Ch’in absorbed some of their critics’ culture and overlooked no opportunity to improve their military fitness. The teachings of a succession of statesmen who followed the Lord of Shang had made their government the best disciplined and most purposive of any east of the Gobi. In 318 the Ch’in, who dominated the northwest, moved into Szechuan and seized control of the great food-producing plain. The huge irrigation system which the governor and his son reputedly began there about 300 has banished serious floods and droughts for twenty-two centuries and is still in existence. A canal nearly one hundred miles long was cut across Shensi in 246 to enrich the alkaline soil with water laden with silt. The productivity of this region, says the annalist, promptly increased about twenty-eight pecks per square mile. Having thus assured a food supply, the authorities erected a grain station near modern Kaifeng to provision their troops. To break up the feudal system no fief was granted after 238. To guard against rebellion in the rear and to provide labor there was considerable transfer of the population from one province to another during 239-235 B.C. Powerful families—120,000 in all, according to the annalist—were required to move to the capital at Hsien-yang in modern Shensi. By 234 Cheng, who as a young boy had become head of Ch’in in 247, was ready to put his armies in the field and by 222 he had vanquished the last of the rival states. The combination of excellent preparation, constant pressure, and superb mastery of the newest arts of war, especialiy cavalry, proved too much for his enemies. He promptly created the first empire and assumed the title of First Emperor (Shih־huang־ti); his system of government lasted till the twentieth century.” (31-32).
Goodrich goes on to outline that system of government and to describe what Pound mentions in just one word, the building of the Great Wall.
6. Angus Fletcher’s book on allegory is thus always on the verge of transforming most literary works into allegories and literary theory in general into the theory of allegory. So his “demonic agent” accounts for the incorporation of myth-forces into allegories (and literary works generally); and his “cosmic image,” with its many references to novels, is extensible to the treatment by any literary work of a comprehensive notion of reality: “For naturalistic fables the range of the imagery would be nothing less than the range of natural phenomena itself, and at that point the loosening-up of the term kosmos would be complete” (p. 146).
11. LANGUAGE AND MYTH
1. Was it just accidentally that Mallarmé wrote a long-projected school textbook on myth, Les Dieux Antiques?
2. Even an emphasis on semantic questions entails such a concern. As Donald Davidson says (p. 248), “But meaningfulness is only the shadow of meaning; a full-fledged theory should not merely ticket the meaningful expressions, but give their meanings. The point is acknowledged by many linguists today, but for the most part they admit they do not know how to meet this additional demand on theory, nor even how to formulate the demand.”
3. “I wrote Leda and the Swan because the editor of a political review asked me for a poem. I thought, ‘After the individualist, demagogic movement, founded by Hobbes and popularized by the Encyclopaedists and the French Revolution, we have a soil so exhausted that it cannot grow that crop again for centuries.’ Then I thought, ‘Nothing is now possible but some movement from above preceded by some violent annunciation.’ My fancy began to play with Leda and the Swan for metaphor, and I began this poem; but as I wrote, bird and lady took such possession of the scene that all politics went out of it, and my friend tells me that his ‘conservative readers would misunderstand the poem.’” (Quoted in Ellmann and O’Clair, p. 134.) Yeats sets the whole in a narrative (Yeats, pp. 50-51; Michael Robartes and Owen Aherne are mysterious visitors): “‘Or transformation,’ Aherne corrected once more. ‘If you had answered differently,’ said Robartes, ‘I would have sent you away, for we are here to consider the terror that is to come.’ ”
4. That adding meter to language defines poetry is a topos in Plato (Gorgias 502c): “If one took the song and the rhythm and the meter from the whole of poetry, would there be anything left but statements?” And Górgias said it too (Helen 9): “I think and name all poetry to be a statement possessing meter.”
For another line of argument, in Rgveda III, 38, Indra enjoins poets to contemplate him. In X, 71, the act of naming is a function of revealing through love what is hidden inside the poet.
5. Parabole was also the word used in the Septuagint to translate the Hebrew mashal, “proverb.”
6. Brian Caraher, in an unpublished paper on the riddles of the Exeter Book, finds them to be characteristically involved in mediating the contradictions of existence as exemplified in the single figure of a riddle in question. This is an intermediate stage, as the riddle form preserves some of the sacral context from which it separates itself by combining with the “poem” form.
7. I heard samples of all these played at the University of Michigan conference on Oral Literature and the Formula, November, 1974.
8. Something of this modality is implied in what Hartman (2) calls “Hesperian” poetry, using the “Ode to Autumn” as a chief example.
9. Lacan presents a hierarchy of four sets, each reordering the one below, for the sequences of alternating presence and absence of “the symbolic,” as it functions in a person’s determination of the significations he uses (1, pp. 6-61). He thus makes a calculus out of Freud’s repetition-compulsion and Kierkegaard’s principle of repetition (both examples his). As he asserts (p. 46), “Cette répétition étant répétition symbolique, il s’y avère que l’ordre du symbole ne peut plus être conçu comme constitué par l’homme, mais comme le constituant.” It would not be difficult to translate “le constituant,” since it is “l’ordre du symbole,” into the ground of myth and the unknown; ethos anthropo daimon.
10. Bateson, like Lévi-Strauss and in a way parallel to Lacan’s, translates the component of feeling in human affairs into a cybernetic system of levels of communication. He keeps quoting Pascal on the reasons of the heart, leaving the heart nothing but its reasons. It is to be expected that he would feel Lévi-Strauss to be misunderstood (pp. 138-39). “They say he emphasizes too much the intellect and ignores the feelings. The truth is that he assumes that the heart has precise algorithms.” And of feelings he himself says, “Among Anglo-Saxons, it is rather usual to think of the ‘reasons’ of the heart or of the unconscious as inchoate forces or pushes or heavings—what Freud called Trieben. To Pascal, a Frenchman, the matter was rather different, and he no doubt thought of the reasons of the heart as a body of logic or computation as precise and complex as the reasons of consciousness.”
In all this he puts the reader in what might appropriately be called a double bind. Since he at once praises the unconscious and offers important insights into its function as a communicative system, he would seem to be enlisting the proponents of art, humor, interplay, and freedom on the side of an argument that can neither be accepted nor rejected—without laying oneself open to the accusation of Anglo-Saxon ethnocentrism which the AngloSaxon Bateson has generously taken the lead in leaving behind.
11. I owe this term to Gary Gabriel. Derrida himself well characterizes the tendency of philosophy to get caught in mazes when facing metaphor, though he does not, characteristically, commit himself as to the possibility of issuing therefrom (See Chapter Ten, Note 4). His lack of commitment, of course, is part of a “deconstructive” strategy, undertaken with impressive subtlety and consistency, to “ruiner par aporie le discours métaphysique” in the words of Paul Ricoeur (1975, 365). As Ricoeur shows, by maintaining a distinction that Derrida overrides between live metaphor and dead, “parler métaphoriquement de la métaphore n’est aucunement circulaire dès lors que la position du concept procède dialectiquement de la métaphore elle-même.” Moreover, identifying metaphors, live or dead, on the significative surfaces of texts can never reach the modality of their function within the whole speech act of philosophical statement or poem—categories which must be prior, for utterance to take place, to the specific manifestations of figures within such utterances. In such a deconstructive attention to language, the function of myth in poetry and the establishment of assent in philosophy, necessary to the transfer of communication, become obscured. See also Cook (7).
12. The differences between Hirsch and Gadamer (as both change positions) may be seen not just in their agreement on specific hermeneutic issues but also in the emphases implied by their leading terms.
13. Emphasis on this term, and the possibility of elaborating this point, I owe to Samuel Weber.
14. Recent commentators have stressed the distinctiveness of the Old Testament vision in its emphasis on a deus absconditus against the prevailingly mythenmeshed systems of the Mediterranean countries surrounding Israel. As Herbert Schneidau well puts it, for example (p. 4), “literature differs from analogues such as myth by virtue of its self-conscious relation to culture. In the Bible this relation finds expression . . . in a great image . . . in which the absolute gulf between God and his creatures manifests itself.”
15. Liu (pp. 4-5) lists this as Huei-yi, “understanding the meaning,” a third type of composite character in which the simple character for “field” and the simple character for “strength” are combined to give the character Hsiang-hsing, signifying “man.” Of all his six classes only the first three would have functions paralleling Egyptian hieroglyphics: Hsiang-hsing, “imitating the form,” where a picture of the sun stands for “/7/1,” “sun”; the second, Chih-shih, “pointing at the thing,” where a simple grapheme stands for a number or the pictogram for tree is altered by one stroke to mean “tree-top” and by another to mean “tree-root” or “pen”; and the third, Hsieh-cheng, “harmonizing the sound,” where the composite phonogram is used as a component of the sound of another.
As Needham says (1, p. 32), “Of the 49,000 characters given in the great dictionary Khang-Hsi Tzu Tien of +1716 not more than five percent are pictographs and symbols; all the rest are of the sixth class (Hsing-Sheng, “picture plus sound”).’՝
As for the relation between the development of science and the form of writing, he says (4, xxiv), “Chinese mathematics was indelibly algebraic rather than geometrical,” whereas, for Greece, in Lasserre’s view (p. 64), “If we leave aside the identification, construction and calculation of the areas of figures, this geometry directed all its efforts towards one goal: the study of relations.” Greek geometry—which was all of Greek mathematics up to Plato’s time—concerned itself with problems which might have been phrased in other than geometrical terms. The careful, abstract spatialization of an alphabet could be related to this tendency, for it was also the period of Democritus’ atomic theory. And as Needham goes on to comment (4, p. 30), “Now it is a striking, and perhaps significant, fact that the languages of all those civilizations which developed atomic theories were alphabetic.”
16. The term “Chinese mythology” is probably too global for the early period, however. As Eberhard cautions (p. 14), “The area of modern China was the seat of more than ten sharply outlined cultures.”