Poetics II. Narrative and Lyric: The Poetic Forms and the Object of Artistic Presentation
This chapter clarifies the essential nature of the two fundamental poetic forms of composition — those of the narrative and the lyric — and shows how these two forms can be seen to operate not only in literature, but also in painting and music. Narrative is a kind of form in the constitution of which the essential role is played by time, that is, the temporal form; the kind of form in which the whole consists of a number of phases or parts which succeed one another in a determined order, their succession governed by the relationships of causing and resulting by necessity or probability. Lyric, by contrast, is the atemporal form, the kind of form in the constitution of which time plays no essential role, its parts, whether existing simultaneously or succeeding one another, governed by the relationship of the necessary or probable mutual implication, rather than the necessary or probable causation. The two forms are correlated with two kinds of contents: the narrative is the kind of form properly suited for representing human actions, and the lyric for states of mind. The interplay of narrative and lyric then maps the complete field of not only artistic forms, but also human ways of being in the world, that is, of everything that one might want to represent in art if one treats art as an instrument of human self-revelation.
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