Hayden White: Tropics of Discourse Essays in Cultural Criticism

E notion of the way things are related to another notion and a connection between things so that they can be expressed in a language that takes account of the possibility of their being expressed otherwise 2 Troping is crucial to discourse the latter being an effort to earn a right of expression 2 Thus White says we can agree with Bloom s contention that all interpretation depends upon the antithetical relation between meanings and not the supposed relation between text and its meaning 2 White uses a fourfold pattern rooted in an archetypal structure also based upon an overlapping of theories from which he draws The structure reuires that a narrative I of a discourse move from an original metaphoric characterization of an experience through metonymic deconstructions of the elements of this experiential domain and then on to synechdochic representations In this third stage the relationship between the presumed essence and its superficial attributes will be White insists revealed The fourth step in the process is the arrival of a representation of whatever contracts or oppositions can legitimately be discerned in the totalities identified in the third phase of discursive representation 5 Giambattista Vico GWF Hegel and Karl Marx hold similar views suggesting that in this final point this diataxis of discourse not only mirrored the processes of consciousness but in fact underlay and informed all efforts of human beings to endow their world with meaning 5 Moreover Freud s evaluation of the four processes of the dreamwork overlap with White s four tropes of discourse Hence the pattern is set the theorists are aligned or where they are not they at least offer an alternative and complimentary look at one another The final result of Tropics of Discourse is an artful use of the tropes to indicate their function as the signs and stages in the evolution of human consciousness and how this consciousness evaluates history. D Man and the Noble Savage White's commentary ranges from a reappraisal of Enlightenment history to a reflective summary of the current state of literary criticis.

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Good stuff and good for you Should be read than many of the late 20th century critics who are currently considered reuired reading for the literary scholar IMO White analyzes the discourse of historiography the language employed in the writing of history calling attention to the generic narrative forms historians use and how these latter are reflected in the figures of speech or tropes the historians deploy A tough read but worth it most of the time Good selection of essay first few are rather outstanding I actually liked this better than the Content of the Form and his writing is pretty exceptional I also think he s clearer here on the fictional nature of all history would claim it a classic ust read it diatactic not dialectic I like Hayden White I like the ideas he is proposing I find him convincing I know that he later gives alternatives to the old ways of historiography but in this collection of essays he is convincly showing how history is still an art that the distinction between literature and history is only a farce No one can escape language and its laws Language which is connected to our consciousness and our structuring of the world It s a devastating point because it makes the idea of an objective science impossible But instead of giving up an honest consciousness about these facts can lead to a better historiography There is freedom in the mind there is freedom in language and in the end we use language it doesn t use us I have gotten behind on my reading of late having become occupied with various other pursuits learning to crawl stand up and the like I found this book to be an excellent starting place for getting back into intellectual pursuits The bright color of the cover and large typeface practically commands one to investigate further The book is not too large to be manageable and the emphasis on making explicit one s own circumstances as a participant in discourse say one s moth. Tropics of Discourse develops White's ideas on interpretation in history on the relationship between history and the novel and on history and historicism Vico Cro.

Er attempting to distract one from playing with the DVD player by handing one a book is ideal for any individual who is ust beginning to grasp the concept of being in the world In Tropics of Discourse Essays in Cultural Criticism Hayden White discusses the problems and promises of history Human nature has made us curious cerebral beings We thrive on uestions perhaps even than we thrive on answers and it is namely the problematic issues culture society and history among others that intrigue and baffle us And yet our discourse always tends to slip away from our data towards the structures of consciousness with which we are trying to grasp them or what amounts to the same thing the date always resist the coherency of the image which we are trying to fashion of them White 1 In other words the Big Picture is often ungraspable like sand sifting through our fingers We must grapple with it throughout existence pass this grappling down through generations ust as we have inherited it and attempt to make sense of our experiences as best we can White s collection of essays attempt to deal with the tropical element ingrained in all discourse whether of the realistic or the imaginative kind 1 2 It is this element that White calls inexpungeable from discourse in the human sciences however realistic they may aspire to be 2 He adds that tropic is the shadow from which all realistic discourse tries to flee 2 And yet this is a hopeless flight for tropic is the process by which all discourse constitutes the objects which it pretends only to describe realistically and to analyze objectively How tropes function in the discourses of the human sciences ultimately is at the root of White s essays in this collection 2 White borrows the idea of tropes and their sundry uses from Harold Bloom who suggests that a trope is the linguistic euivalent of a psychological mechanism of defense White adds that troping is both a movement from on. Ce Derrida and Foucault are among the figures he assesses in this work which also offers original interpretations of a number of literary themes including the Wil.

Hayden White was a historian in the tradition of literary criticism perhaps most famous for his work Metahistory The Historical Imagination in Nineteenth Century Europe 1973 He was professor emeritus at the University of California Santa Cruz and held position of professor of comparative literature at Stanford UniversityWhite received his BA from Wayne State University in 1951 and his M