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Re: GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 8

GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 8

Unit 8 (Long Passage)

Questions 1-5

Read and assess this academic explanation of M. H. Abrams classic theory of romantic poetry

In his classic study of romanticism and literary theory, The Mirror and the Lamp, MH Abrams points out the crucial change in images of the mind – from the mind as a “mirror” of outside reality to the mind as a “lamp” or a “fountain” that determines what it knows. In England, this shift was the work not of philosophers but of poets: “The Copernican revolution in epistemology – if we do not restrict this to Kant’s specific doctrine that the mind imposes the forms of time, space, and the categories on the ‘sensuous manifold,’ but apply it to the general concept that the perceiving mind discovers what it has itself partly made – was effected in England by poets and critics before it manifested itself in academic philosophy. Thus generally defined, the revolution was a revolution by reaction. In their early poetic expositions of the mind fashioning its own experience, for example, Coleridge and Wordsworth do not employ Kant’s abstract formulae. They revert, instead, to metaphors of mind which had largely fallen into disuse in the eighteenth century, but had earlier been current in seventeenth-century philosophers outside of, or specifically opposed to, the sensational tradition of Hobbes and Locke.”

Abrams specifically mentions the Plontinian image of the mind as a fountain that was employed by the Cambridge Platonists before being picked up by Coleridge: “In these writers, the familiar figure of the spirit of man as a candle of the Lord easily lent itself to envisioning the act of perception as that little candle throwing its beams into the eternal world.” According to Nathanael Culverwel, for instance, the spirit of man was “the Candle of the Lord,” since the Lord was “the fountain of Light,” and has furnished the world with “Intellectual lamps, that should shine forth to the praise and honour of his Name.” Further: “This makes the Platonists look upon the Spirit of Man as the Candle of the Lord for illuminating and irradiating of objects, and darting more light upon them, than it receives from them.”

Similarly Wordsworth: “Throughout, objects . . . derive their influence not from what they are actually in themselves, but from such as are bestowed upon them by the minds of those who are conversant with or affected by those objects.” Or this from Coleridge: “Images, however beautiful, though faithfully copied from nature, and as accurately represented in words, do not of themselves characterize the poet. They become proofs of original genius only insofar as they are modified by a predominant passion; or by associated thoughts or images awakened by that passion . . . or lastly, when a human and intellectual life is transferred to them from the poet’s own spirit.”

Literary theories, Abrams argues, can be divided into four main groups:

  • Mimetic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Universe)
  • Pragmatic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Audience)
  • Expressive Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Artist)
  • Objective Theories (interested in close reading of the Work)

Working from the assumption that literature involves at least four variables, the work,  and its realistic representation of the universe or outside world, the effect of the work on the audience, the relationship between the work itself and the artist’s lifestyle or experience, and the work itself, it’s intrinsic elements, such as style and structure. Abrams would have profound influence on further studies in aesthetics, as well as his own proper focus:  poetry and literary theory.

1 According to passage information, the Copernican or Romantic revolution in epistemology heralded a viewing of the mind as:
A. having a direct one-to-one correspondence with the outside world
B. as creating the outside world subjectively
C. discovering, as much as creating the outside world
D. representing or reflecting the outside world

2 We can infer from the passage, that Kant’s “abstract formulae” of space and time, to which the Romantic poets reacted against were argued by Kant to be:
A. A Priori – Before Experience or Perception
B. A Posterior – After Experience or Perception
C. Ignum Experiencio – Independent of Experience or Perception
D. Effecto Experiencio – Effects Experience or Perception.

Literary theories, Abrams argues, can be divided into four main groups.  From which group below would the following example pertain to?  A literary critic interweaving the poet’s lifestyle and history into the ideas presented in the poetry.
A. Mimetic Theories
B. Pragmatic Theories
C. Expressive Theories
D. Objective Theories

A literary novelist who works painstakingly recounting and compiling actual historical events to compose his novel as realistically as possible, under Abrams four-fold theoretical schema would be:
A. Mimetic
B. Pragmatic
C. Expressive
D. Objective

5 Which of the following examples would not adhere to Abrahm’s “pragmatic” theory of literary types?
A. D. H. Lawrence shocking readers with sexual passages in Lady Chatterley’s Lover
B. A person reading Native American poetry and having a renewed interest in nature
C. A literary critic doing a very close analysis of a poem’s inner workings.
D. A person being profoundly affected by the reading of biblical passages.

gamsat section 1 questions unit 8

Answers – GAMSAT Section 1 Questions Unit 8

1 C is a direct paraphrase based on passage information, (A) represents an “objective” view of reality, (B) represents a subjective view of reality, while (D) represents, to a certain extent a mimetic-imitative “objective view of reality, or the outside world.

The Copernican revolution in epistemology – if we do not restrict this to Kant’s specific doctrine that the mind imposes the forms of time, space, and the categories on the ‘sensuous manifold,’ but apply it to the general concept that the perceiving mind discovers what it has itself partly made

2 A is the correct answer.

Kant’s specific doctrine that the mind imposes the forms of time, space, and the categories on the ‘sensuous manifold’ – indicates that these forms or categories are imposed before “senses” or experience or perception.  This is a difficult question, but by inferring that the Romantics used the metaphors of the “lamp” or “fountain” – in creating the external world, as much as discovering it, we must infer that Kant, held that certain forms or categories must be inherent or innate, existing before this light or flow of understanding.  (B) goes against this notion, more in line with Hobbes and Locke’s ideas of sensational tradition, while (C) and (D) are creations which sound good or important. 

3 C is the correct answer.

Expressive Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Artist) 

4 A is the correct answer.

Mimetic Theories (interested in the relationship between the Work and the Universe)

All answers are pragmatic – having an effect on the reader or audience except C – the correct answer and exclusion. From Abrahms’ theories – C would be Objective – close reading.

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