Facing the Gorgon: Kenneth Burke on Dramatic Form, Catharsis, and Transcendence
- УДК / UDK: 82(091)
- Author: Corey Anton
- About the author:
Corey Anton (PhD, Professor, Grand Valley State University, Allendale, Michigan USA)
Drawing mainly upon the thinking of Kenneth Burke, this essay overviews a few psychological functions performed within dramatic works of art. It shows how dramatic works of art (e.g. novels, plays, films, and even TV shows) operate as subtle modes of applied psychology: they offer different types of therapeutic benefits for those who produce such works and also for those readers who read them and/or audience members who witness them. I try to bring out how modes of catharsis as well as means of transcendence are afforded by dramatic form within art. Even more specifically stated, I review some of Burke’s ruminations upon his own semiautobiographical novel, Towards a Better Life, and I outline how dramatic works of art provide adequate symbolic distance for sizing up one’s life situations and for facing various challenges that can otherwise be too difficult to face head-on. Through symbolic and artistic maneuvers, which enable kinds of identification, authors and audience members learn to face their demons and gain new psychological resolves and/or vistas of self-understanding.
- Keywords: Kenneth Burke, dramatic form, catharsis, transcendence, Greek mythology, formal causality, final causality, Perseus myth, popular culture.
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