Structure and Texture: A Note on Ransom′s Dualism

틀과 결: 랜섬의 이원론에 대한 고찰

  • Published : 2001.04.01


According to John Crowe Ransom, "the poem is a loose logical structure with an irrelevant local texture." As is implied in the opposition between "structure" and "texture," Ransom′s is a dualistic, that is, non-organic, theory of poetry, in which the poem′s sound does not have any expressive function while its figurative language always goes beyond the realm of abstract meaning and celebrates the ontological density of the world. His theory relies heavily upon a series of oppositions-poetry and prose, art and science, concrete and universal, artistic and utilitarian, to name only a few-in order to uphold the humanistic value of poetry ("poetry as knowledge"). There is, however, a sense that his theoretical consistency derives from a determined refusal to see the blurry borderline between the oppositions. It is more or less easy to point out where Ransom′s theory falters, but more critical efforts should be made to probe into the personal and cultural significance of his persistent dualistic viewpoint. For Ransom the southerner, life demands the precarious balance between the oppositions as the very precondition for its existence and his dualism represents a way to understand man′s fallen state at the realistic level.