Recognitions is about the most neglected strand of Aristotelian poetics - anagnorisis, or recognition. It is a topic that has conventionally had a bad press: the recognition scene is regarded as an implausible contrivance, a feeble way of resolving a plot the author can no longer control. But why do such scenes occur in every kind of drama and narrative fiction from the Odyssey and Oedipus to thrillers by Le Carré - and how is it
they continue to surprise, amuse, and disturb? Terence Cave's book first traces the history of the term anagnorisis and explores the ways in which it continues to be a valuable focus for theoretical reflection.
Then, in a series of chapters analysing examples of recognition plots from English, French, and German literature, including Shakespeare, James, Conrad, Racine, Corneille, and Goethe, the book demonstrates how recognition must be seen as a topic of the first importance, perhaps the most strictly literary of all topics in poetics.
`Terence Cave ... writes like an artist. His mind is subtler than Vickers's, his erudition just as extensive ... Recognitions is a dazzling achievement.
The London Review of Books
`this is a book of infinite riches, giving considerable pleasure page by page - as a good cornucopian text should. I doubt whether a more interesting work of literary criticism will be published this year.
Times Literary Supplement
`before I attempt to summarize its intellectual and critical wealth let me say that this is a book of infinite riches, giving considerable pleasure page by page - as a good cornucopian text should. I doubt whether a more interesting work of literary criticism will be published this year.'
Times Literary Supplement
`richly rewarding readings of individual texts
Times Literary Supplement
`a dazzling achievement
London Review of Books
`[a] learned and penetrating treatise... a very important contribution to the history of poetics and practical literary criticism alike... His book invites comparisons with Erich Auerbach's modern classical Mimesis ... Cave has taken another concept from the Poetics and applied it to representative texts from the whole of Western literary history. Like Mimesis and Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism, Recognitions is one of the relatively few books that not
only give new insights into individual works, but also restructure the whole history of literature and poetics.
Carl Rudbeck, Svenske Dagblader
`Admirers of The Cornucopian Text will not be disappointed by its successor. They will recognize here the same breadth of literary vision, the detailed scholarship and the subtle and personal probing of intractable issues that concern all readers... The subject is a splendid one, and it is strange that no one had previously devoted a book to it
Peter France, French Studies
`Because it is such a good book it leaves one eager for answers to some of the only partially answered questions ... a major contribution to scholarship which will have many repercussions.
C.P. Brand, Renaissance Studies
`fine and stimulating work
`There is little doubt about the sheer scale of Dr Cave's erudition
John Valdimir Price, University of Edinburgh, Review of English Studies
`A wide-ranging and perceptive study of one of the least familiar concepts in Aristotelian poetics (anagnorisis). ... aptly fits into the mainstream of much modern literary criticism and theory.
Forum for Modern Language Studies, Vol. XXVII No.1 January 1991
`Cave is breaking new ground, and the book is a monument to his breadth of knowledge, his grasp of modern critical ideas, and his rigorous and penetrating questioning of poetics ... a discourse which is as fascinatingly provocative as it is eminently readable.
`This book is a remarkable achievement, not only by virtue of its critical means (range of reference, blend of textual analysis and expository critique, intermittent theorising of its own positions), but also by virtue of its sustained elegance of expression: its 500-odd pages make of scholarly investigation an absorbing critical narrative. The cultural historian, which Cave so finely and compellingly is, has his own layer of recognition and interpretation
to add to the collected work of his predecessors, both creative and critical.
Clive Scott, University of East Anglia, New Comparison 12 (Autumn 1991)
`Best ... it may be, to treat it ... as a thesaurus to dip into, and one would imagine that few readers could fail to learn something to their advantage by so doing.
Charles Martindale, University of Bristol
Introduction; Odysseus' Scar; I: RECOGNITION IN THE HISTORY OF POETICS: Anagnorisis in antiquity; Renaissance commentaries; The decline of recognition: French neoclassicism; The decline of recognition: Eighteenth-century variants; Plots of the psyche; Modern commentary and criticism; Transition; II: RECOGNITION IN PRACTICE: A Shakespearean prologue; Corneille: the hero versus Oedipus; Between Corneille and Racine: La Thebaide; Racine: after Oedipus; From drama
to narrative: Goethe and Kleist; Narrating recognition: Balzac and Dickens; Henry James: the Last Sharpness; Joseph Conrad: the Revenge of the Unknown; Conclusion: Beyond recognition; Translation of