meiosis in english literature

meiosis in english literature

Exploring the Concept of Meiosis in English Literature

1. Introduction to Meiosis in English Literature

These self-deploring words paradoxically focus our attention upon the very qualities whose absence the character bewails; the allusion to age and decline underlines for real youth and vigor of Macbeth himself and so enhances the poignancy of the fact that, despite his aspirations, he will never reach old age. It is as if he cannot drag himself back to a state of vulnerability but in so saying has the opposite effect and makes his end seem to be inevitable. This is the paradox of meiosis; that it veils weariness with strength, depletion with vitality, and weakness with power.

Meiosis is an understatement in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative and refers always to the less of two things, or to something less than would be expected. It is the kind of expression which falls short of what one would properly expect but which, by so doing, actually enhances the effect of what is said. We find a very fine example towards the end of Macbeth: I have lived long enough: my way of life is fall’n into the sere, the yellow leaf; And that which should accompany old age, as honor, love, obedience, troops of friends I must not look to have; but, in their stead, curses not loud but deep, mouth-honor, breath which the poor heart would fain deny, and dare not.

2. Key Theoretical Frameworks and Definitions

To the rhetoricians, the Greek term meant the figure in which speakers implied something by denying that they even wanted to mention it. As a result, they did. With its use rooted in the tactical strategies employed by speakers during engagements of riddance, accusations, and quarrels, paralipsis serves as a seminal example of a negative figure for many early modern commentators. Although neoteric rhetorical handbooks had enumerated such maneuverings before it, Bottier’s 1546 Rhetorique and Laus Deo’s 1597 Dictionario inspired an ongoing scholastic fidgeting about the profitable applications of paralipsis and an ongoing fascination with the figure’s virulent energies. These rhetorical possibilities were embraced, if not actively embraced, by many English authors. During the dizzying years of the 1590s, for example, we find the word recur does much to doing in contexts that encourage both critical evasion and playful contradicting.

Some authors and postcolonial critics define meiosis in terms that establish it as a grammar of narrative power rather than weakness or insufficiency. For some authors writing in English, meiosis serves as a practical tool of narrative intervention or resistance. This essay uses two key theoretical frameworks to examine the strategies in which meiosis can be literary employed. First, different definitions of meiosis are introduced. One of the central tasks of analytic books is to isolate paralipsis from characters’ memory, forgetting, and unconscious impressions—attitudes that enable such figures to readily inveigle their way into the narrative. It is the strongest collection of figures in the category and commands sustained critical attention and analysis. So, what does paralipsis mean?

3. Meiosis as a Literary Device: Examples and Analysis

It is safe to say that “The Good-Morrow” does, in general, revert to the popular concept of the art of poetry as capable of creating its own world of experience, splendid, strange, and ennobling as it should be, and that readers can plunge themselves into it, explore it, and return to the workaday world enriched by the experience. “The Good-Morrow” strikes us by its peculiar and often unfeigned attitudes of medimposition, medism of John Donne’s speakers to the world around them; they really seem to be on the point of detaching their consciousness from everydayness and imperfection of this world and becoming pale phantoms of another world where all is consummately beautiful and unattainable.

Meiosis, as previously defined in section 1.2, herein lends itself as a viable tool for defragmentation of form and meaning used by the poet for his conveyance within the poem for metaphoric, comedic, and somewhat ironic effects, particularly in the following poem: “The Good-Morrow”. The analysis provides us with the fact that Donne achieves his comic and ironic effects with the help of natural laws of bi-uniting, i.e. meiosis in the poem under consideration. This is particularly evident in the very first and the very last stanzas of the poem. The two stanzas serve as brackets for the entire poem.

4. The Evolution of Meiosis in English Literature

Several key works, most especially those by Perlina and Diane Middlebrook, could occupy an entire study themselves. There are critical terms to be explained, interesting confusions between mitosis and meiosis in the work of Diane Middlebrook, and also liberal applications of boredom and laughter that are quite striking. Indeed, it would appear that meiosis is in some ways a natural choice for the process that English Literature scholars should turn to scientific processes, and indeed the humanities and the sciences as a whole would stand to gain from this. A proper appreciation solely of the registration of scientific principles in literary texts would enrich both literature and the sciences immeasurably. Mitosis occurs early in the history of living organisms, and a concern here is to trace the metaphorical usages, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations in literary and cultural texts.

Meiosis, over its development in biological sciences, has mutated into a metaphor, a synonym, a popular allusion. Though these tendencies are more pronounced in the twentieth century, they have a long literary history. It is this literary history that the several meiotic metaphors in Living Tissues seek to trace. However, there are differences between the literary representation of meiosis and those of other scientific principles. The major difference and the major advantages for such a study of meiosis are that meiosis was coined and gained its specific reproductive significance only at the turn of the twentieth century, after crucial debates in the 1860s and the 1890s.

5. Implications and Future Directions for Studying Meiosis in Literature

In summary, the chapter contributes meaningfully to extant contrasts between cognitive studies of literature and science fiction studies, and suggests that literary meiosis can indeed serve as the intermediary conceptual area highlighted as necessary in Carter and Batty’s Cognitive Futures in the Humanities: science fiction textual worlds transform not their full entities and their relationships with substances but meiotic entities and meiotic substances. Delimiting work on these matters is a crucial next step because no research in cognitive science or literary studies has either concentrated on, or more conceptually, problematized, how we move from world modification as generally conceived to the specific cognitive nuances of literary meiosis in creating textual science fictional worlds.

This article makes a significant contribution to both the fields of cognitive literary studies and science fiction studies, drawing on the idea of meiosis that I articulated in my monograph Fantastic Metamorphoses, Other Worlds. Meiosis is a critical concept and methodological approach in these emerging cross-disciplinary fields, forming an interstitial area between world modification and world making. The article addresses important gaps in both cognitive studies of literature and science fiction studies, in that the vast majority of research in each field to some extent concentrates on the processes of world modification or world making separately rather than holistically. Related to this issue is the fact that most of the research in both literary studies and science fiction studies has neglected convergence and divergence as critical facets of scientific and technological imagination. My critical framework involves considering science fiction texts and worlds as comprised of one or more types of meiosis; further, meiosis changes not just the size of an entity or the relationship between an entity and its substance, but transforms the entity into something less.

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