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(9) The letter teaches the deed; what you believe, allegory; Tropology, what you do; what you strive for, anagogy. The verses are a test of perception that is dependent on the recognition of detail, in this case, letter constructions set in pairs to make a palindrome:
Tudor Rose, Dunbar abandons political allegory for anagogy, toward which
To perceive Dante's "radiant world" as Pound did, where "one thought cuts through another with clean edge," necessitates Dante's fourth category, anagogy. Any artist who explores extraordinary moments in ordinary lives--writers as various as Nathaniel Hawthorne and Flannery O'Connor--can only be understood via this categorically ultimate vision.
Fi nally, the four-dimensional doctrine which took over from this (littera gesta docet, quid credas allegoria, moralis quid agas, quid speres anagogia: The letter teaches what happened, allegory what you believe, the moral sense what you do, anagogy what you hope) was intended to be an interpretation of scripture which embraced all areas of life.
Already in this early work is heard the voice of the mature Dante who explains in the letter to the Can Grande della Scala, to whom he would dedicate the "Paradiso," that the literal includes allegory, moral, and anagogy.
Connecting metonymic, metaphoric, and synecdochic thinking with poetic strategies of allegory, analogy, and anagogy, respectively, Blasing explains how the fourth, "ironic" or "anomalous," way of thinking (with its literalist poetic strategies) can be said to contest such structurings: "[Hayden] White observes that while the first three tropes are 'naive,' implying faith in the capacity of language to grasp the nature of things in figurative terms, the trope of irony is 'metatropological': it uses figurative language self-consciously, in order to question its claims to knowledge or truth" (5).
For Maximus the point of any understanding of Scripture is anagogy - ascent, or uplifting, to God in response to his 'descent'.
(What anagogy? Quo tendit?) "To make some headway in this difficult question," we may inquire what he has to say about time and history.(10) He certainly speaks of the temporal: for example, "the prevalence of allegory always corresponds to the unveiling of an authentically temporal destiny" (206).
This fact is of pivotal importance in reading O'Connor's work, because to reduce anagogy to analogy is to miss the fact of the supernatural that is always already in the natural world, waiting to be seen, not superadded by the artist.
Rosenmeyer doesn't consider to what extent a nature which sympathizes with the human remains an unspoken wish in pastoral, even though (as I grant) that sympathy may be displaced in favor of analogy or anagogy so as to keep nature and the human separate; the very distinctness, though, works in pastoral to preserve a ground of relation.
Anagogy became a key concept of the Anatomy, especially in the second essay; Shakespeare was the subject of three books of lectures, while Spenser's spiritual heir Milton was the subject of another; and Frye's late books on the Bible and literature follow Blake's precept that the Bible provides the "great code" of art.
While some have found in De Trinitate "one of the finest examples of what could be called Neoplatonic anagogy that remains from the ancient world," (14) Cavadini draws a more negative relationship:
Imbued with his Catholic faith, Marcel's dramas of existence communicate a powerful anagogy. They have meaning beyond the concrete temporal realm in which they occur (3) and thereby expose the sacred in the world.
The Dionysian themes of light and anagogy are reiterated in his consideration of Scripture.
To O'Connor, the logic of anagogy implies that the visible realities of this world only take on a fullness of meaning--indeed, they only become truly visible--when seen in the paradoxical light of the unseen.
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