Monday, August 04, 2014

Varieties of Patterns in Literature

Literary texts likely have a variety of patterns in them. The existence of carefully created patterns is, indeed, one of the hallmarks of all art. Those patterns can be exhibited in patterns of symmetry and asymmetry and/or other kinds of complementary opposites, as demonstrated in the work of Hector Sabelli, who has demonstrated biotic patterns in a variety of processes, including poetry. However, biotic patterns are very complex patterns; what about more simple patterns? There are also chaotic/fractal patterns, which I have suggested elsewhere emerge in literary works as well as patterns of theme words.

 But both of these processes are necessarily created unconsciously. In all literature, but most obviously in poetry in particular, the artist also crafts patterns. Formal verse makes this process most clear. Regular rhythms and patterns of rhyme, ranging from alliteration to end rhyme, consonance and assonance, are consciously used by formalist poets. The more obvious the patterns, the more conscious the patterns. And those patterns necessarily interact with the more complex unconscious patterns of chaos and bios as well.

 All of this suggests we need to look at all the kinds of patterns which emerge and are used in literary works. This includes the kinds of network patterns being investigated by people like Franco Moretti, whose work is described here. I believe, like Moretti, that there are laws of literature and that we can discover them in discovering the patterns within works of literature. These laws are also the laws of the mind, meaning we will learn more about our own minds by learning more about the laws and patterns (but I repeat myself) of literature.
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