Kalas 2007

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Kalas, Rayna. Frame, Glass, Verse: The Technology of Poetic Invention in the English Renaissance. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2007.
"My aim is to render visible both the special orchestration of language that framing once named and the pictorial logic of the modern frame. And my method is guided by the premise that this earlier form of framing stands in distinction, but not in opposition, to the modern frame. To stand in opposition to the modern frame is precisely to be framed by its logic. And the early modern framing of language, though it shares none of the abstract logic of the modern quadrilateral frame, does share something of that very frame's practical and liminal character. The central claim of the book, then, is that a predominant strain of poetic language and theory in the English Renaissance recognized poesy as techne rather than aesthetics, and figurative language as framed or tempered matter, rather than verbalized concepts." (xi)

Heidegger, "The Question Concerning Technology" -- "To read this essay through the language of framing brings forth the possibility of realizing poetry as a kind of technology and of recognizing technology in a way that admits the presence of poetry within it." (xiv)

"For a great many English writers of the 16c, the principal question was not how words relate to things, but how the crafting of language related to the crafting of things." (xvi)

"Taking into account the techne of poesy makes it possible to recognize poetic language as an instrument of figuration that partakes of worldly reality rather than as an artifact or concept that reflects reality by observing the mimetic conventions of pictorial representation. In short, by distancing Renaissance poetry from its modern reception as an aesthetic object, this book seeks to restoe poesy to its earlier use as a technology and a form of making." (1)
"Whereas for modern readers the imaginative register of the poem is a form of ideality, for Renaissance readers who understood the imagination to be a kind of visceral platform of sensory processing from which the higher function of the intellect draws its reason, the imagination testifed to the physical embodiment of the mind. Like the word seen on a page or a sound that is heard, the poetic image or conceit leaves an impression on the imagination, which is itself of this world; the imagination is created matter, not spiritual essence." (2)
"Because the word was both Logos and matter, because at the Creation God framed the universe of matter and the crystalline spheres of the heavens, because all of matter was a mirror of the divine idea, innovations in framing, glassmaking, and poesy were perceived uniquely to mingle matter and meaning, the finite and the infinite, the natural and the artificial, the word and the image." (3)
"My aim is to reinvigorate a sense that the temporality of the Renaissance accommodated the poetic sensibility that certain universals or general principles abide in particularities, and thus that the particularities of English poetry can and should inform our overall sense of the Renaissance." (5)
"In England, framing had a rich conceptual, lexical, and material history quite independent of painting, before it became associated with pictorial enclosure. In the 16c, framing referred to the immanence of a being or a thing: its internal orchestration rather than its external demarcation. Framing described a thing in potentia coming into presence as matter." (8)
"All acts of framing were shaped and determined by the materials framed -- for this reason Renaissance framing is more aptly described as a technology than as an idea or a concept." (8)

archaeological method

"Just as Foucault looked to the Classical era to expose the relationship of the subject to representation, and to avoid crafting a world picture of his own, I look to the Renaissance to expose the epistemology of subject and object in the framing of discursive concepts, and to avoid framing the Renaissance. Whereas Foucault finds a tabula in the place of the aesthetics of the picture, I propose a technology of framing in the place of the epistemology of framing." (21)
"By stripping away the mystification of progressive diachronic time, and the framed periods that are its counterpoint, my aim is to reconstitute the tangible, material, and temporal underpinnings of transparency in language and representation and to explore the material craft of figurative language -- the 'how' of its revealing -- as both techne and poesis." (21)

The Frame before the Work of Art

example of reliquaries in which the art in the center actually frames the relic bones on the periphery/frame (23)

"Rather than being centered on the depiction alone, the ritual significance of such a sacred object would seem to be conveyed through the totality of materials composing the image." (26)
"Neither the decorative border of a fresco, nor the drollery marking off a narrative scene in an illuminated manuscript, nor the cartouche in a map, to name just a few examples, would have been called a frame before the 16c." (27)
"As the word frame began to be used to refer to the picture frame, it brought the production of images into contact with the rhetoric of framing as poiesis, the making of language and matter." (28)
"When frame was used as a noun, it referred to the internal design rather than the external ornamentation of a thing: the timber frame of a building, for instance, or the frame of the universe. The meanings that predate the 17c tend to evoke skeletal forms of organization, forms that are often now subsumed under the more specific attribution framework." (29)

comparison of use of 'frame' in inventories of paintings of H8 and C1; 'frame' only began to be applied to pictures when canvas replaced wood as ground for paintings, as the substance of the painting was no longer contiguous with its frame (31)

compare to transformation of painting from artisinal craft to fine art (32)

"The work of art itself remained a durable and permanent fixture, while the frame ecame expendable and, like clothing, subject to fashion." (33)
"It is as though the frame took upon itself all the worldly or commercial taint involved in the work of art having become a commodity." (34)
"Art became the mystified product of genius, and the frame, it seems, became an object much like any other." (34)
"The dismantling of sacred objects in 16c England suggests less a desire to dismiss or avoid images per se than an active need to divest crafted images of their iconic status and to present them as material artifice." (35)

painted reliquaries are "matter suffused with divinity" (35); "The panel invites a devotional practice that is attentive to the significance of matter itself: it prompts the viewer to look into the materials at hand for their meaning and purpose rather than looking past them" (35-6)

"glass, above all other materials, demonstrates most clearly a devotional and heuristic practice in which worldly matter was simultaneously recognized as both a physical reality and a transparent screen through which the suffusion of divinity in matter may be glimpsed." (39-41)
"Glass, its eems, was a material support and structuring device for both communal didactic imagery and the hortatory imagery of private devotional contemplation." (41)
"Wood and glass, image and text, are all part of the apparatus that makes possible the visibility and interpretation of the sacred material fragments." (42)

Richard Day, Booke of Christian Prayers (1590), woodcut frames around text ; "inverts our expectations of center and margin" (43)

"In the printed prayer manuals, the central text may be said to function as transparent material, material to be looked through. Yet the border around it reiterates the ritual 'hours' of contemplation and anchors contemplation to its worldly and temporal circumstance." (45)
"The Renaissance frame belongs neither to poetry nor painting. It might, in fact, be more accurate to say that the Renaissance frame is the material foil to the paragone of poetry and painting." (46)
"Framing, precisely because it was both a craft and an art, whould encourage us to think not merely about the practical and material foundations from which modern concepts emerged, but also about the continuously shifting relations of matter and meaning in history." (49)

The Craft of Poesy and the Framing of Verse

"Framing frequently indicated the conjoining or the conversion of one mediium, or one means, to another -- collective knowledge to manual skill, painting to poetry, the imaginary to the sensible -- and in every case, it demonstrated the indivisibility of meaning and matter." (54)
"That the word frame should appear so frequently in he poetic and rhetorical manuals indicates teh degree to which language itself was recognized as worldly matter. There are echoes, in these uses of frame, of the medieval notion of the poet as maker, but the specificity of framing in these tracts also distinguishes this 16c notion of making from earlier connotations." (54)
"Frame captures the sense that the word is a material creation and that material creation is a text. It indicates that poetic making was a material and tecnical process of joining or admixing the already extant matter of words and of tempering song with image." (55)

"poetic framing of language ... connects subjects to objects, and brings the subject into the stream of language" (56)

Sidney, "A Defence of Poetry"

"the craft of framing verse echoes not only the structure but the 'method' of material creation: all that is made and named, in 'essence' and 'effect,' is orchestrated within the frame of the universe" (59)

Thomas Nashe, Gabriel Harvey

"To foreground the technologies of language is to demonstrate that the materiality of language is always an index of language as labor" (64)

"In writing, perhaps more than any other craft, personality is techne. Where language is understood to be temporal matter and writing is understood to be a trade and a craft, personality is no more than an implement, a technique of making, not an authority or an identity." (66)
"Nashe openly courts penury and abjection through the expenditure or wasting of language; he recognizes language as a machinery of recombinant parts that precedes and outlasts any given book or speaker; and he sees the potential for printed language to create collectivities of persons unknown to one another. True authority for Nashe is not a social position but the reanimation of collective forms achieved by dissolving identitarian authority into the sociability of verbal play." (75)
"The activity of framing is not one that maintains, either syntacticaly or semantically, a sharp distinction between subject and object. Framing describes activities, including thoughts in which agency is coextensive with environs and effects. Frame denotes actions that are not confined to the subject or agent but pass over onto the object or, even more frequently, take their cue from the object." (77)
"The question that stands open is, for me, whether materialist critics have fully considered the role of figurative language in social history. And what I am suggesting is that the temporality of language in the 16c, which can be observed in past uses of frame, presents a materialist poetics that might serve as both a historical and a philosophical alternative to the modern framing of language as either figure or concept, but never matter and meaning conjoined in time." (81)

The Tempered Frame