Stafford, Barbara - University of Chicago
Ann Arbor, MI - University of Michigan - Michigan League Michigan Room
In music theory, underscore refers to how it is that the buried thread of a melody is able to stay out of the way of the dialogue and yet still influence it. Similarly, Romantic “grammars of expression” sought to uncover the mind’s subterranean intuiting and interpreting machinery externalized in the skeletal formats underlying all complex artistic production. J.H. Fuseli and William Blake maintained that the conceptual content of an image could not be perceived by the viewer if it did not appeal to early preverbal forms of affective thought—that is, to nonconscious integrating processes. This sensuous knowing is typical of oral cultures in general where magical media have a life of their own and materialize the absent body, memory, imagination into an intuitive scaffolding supporting an ascending scale of complex forms.