Creative non-fiction / April 2018 (Issue 39)

On Analogism (1922)

by Hirato Renkichi, translated into English by Sho Sugita

I categorised a few of my new experiments in "Developments in the Four New Poetic Movements of 1921" from last year.

The four developments were as follows:

1 Temporal-Futurist Poetry

2 Spatial-Cubist Poetry


4 Post-Expressionist Poetry or Analogist Poetry (IMAGISME + EXPRESSIONISME = ANALOGISME = a complete expression of both indwelling and outward images)

I will not say, however, that Futurism is solely temporal. From my own understanding of this movement, temporality is just a point of emphasis. The same goes for Cubism, where spatiality is something I want to especially stress.

I think I may be the first to declare the claims of Post-Expressionism or Analogism—I should start from its conclusions.

I believe the artistic core of Expressionism rising after the war was in the incarnation of the indwelling spirit. In response, the artistic core of Imagism, a movement promoted in the last few years by a group of poets from England and America, is a reflex against reality. I combine the two dissociated but necessary modern artistic values into one. That is my Analogism.

Why did Imagism come to existence? An image is the memory of sensation and its totality towards an object. Reacting against the banalities of the Naturalists who saw things as things, the Imagists place stress on image. Their sensibility is much too sharp and complex to simply see things as things. They select the shortcomings of reality from their own memory of sensation and its totality, reimagining them as one superior form. Thus, this group utilises a variety of symbole et allégorie and complex adjectives.

However, that is only a partial development of realism, similar to the turning point of the pictorial arts from Impressionism to post-Impressionism. Hence, from the divination of objectivity and amplification of subjectivity, these two original promises of the lyric are now ruptured and reimagined only as the duplicated divination of objectivity. And, this relationship between the internal and external can now be explained with the following diagram. (The point shown demonstrates the necessity of a "central assembly" (concentration) or fulcrum of poetry, put forth by Amy Lowell, a talented poet of this group. However, as shown in the diagram, this fulcrum is only made from the point of conflict between the reality-line and sensation-line.)

My frustration over Imagism lies here. Of course, in terms of various methods of expressions necessary for writing poetry, there are often situations that these forms of expression are appropriate for; however, this method cannot be made a golden rule.

Why did Expressionism come to existence? Expression is a word against Impression, a binary opposition. In place of Impressionist art that makes an objective to enjoy coincidental natural phenomena, Expressionists scheme a great triumph for the indwelling spirit (lyrical spirit).

The reason being, people too often conformed to reality, added weight to reality and served to abuse human sensation. And the pathos of reality was first made aware in the midst of the utter death experienced during the Great War. In any case, once God was destroyed, Europeans who embodied human existence through materials became dissatisfied with the weakness of material culture, once again challenging materials through the indwelling heart of God, planting it inside materials and trying to conquer it. It is true that Paul Claudel's lyrical spirit (people who want to understand this spirit in further detail should read my review on Paul Claudel in the January 1921 issue of New Literature) had infected the young German Expressionists. Although Paul Claudel's incarnation of the indwelling spirit in L'Annonce faite à Marie does not portray a complete picture of German Expressionist attitudes, there is a good commentary by Yoshie Kogan:

This could be thought of as a kind of mystery play. The young girl Violaine knowingly kisses a man suffering from leprosy out of pity and compassion, and ends up contracting the disease. At that time, her father departs on a long journey. Before his departure, he contemplates finding spouses for his daughters Violaine and Mara, and chooses his neighbour Jacques for his older daughter Violaine. However, the younger daughter Mara is also in love with this man, and because she persecutes her older sister, Violaine leaves everything behind to wander off to a remote place. The simple villagers respect Violaine and admit the miracle in her behaviour. Her younger sister Mara eventually experiences something of a divine punishment, as her daughter is born blind and is on the verge of death. As Mara unknowingly seeks a woman of miracles in the snow, Violaine softly hugs the child in her arms, and the child opens his eyes as he is rebirthed. Mara raises her voice, crying out "your love made you a mother," though her jealousy desiccates her soul, leading her to kill her own sister. Forgiving everything, Violaine takes her last breath, searching for happiness as she faces her own death. She will eventually be rebirthed inside the sacred icon in the church that is carved by Pierre de Craon, the leper sculptor Violaine initially gave compassion for.

This is proclaiming the personification and materialisation of God's sacred love. Motherhood is born from love, and though love inflicts pain to the body, it lets death lay in ashes in order to seek eternal happiness from within. It is the shape of communication between God and men. As Claudel declared that "God lies in persons of integrity," Claudel's God emerges inside humanity even if He cannot be seen with our naked eyes. He appears through humanity. Characters portrayed by Claudel are the materialisation of the abstract, or better yet the materialisation of truth. This is where his new technique is demonstrated.

Like this commentary on Claudel, the essential core of Expressionism comes down to the incarnation of the indwelling spirit. But here lies a kind of anxiety and crisis. That is, as Diebold claims, "Expressionism is only one particular possibility of art. A particular crisis—the underground that gives birth to a particular art of the future." I will reflect upon this particular crisis.

Like Imagism, Expressionism incarnates reality through the indwelling spirit in place of sensualising reality through sense. This is where the pressure and rise and courage against one's passionate inward thoughts are found, and this is also where the two original promises of lyrical poetry—the divination of objectivity and amplification subjectivity—are reclaimed. However, like the next diagram shows, the two equilateral triangles coexist, and at the apex of these pyramids, both triangles form two vectors that create a point of conflict.

Whether Futurist, Cubist, Imagist, or any other kind of art, all forms of bruiteur (boisterous) art in a transitional period possess this point of conflict, and that is the central core of the fulcrum.

The flaw of Expressionism is ultimately in the exultation of the indwelling spirit. And that incarnation is too supernatural. Its flaw is in how too mysterious and too miraculeux it is. At times we use our sixth sense++++++ to experience various kinds of miracles, and we may even be able to experience the ultimate reality. And by way of our keen senses, we may be able to break through the three "dimensions" of this world, peering into the quatrième dimension that exists in the depth beyond that depth—no, that we can certainly achieve …… However, the question is to what extent will that amount for in our daily lives—after all, do we not only dream while we are asleep, ah!

I will take one step forward from here, and I will seek an analogy between reality and the indwelling spirit. Furthermore, I will stress an absolute Co-Expressionism. Like the next diagram shows, that signifies an absolute trinity of mind and body.

Analogy compensates for the rupture between Imagism and Expressionism to become an absolute form. The removal of the deficient indwelling spirit put forth by Imagism, and the removal of the deficient reality put forth by Expressionism—these are bound together by analogy. An analogy dissolves the sensation and latency against reality, completely breaks down the wall between the internal and external, and mediates an art with unified concentricity. To this end, Analogism is the discovery of psychological relativity in art.

The Futurist Marinetti is a pioneer of this analogy, and he explains this in his 1912 Manifeste technique de la littérature futuriste:

To this day, writers have been restricted to direct analogies. For example, they have compared an animal to a man or to another animal. However, that kind of analogy is akin to searching for a likeness in photography. For instance, there is a kind of dog called a fox terrier. These have been compared to a very small horse. Others may take one step further to compare that same fox terrier to a little telegraph machine, and I may compare it to gurgling water. In this way, the limits of analogies are consequently expanded and deepened.

Analogy is nothing more than the deep love that assembles distant but seemingly diverse and hostile things.

However, the analogy Marinetti mentions here is primarily a way to make imagination (according to Marinetti, L'Imagination Sans fils.) fresh and plentiful, and it has a similar quality to the Imagist reflex. For the Futurist praising materiality, "by means of plentiful analogies, this orchestral design of art, at once polychrome, polyphonique and polymorphe, can embrace all human life." Then, relating to that, what is aiding their hostility and destruction against conventional or intellectual language usage and syntax can be seen in the ingenious use of the word FUMER laid out with pride in the shape of smoke.

Of course, that "analogy is nothing more than the deep love that assembles distant but seemingly diverse and hostile things" is a fine idea put forth by Marinetti, but the problem also starts here.

As a vehicle of imagination, I am moved by something more inevitable than the destruction of usage and syntax. That is to say, the inability of the lyric to execute the parallel relationship between the internal and external is made into a completely harmonious fluid form with the use of analogy. This fluid form is not only a unified symbol of words, unified expression of senses, unified coding of things or a pairing of these elements, but rather a complete unified expression of the lyrical spirit and real sensation created through a mirror we call an analogy. That is my Analogism. (It is my hope that this can be seen in my examples provided in the "Developments in the Four New Poetic Movements of 1921.") What modern poets are trying to compose is complex. At times our approaches are Futurist, at other times they are Cubist, Imagist, Expressionist and then Analogist—this is quite natural and requires no explanation. At the same time I am the discoverer of Analogism, I will give fair warning that this is not my sole method of expression.

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