The Gordian Not: Appendix 5

Appendix 5: Essays towards “An Ethics of Motives” 

Speculation on the essays that would have been included in the final volume “On Human Relations” (aka “An Ethics of Motives”): tentatively

  • “The Language of Poetry, ‘Dramatistically’ Considered” (Rueckert, Essays 36-48). * Originally the first part of “Goethe’s Faust, Part I” (below).
  • “Linguistic Approach to Problems of Education,” (selections, Essays 261-82). * The original article appears in Modern Philosophies and Education , Nelson B. Henry (ed).
  • “A Dramatistic View of the Origins of Language” (LSA 419-79).
  • “Postscripts on the Negative.” Quarterly Journal of Speech 39 (April 1953): 209-16. (LSA 469-79).
  • “Goethe’s Faust, Part I” (LSA 139-62). *
  • Faust II—The Ideas Behind the Imagery” (LSA 163-85).
  • “On Words and the Word” (RR 7-42).
  • “Verbal Action in St. AugustineConfessions” (RR 43-171).
  • “The First Three Chapters of Genesis” (RR 172-272).
  • Numerous essays built around poets’ biographies that involve symbolic solutions to personal problems or which involve the generation and the purgation of guilt. Determination involves a more careful reading of essays in Language as Symbolic Action (e.g. “Version, Con-, Per-, and In- (Thoughts on Djuna Barnes’ Novel Nightwood)” given Rueckert’s characterization of the novel as a work much “concerned with the negative.” (UC 105), Rueckert’s On Human Nature, and his Essays toward a Symbolic (e.g., “Policy Made Personal: Whitman’s Verse and Prose Salient Traits.”)

* See Burke’s letter to Rueckert, August 8, 1959 (Letters 3): the Ethics is “built around the negative, as per my articles in Quarterly Journal of Speech, 52-53; my article on Faust, in Chicago Review, Spring 55 also indicates a bit of this, as does my piece on language in Modern Philosophies and Education, edited by Nelson B. Henry.”

The cluster analysis of terms to be associated with the Ethics is consistent with the above speculations. Hopefully the “notes on the fourth book” Burke planned on taking to Florida in early 1957 (Williams, UC 14) will one day be found like the manuscript SM.