Organic Unity is the idea that a thing is made up of interdependent parts. For example, a body is made up of its constituent organs, or a society is made up of its constituent social roles.
In literature, Organic unity is a concept founded by the philosopher, Plato. The structure in itself, started to take rudimentary form through certain works by Plato including The Republic, Phaedrus and Gorgias. Organic unity lacked a true definitive role or theme in literary history until the principle was adopted by Aristotle. Aristotle’s writings all maintained respective, metaphoric reflections of organic unity. In Aristotle’s Poetics, organic unity is described by how writing relies internally on narration and drama to remain cohesive to one another, not as separate entities. Without balance on both sides, the whole concept suffers. The main theme of organic unity relies on a free spirited style of writing and by following any guidelines or genre-based habits, the true nature of a work becomes stifled and unreliable on an artistic plane.
The concept of organic unity gained popularity through the New Critics movement. Cleanth Brooks played an integral role in modernizing the organic unity principle. In a study that took the poem The Well Wrought Urn as an example, Brooks relayed the importance of a work’s ability to flow and maintain a theme, so that the work can only gain momentum, from beginning to end. Organic unity is the common thread that keeps a theme from becoming broken and disjointed as a work moves forward.
- (Encyclopædia Britannica)
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