The elusiveness of poetic meaning

Ratio 22 (4):398-420 (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Various aspects of poetic meaning are discussed, centred on the relation of form and content. A C Bradley's thesis of form-content identity, suitably reformulated, is defended against criticisms by Peter Kivy. It is argued that the unity of form-content is not discovered in poetry so much as demanded of it when poetry is read 'as poetry'. A shift of emphasis from talking about 'meaning' in poetry to talking about 'content' is promoted, as is a more prominent role for 'experience' in characterising responses to poetry and its value. It is argued that the key to poetic meaning lies less in a theory of meaning, more in a theory of poetry, where what matters are modes of reading poetry. Content-identity in poetry is said to be 'interest-relative' such that no absolute answer, independent of the interests of the questioner, can determine when a poem and a paraphrase have the same content. Interpretation of poetry need not focus exclusively on meaning, but on ways in which the experience of a poem can be heightened.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,100

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Meaning rationalism, a priori, and transparency of content.Tadeusz Szubka - 2000 - Philosophical Psychology 13 (4):491-503.
Image and Word.Günter Figal - 2003 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 7 (2):251-259.
Aesthetics and world politics.Roland Bleiker - 2009 - New York: Palgrave-Macmillan.
In Quest of harmony: Plato and confucius on poetry.Zong-qi Cai - 1999 - Philosophy East and West 49 (3):317-345.
(Kivy on) the form–content identity thesis.Kelly Dean Jolley - 2008 - British Journal of Aesthetics 48 (2):193-204.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-10-09

Downloads
129 (#141,969)

6 months
14 (#181,672)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Peter Lamarque
University of York

Citations of this work

Mental Imagery and Poetry.Michelle Liu - 2023 - Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 81 (1):24-34.
Poetry and the Possibility of Paraphrase.Gregory Currie & Jacopo Frascaroli - 2021 - The Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism 79 (4):428-439.

View all 13 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references