Session Two Søren Hattesen Balle English Department of Culture and Identity Introduction: the summary assignment for today and next time Introduction: today’s session Presentation: the genre of poetry reading and analyzing poetry Class room discussion: William Wordsworth, ”Lines Composed a Few Miles above Tintern Abbey” (1798) Wordsworth’s poem as poetry and the role of the lyric speaker J. Culler: poetics, rhetoric, poetry Poetics: the description of the conventions and reading operations that make literary (or textual) effects possible (representation/imitation) Rhetoric: the study of the persuasive and expressive resources of language in discourse (persuasion/eloquence) Poetry: language that makes abundant use of figures of speech and other linguistic acts (representation + persuasion) Poetry contains images and/or figurative language What is imagery and figurative language? ”..all the objects and qualities of sense perception ..” (Abrams) The vehicles of figurative language, especially metaphors and similes Figurative language: an alteration or swerve from ’ordinary’ usage (order of words or meaning) The distinction between the figurative and the literal Metaphor as literary effect: to see something as something else ( (tenor/vehicle/ground): metaphor/simile Metaphor as a basic way of knowing: problematizing the literal/figurative distinction Genre as a set of conventions and expectations → generates particular reading protocols (sub-)genres or types of poetry: lyric, epic/narrative, dramatic Relation of speaker to audience: Lyric: 1st person speaker/speaking to himself or someone else Narrative: speaker and characters speaking/speaking to a listening audience Dramatic: speaker concealed from audience and characters/characters speaking among themselves Persona, tone, voice: Persona: the (lyric) speaker of the poem or poet-speaker Tone: the expression of a literary speaker’s attitude to whom or what he/she is addressing ’Implied audience’ Voice: ’implied author’ The complexity of voice in literature and poetry Imagery, figurative language and poetic voices/speakers have to be interpreted to create meaning How to read, analyze, and interpret poetry? Poetry as structure or event The poem as a structure of words The study of the relation between meaning and the non-semantic features of language Sound and sight in poetry: ’babble’ and ’doodle’/’charm’ and ’riddle’ (N. Frye) Meaning(?) and sound: alliteration, assonance, metre, rhyme, etc. Meaning (?) and sight: stanza, lineation, enjambment, figurative language, etc. Sound and sight in ”Tintern Abbey”: do they create meaning? The poem as event The role of the speaking voice of poetry The three voices of poetry (at least!): Author, lyric speaker (persona), implied author Poetry as the imitation of ordinary speech acts or poetry as poetry as the imitation of poetry itself? As discourse or as (literary) ’text’? Meaning(?) and poetic voice: The paradox of poetic voice: extravagance/the ’sublime’ vs. the rhetorical figure of apostrophe, personification, prosopopoeia, hyperbole ”Voice calls in order to be calling” (J. Culler, p. 78): ”Lyrics, we might say, strives to be an event” – in language, we might add… (Lyric ) poetry as ”the foregrounding and making strange of language” (J. Culler) The signifiers of poetry reconstitutes its signifieds: form/content The nature of interpretation in poetry: part and whole – the hermeneutic circle (cf. Abrams, ”Interpretation and Hermeneutics”) The limits of hermeneutic interpretation: the role of intertextuality and polyphony in poetry Why has Wordsworth decided on a very elaborate titling of his poem? What type of poem is Wordsworh’s poem (lyric, epic, dramatic)? Characterize the speaker of the poem? What is the relation of the speaker to ’nature’ in the poem? Characterize the tone of the speaker? How is the poem organized and structured? What is the thematic importance of its organization/structure? Outline the speaker's reasons for entreating his sister to go out alone at night in the wind and rain. Which role does ‘voice’ play in the poem?