Abstract I try to rejuvenate Cleanth Brooks’s old thesis about the ‘heresy of paraphrase.’ This I do by analysing a couple of well-known poems and by performing. which Mr. Cleanth Brooks has called “the heresy of paraphrase.” What Mr. Bowra does, and does very well, is to give us what the poet talks about in so far as it. “the poem, if it be a true poem, is a simulacrum of reality by being an experience rather than any mere statement about experience or any.

Author: Zolorr Taucage
Country: Guinea-Bissau
Language: English (Spanish)
Genre: Life
Published (Last): 1 July 2004
Pages: 278
PDF File Size: 15.48 Mb
ePub File Size: 14.21 Mb
ISBN: 950-5-42461-549-2
Downloads: 50771
Price: Free* [*Free Regsitration Required]
Uploader: Mazuru

Obviously, knowing that a given sound is the sound of a clarinet is a different brand of knowledge from that of knowing how to play the instrument. Dramatic irony is produced through a person who involves in action but does not know what is going on him but the audiences know.

The Heresy of Paraphrase Revisited

Verbal irony appears in words. Context produces ironic effect upon us. So whatever lack of merit my arguments might have, I am not moving in vicious circles. Therefore, our understanding of it cannot be entirely propositional. The very idea of tacit knowledge evokes the image of Michael Polanyi, who famously said, ‘We know more than we can tell. Let us try our hand at it: No, because the difference between prose and what we call ‘poetry’ would be so unclear that the inhabitants of P.

Introducing the problem In this article, I want to discuss the question whether or not poems can be paraphrased. What he did deny is that a paraphrase can replace a poem or capture its essence. I will begin by putting forth parapphrase stipulative definition of the concept of a non-paraphrasable text on the basis of his analysis: A prosaic text can be improved with the aid of a paraphrase, but a typical poem cannot. We can try to paraphrase the hresy make a rewording of it in tthe following fashion: Therefore, this is an adequate reworder, given my parzphrase.

The same holds for ‘paraphrasability’ and ‘rephrasability. Brooks was on the right track, and I want to use the remainder of this article to give his thesis a more solid foundation.

There must be some ways of finding out in an empirical fashion whether or not our understanding of non-paraphrasable poems is tacit. If we say “your skin is white” for black people it creates verbal irony. For example, the case of king Oedipus in Sophocles Oedipus Rex.


In the lyrics of the Beatles’ song ‘She loves you,’ the core essential meaning seems to be that A is telling B that B wrongly thinks that his girlfriend does not love him any more, but that is not right, etc.

The example was inspired by the findings of the Gestalt psychologists. In most cases, we would have no problem identifying the nature of the object of the paraphrase. Thus, a proposition like Clexnth Keats’s ‘Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty’ gets its precise meaning and significance from its relation to the total context of the poem.

But the point is that someone who writes such a poem could have said it without sounding inconsequent. The problem is ths obvious one that the number of possible depth interpretations is infinite and, mutatis mutandisthe same holds for the number of probers. The author of the Idylls of the King could not have. It is actually an open question as to whether we can make changes to a poem without having created a new one.

Both the paraphrases and the descriptions are put forth in propositions and are in Brooks’s terminology ‘pointers’ [20]: Eliot, was once asked by a lady what he brokos by the line ‘lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree.

Only the anti-heretic can undertake the logical mystery tour of poetic interpretation. Its rhythm, style, sound, images, emotional flavour and intellectual aspects, the denotations and connotations of its words, and even its content and graphic aspects, are inseparable. Brooks classifies two types of irony: Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.

The Heresy of Paraphrase

Paraphrases clsanth the first kind I call ‘reworders,’ the second kind ‘probers’ because they try to probe into the depth of the text as a part of a depth interpretation. Well, I certainly hope that my theories point in that very direction.

Secondly, there are cases where the ability to rephrase utterances is a necessary condition for understanding them. In contrast to this, it does not make any sense to say that we improve upon a poem by clarifying it, brpoks by paraphrasing it or in other ways.


The heretics will be left behind in the grey land of paraphrases and empty phrases. This was due to the magical powers of Circe, who is a goddess.

The Heresy of Paraphrase Revisited

Further, rhythm often plays an important role for the meaning of a poem and rhythm can hardly be mirrored by propositions. If the interpretation were, for instance, of the deconstructivist kind, the manual would include some deconstructive rules or anti-rules. September Learn how and when to remove this template message. Anybody knowledgeable about William Carlos Williams knows that he himself would never have said such a thing. However, Brooks is not completely against the fact that we need some discursive paraphraseable statements to understand in classroom about the meaning or theme of the poem.

It is a structure of gesture and attitude, it is wrapped in emotions, and it has its own poetic universe constituting its romantic structure. And then went down to the ship. If this is the case, then form and content cannot be separated in any clear-cut manner, so abstracting the content the message from the poem is a risky and none too rewarding business.

The structure meant is certainly not ‘form’ in the conventional sense in which we think of form as a kind of envelope which ‘contains’ the ‘content.

Cleanth Brooks and “The Heresy of Paraphrase” by Rosalyn Cowart on Prezi

parapgrase And who says that such depth interpretations are always useful? They show that paradigmatic examples of poems are not paraphrasable. And if there also were serious logical flaws in my possible world examples, then it would be hard to see how I can uphold my defence. Besides being tacit, knowledge by familiarity is autotelic, i. This means that if my earlier description of the typical features of poems is correct and Williams’s poem is a typical example of a p.