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.

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Nevertheless, if the knowledge of faces is tacit by virtue of us perceiving them as being bigger than the sum of their parts, it seems tempting to think that the same holds for poems. In most cases, we would have no problem identifying the nature of the object of the paraphrase.

A prosaic text can be improved with the aid of a paraphrase, a typical poem is only destroyed. Thus, a proposition like John Keats’s ‘Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty’ gets its precise meaning and significance from its relation to the total context of the poem. Norwegian philosopher Kjell S. Johannessen thinks that our knowledge of artworks, of which the knowledge of the sounds of clarinet can be an example, is a brand of tacit knowledge, which he terms ‘knowledge paraaphrase familiarity.

The author of the Idylls of the King could not have.

It is almost as if the American poet were teasing us by implicitly saying, ‘Look, I have presented this text in a poetic form, therefore it is a poem, since poetry has no essential nature. Sometimes an explication is closer to a summary, which in its turn tries to give the essential meaning of a text or an utterance. In the last lines of a cleahth ‘the Homeric voice’ is suddenly silenced and a modern voice speaks instead.

Views Read Edit View history. Further, rhythm often plays an important role for the meaning of a poem and rhythm can hardly be mirrored by propositions. In this way I hope to give Brooks’s original thesis a more solid foundation.

Well, I certainly hope that my theories point in that very direction. Essays about poetry New Criticism essays.


The Heresy of Paraphrase by Cleanth Brooks

For more information please contact mpub-help umich. Faces are Gestalts and so perhaps are poems; we have seen earlier that typical poems must be regarded as herest wholes, which are greater than the sum of their parts. Brooks argued that meaning in poetry is irreducible, because “a true poem is a simulacrum of reality To be sure, I do not doubt that there are cases where poems could be paraphrased in a similar fashion o non-poetic texts.

It is important to emphasize that this type of knowledge has nothing to do with the traditional empiricist notion of perceptual knowledge. And then went down brookd the ship. 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. The deeper explanation for the non-rephrasability of poetry is that our understanding of it is basically tacit.

He did not deny that poems could be paraphrased up to a point, or that such a paraphrase can be useful in some contexts.

Defining the concepts Brooks was on the right track, and I want to use the remainder of this article to give his thesis clenth more solid foundation. Languages Polski Edit links. Add to this the importance of metaphors in a host of poems and the difficulties even impossibilities of paraphrasing metaphors, and the thesis of heresy seems quite plausible.

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

This seems plausible because when we translate a text we try to say the same thing in other words, which is tantamount to an attempt to paraphrase it. There must be some ways of finding out in an empirical fashion whether or not our understanding of praaphrase poems is tacit. Tophi Books,p. I will begin by putting forth a stipulative definition of the concept of a non-paraphrasable text on the basis of his paraphrasf I try to rejuvenate Cleanth Brooks’s old thesis about the ‘heresy of paraphrase.

It is one’s failure to recognize the poem as a poem. Such an interpretation tries to unveil hidden essences of meaning in texts and can in the case of poetry usually be expressed in a few pointed sentences. Certainly, many poems contain propositions that are easily rephrased, but we must not mistake them for the inner core of these poems.


Add to this the fact that a host of people in our world would flatly deny that Williams’s text is a poem but rather see it as a piece of everyday discourse, undeservedly called ‘a poem. The paraphrase seems like an empty shell, far removed from the complex organicity of Pound’s poem. Verbal irony appears in words.

Actually, my theory about the tacit nature of our understanding of poetry gives my analysis the virtue of testability. Eliot, was once asked by a lady what he meant by the line ‘lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree. To be sure there are important differences between the grasping of a poem and the perception of a face. In order to avoid misunderstanding, ‘textual meaning’ is not to be understood as ‘sentence meaning.

As suggested, my view is that our understanding of a non-rephrasable poem is essentially some kind of tacit know-that. We cannot grasp a poem unless we are able to identify its different parts. If it turns out that it were not the case, that fact would weaken my defence of the non-paraphrasability of typical poems. And just the very Verfremdungseffekt the effect of estrangement of taking this part of Homer and wedding it to hreesy completely brookss type of discourse, as Pound does at the end of the poem [12]is also not easily captured by a paraphrase.

Is it certain that this possible world would need the notion of poetry in order to classify the p. I think it is high time to take a look at Cleanth Brooks’s way of defending the theory of heresy. Rephrasing these lines, and for that matter the whole padaphrase, while not easy, does not seem impossible.

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. Meaning as dramatic effect is produced by setting its tensions in motion. But as I hope to show, it is well worth probing into and decidedly needs rejuvenation.