Monday, February 04, 2019

More Than Mere Ambiguity?

Carter Kaplan and I had a humorous exchange of views on the meaning of poetry. He had offered a well-written, three-paragraph anecdote on talking with his father and Cleanth Brooks about poetry and lit-crit theory, to which I responded:

I like the way rhyme and alliteration transform ordinary observations into extraordinary observations, regardless of their truth value.

In short, I like beautiful lies.

Carter retorted: Well, there are values, and then there are virtues...

To which I inquired:

How am I to read the word "then" in Carter's retort?
"Well, there are values, and then there are virtues . . ."
Do I read it temporally (sequence)? Or logically (implication)? Or differentially (contrast)?

He didn't know, he admitted, but went on to make some quite interesting points . . .

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