Monday, October 24, 2011
The False Intention
I understand what Wimsatt and Beardsley are saying, and I agree with them on the most part. An author shouldn't be judged based on their intention in writing the poem and whether or not the achieved that goal. This actually compliments Longinus' idea of "Sublimity" really well because they both say that looking at the literature as a work of art is more about its effect on the audience and less about the intention of the author. Longinus tends to deal more with the authorial control of the piece of literature while Wimsatt and Beardsley seem to minimize the authors importance in poetry. They even go so far as to say that poets "plan too much" (361). This seems to tell me that poets should just be a conduit through which the audience can view the world, but that seems to do a disservice to the poet. The conduit metaphor seems to work quite well actually, now that I have described it as such. This can even relate back to McCloud's idea of "identity vacuum" (as I like to call it), as we are forced into the mind of the poet when reading his work and we often times have no idea what this person looks like (they could just be a blank smiley face for all we know) so we are forced into viewing the world as they view it. And the author's magnitude of sublimity drastically affects this conduit. I just don't think that the poets skill with words should be totally relegated, that a poet does not have the ability to manipulate his work in order to manipulate his audience. If we think all the way back to Socrates, he definitely argues that writing is a skill, and skills can be developed and controlled according to the author's intentions. I think that, in this regardes anyway, Socrates is at odds with Wimsatt and Beardsley and that Socrates wins this round.