The Philosophy of Poetry

The Philosophy of Poetry

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In recent years philosophers have produced important books on nearly all the major arts: the novel and painting, music and theatre, dance and architecture, conceptual art and even gardening. Poetry is the sole exception. This is an astonishing omission, one this collection of original essays will correct. If contemporary philosophy still regards metaphors such as 'Juliet is the sun' as a serious problem, one has an acute sense of how prepared it is to make
philosophical and aesthetic sense of poems such W. B. Yeats's 'The Second Coming', Sylvia Plath's 'Daddy', or Paul Celan's 'Todesfuge'. The Philosophy of Poetry brings together philosophers of art, language, and mind to expose and address the array of problems poetry raises for philosophy. In doing so it lays
the foundation for a proper philosophy of poetry, setting out the various puzzles and paradoxes that future work in the field will have to address. Given its breadth of approach, the volume is relevant not only to aesthetics but to all areas of philosophy concerned with meaning, truth, and the communicative and expressive powers of language more generally. Poetry is the last unexplored frontier in contemporary analytic aesthetics, and this volume offers a powerful demonstration of how central
poetry should be to philosophy.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 264 pages
  • 160 x 227 x 22mm | 450g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0199603677
  • 9780199603671
  • 1,180,182

Table of contents

Introduction ; 1. Semantic Finegrainedness and Poetic Value ; 2. The Dense and the Transparent: Reconciling Opposites ; 3. Poetic Opacity: How to Paint Things with Words ; 4. Unreadable Poems and How They Mean ; 5. Can an Analytic Philosopher Read Poetry? ; 6. The Spoken and the Written: An Ontology of Poetic Works ; 7. Poetry & Truth ; 8. Poetry's Knowing: So What Do We Know? ; 9. Celan's Song: Pictures, Poetry, and Epistemic Value ; 10. The Inner Paradise ; 11. 'To Think Exactly and Courageously': Poetry, Ingeborg Bachmann's Poetics, and her Bohemia Poem ; Index
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Review Text

Overall ... this is an important and well-edited volume that exhibits a wide variety of topics, styles, and approaches. M.W. Rowe, Australasian Journal of Philosophy
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Review quote

This splendid collection of solidly documented, beautifully argued essays on modern poetry as an object of philosophical scrutiny works hard to catch up with similar philosophical attention to the visual arts. Gibson (philosophy, Univ. of Louisville) provides an ambitious introduction-though this reviewer wishes the suggestions for further reading had included George Steiner, I. A. Richards, and William Empson. Roger Scruton is the heavyweight contributor...His
observations about poetry and prose and about T. S. Eliot are invaluable...Proud of their analytic skills, philosophers turn out to be masterful readers of modern lyric poetry. Readers will be grateful that the notes are at the base of the page...Highly Recommended. * C.A.Riley II, CHOICE * [T]his is a useful and stimulating collection of some of the best current work on poetry from a mostly philosophical perspective. * Ole Martin Skilleas, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews * a long-awaited collection of essays that is bound to inspire philosophical reflections on poetry for years to come ... A must-read not only for philosophers of art but for literary critics and poetry aficionados, The Philosophy of Poetry is a rewarding and inspiring read that should not be missed. * Iris Vidmar, Journal of Aesthetics and Art Criticism * The volume includes eleven very interesting essays which focus mainly on issues around the meaning of poetry (and in particular its opacity, density, and complexity), as one would expect from analytic philosophers and critics at the present day. * Ines Morais, Forma de Vida * Overall ... this is an important and well-edited volume that exhibits a wide variety of topics, styles, and approaches. * M.W. Rowe, Australasian Journal of Philosophy *
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About John Gibson

John Gibson is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Louisville. His research focuses on topics in the philosophy of literature and aesthetics. He is the author of Fiction and the Weave of Life (OUP, 2007) and coeditor of Narrative, Emotion and Insight (Pennsylvania State University Press, 2011), The Literary Wittgenstein (Routledge, 2004), A Sense of The World: Essays on Fiction, Narrative, and Knowledge
(Routledge, 2007), and the forthcoming The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Literature. He is currently working on a manuscript titled Poetry, Metaphor, and Nonsense: An Essay on Meaning.
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