Wednesday, March 2, 2016

A Defense of Meaning

Filed under: General — Tags: — m759 @ 12:00 PM

"In certain moods the horror of a word is the meaning it defends against all comers; so metaphor is the device by which one undermines that defense. In Stevens’ 'Someone Puts a Pineapple Together,' the someone contemplates 'A wholly artificial nature, in which / The profusion of metaphor has been increased.' If you put a pineapple together and see metaphors becoming more profuse, you release yourself from psychological determinations, you become a performative gesture and are happy to find yourself in that state. But then a scruple may assert itself:

He must say nothing of the fruit that is
Not true, nor think it, less. He must defy
The metaphor that murders metaphor.

Presumably a bad metaphor murders a good one: bad in the sense of telling lies, ignoring the truths that can’t honorably be ignored."

— Denis Donoghue, "The Motive for Metaphor,"
     The Hudson Review , Winter 2013 issue

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