Josh responds thoughtfully. Here he says:

"Haven't read Stephen Prickett, but his account of an unhistorical "shared human experience" that trumps Kant (and Descartes' Cogito, too, it sounds like) sounds rather murky. Certainly one of the things that makes literature literary is its refusal to be contained by the hardening of ideology: if it does so harden we're liable to label it propaganda or doggerel. Good writing seems by definition unable to be pinned down to any single program, and maybe that does have something to do with the "double focus" of metaphor—though is metaphor why, for example, Milton's Satan is such an attractive character in spite of the confirmed Christian ideology of his creator? Metaphor as locus of indeterminacy seems to turn metaphor itself into a site of the unrealizable sublime, which is kind of an interesting idea but at least for the moment stops my thought in its tracks."

- I admit that was a weak section of my post. I haven't translated Prickett rightly there. He writes about the vagaries of "poetry" as a critical term : from ballooning out to include all human mental activity (Coleridgean creative poiesis of the human world), to restricted to representing modes of subjective feeling, leaving "objectivity" to science & history, etc.

Prickett cites A.D. Nuttall's studies of Shakespeare, where Nuttall focuses on what makes a certain work of literature compelling, and finds it where the force of particular & peculiar human characters, & their interaction - the record of experience - the record of consciences coming up against intractable difficulties - breaks through the writer's own set of social conventions & stylized formulae. This leads to a certain messiness or "indeterminacy", indeed - & yet what Nuttall returns to is that the work's very forcefulness is evidence of having reached a certain bedrock of shared experience - shared by those who recognize & respond to it. (The title of one of Nuttall's books is The Common Sky). It's the same thing that may be happening in reader's ambivalent response, as Josh mentions, to Milton's Satan.

Is there something here that tends toward a set of critical values for reading both ends of the current spectrum (from Josh's faux-naif (heart? lyric?) to "lucid" po-po-po-constructivism-ism (mind?))? Maybe - if also partaking of metaphoric "double-vision" in Prickett's sense : a readerly dialect that binds together & balances & sheds light on the antimonies & warring contraries & spiritual conundra & exigencies of conscience of the present...

I'm probably using a lot of highfalutin' soundin' phraseos for something very simple. (Anything to do with Jonathan's #3 - poem that is "bad in ways that don't matter - so good" (my paraphrase)? Authenticity? Rightness? I repeat Mandelstam's famous retort when asked by a (state-sponsored) journalist for his definition of poetry : "The poet's sense of being right.")

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