The Irrational in Poetry

As the last three chapters have been devoted to the study of schemes, to balance the picture, we must in the next three chapters turn to the study of tropes, which were described in ยง5.1 as 'foregrounded irregularities of content*. We may be content to look upon these, in plain language, as linguistic effects involving something odd in the cognitive meaning of a word, a phrase, etc. To the chronically literal-minded, poetry is a variety of nonsense; the difference between gibberish and metaphorical truth may depend on the leap the imagination is prepared to take in order to render meaningful what is apparently absurd. There are different kinds of absurdity, which rhetoric and logic distinguish by such labels as 'paradox' and 'oxymoron'. Further, the notion of'irregularity of content' may be extended to include vacuity or redundancy of meaning, as in pleonasm, tautology, and circumlocution.

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    What is the irrational in poetry?
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