Email me at jmayhew at ku dot edu
"The very existence of poetry should make us laugh. What is it all about? What is it for?"
“El subtítulo ‘Modelo para armar’ podría llevar a creer que las
diferentes partes del relato, separadas por blancos, se proponen como piezas permutables.”
I'm enjoying the considered linguistic and philosophical controversy my maxim has inspired. At one point Mark Liberman at Language Log considers an aspect of my aphorism and says it is "touching, but stupid." In a subsequent post he tempers this observation. And here we have the gist of the debate between heart and mind, emotion and expression, I was getting at in my simple aphorism. This dictum grows partly out of my experience as a pyschoanalyst. I was, in fact, mainly thinking of quantity, not quality, when I spoke of a multiple of the words in the dictionary not being adequate for the feelings of one person in a single day. I would conjecture that Joyce was trying to make a similar point In Finnigans Wake about the extent, range, complexity and rapidity of individual experience. There is the illusion that literary or journalistic writing can render the entirety of internal experience; while it can only, on occasion, adequately or brilliantly suggest or gesture towards it in a metaphorical, symbolic or allegorical way, such efforts can never be exhaustive or literal. Philosophers, psychologists, poets and fiction writers can, at best, apply to everyday experience what Santayana called a "conceptural net"- while more than a few of the fish will swim right through.
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