12 sept. 2007

Logopeia is intertextual. It depends on other uses of the word outside of the text. Not just the meaning of the word, but context where you'd expect to find it.

If somebody referred to a particular poet's logopoeia, I would think the reference was to--

Technical or specialized jargon of a particular field; antiquated or literary language, poetic diction; slang; regionalisms; neologisms; deliberate solecisms or grammatical errors; words used in their etymological sense; the creation of an individual poetic "idiolect" out of a particular selection of the available lexion; puns, verbal ambiguity; various types of verbal irony; proper names of a certain sort; syntactic figures (hyperbaton); unusual combinations of any of the above. Use of any of the above in unexpected ways.

So I don't get it when people think of Logopoeia as mostly a figure of "meaning," or the combination of meaning with sound and image. Logopoeia, I would like to think, is its own thing, not some derivative of other poetic devices. I like to think that people who don't accept my definition just don't respond to logopoeia in the first place, don't think it is important, for don't recognize that there are different kind of words.

8 comentarios:

Henry Gould dijo...

I think you've really sharpened the reading of what Pound is actually saying ! But I still think he's referring, basically, to the poet's PLAY with meaning.

Usage or lexicon are curious because a special word has been used - for a (poetical) reason - IN PLACE OF of an ordinary purely functional word.

If you take away the phano- and the melo- of a word, you're left with 1) its meaning, and 2) its own curious "verbal" character or identity. I take it your special definition is leaning on #2. & that's what most readers have missed in Pound's too-famous term.

Which leads to a corollary, however : the unique & "characteristic" quality of a particular word is consituted of 3 elements : phanopeia, melopeia, logopeia...

K. Silem Mohammad dijo...

I agree completely with the first two paragraphs of your comment, Henry. I wonder, though, what it would mean to "take away the phano- and the melo- of a word." Is that possible?

In the case of phano-, if a word has it to begin with, how can you remove it without also taking away both its meaning and its special "character or identity"? (And indeed, by the way, the question of what constitutes such a character apart from meaning and sound is exactly what is at question, isn't it?) What would be entailed, for example, in taking the phano- away from "cupcake"? Somehow causing the reader or hearer not to picture a cupcake?

As for melo-, this seems even more problematic, since it is hard to conceive of a word without sonic properties, which in turn are used as indices of meaning.

Now that I look at your comment again, is this what you yourself were getting at in your last paragraph?

Jonathan dijo...

Thanks for the comments. I think it's "not famous enough" rather than "too famous."

I didn't think HG was saying 'take away" as in remove, but take away as in 'bracket," remove from consideration. But I can't speak for Henry.

Take the word 'minstrel." It has a set of phonemes, it conjures up a visual image, it has dictionary defiintion, and it has a particular history of usage and register, a logopoeiac "smell." This "smell" does not derive from the sound of the word itself. You can [brakcet] phonology in the discussion and still have the same smell.

Henry Gould dijo...

I agree, Kasey, that you can't REALLY split off these aspects from a word... it's just a form of analysis, like Aristotle taking a single topic and viewing it through different lenses (ethics, politics, rhetoric, etc.). We muddle to diffract.

If you took away a cupcake from a blind man, he'd still understand you are a thief. That's "meaning".
A word can carry as many different shades of meaning, in different contexts, as a cupcake has colors.

What I meant by the last statement, I guess, is that while Jonathan has rightly noted a very subtle aspect of Pound's "logopeia" - the fact that words are UNIQUE, CHARACTERISTIC - not simpy bundles of "characteristics" - there might be a problem. Because once you start looking at words as "individuals", how do you analyze them? If you take "unique lexical quality" as the primary characteristic of logopeia, you may be caught in a reductio ad absurdum - that is, if each individual WORD also exhibits phano, melo, & logopeia...

Henry Gould dijo...

... but my last comment ... I was trying to sound smart, & only sounded absurd, reductio. Unless an individual word can be thought of as a poem.

Does an individual word have analyzable visual, sonic, and lexical aspects? Yes. Is the 3rd of these the domain of "logopeia"? Yes. Do we define logopeia, in part, as the application of the uniqueness, the special "wordiness", of a word, in a poem? Yes.

It's at this point that we enter the hall of infinitely-receding mirrors. Borges is standing at the end of the hall, whispering "nada".

John dijo...

H.W. Fowler has an article in "Modern English Usage" on the humorous use of fancy words that seems related to logopoeia. Fowler deplored it in writing and forgave it in speech. Your post, Jonathan, makes me wonder whether it used to be much more common than it is now, and whether a fair amount of Marianne Moore (whom I love) isn't related to it.

An example of what Fowler is talking about would be the "translation" of the old, old song "Show Me the Way to Go Home."

"Show me the way to go home
I'm tired and I want to go to bed"

. . . gets translated into . . .

"Indicate the direction of my particular abode
I'm fatigued and I want to expire"

As Fowler predicts, it works better sung than written.

The discussion makes me think of rhetorical decorum, that Fowler's bete noire & Pound's logopoeia both depend on the violation of rhetorical decorum by vocabularistic miscegenation.

Interesting post -- thanks.

John dijo...

Correction (dept. of embarrassment):

That should be:

"I'm fatigued and I want to *retire*"


John dijo...

Another correction (daaaang):

"Indicate the direction of my habitual abode"

NOT "particular abode."

My apologies.