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Kilroy Essay | Critical Essay #7

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Critical Essay #7

Many poets wince automatically whenever any critic paraphrases their poems, as if an elephant were trampling on butterfly wings. The "heresy of paraphrase" it is called. To be sure paraphrase is helpful only in conjunction with the other tools of criticism. By itself, paraphrase is inadequate because it gives only the What of a poem, not the How. Nevertheless, a lucid rendering of the What can usually throw a little more light on the How, form and content being inseparable. Even a little light helps inasmuch as our new credo must be that communication is artistic, obscurity inartistic, and a deep simplicity the first virtue.

The use of words like "heresy" in current criticism is typical. It is a hierarchical word, deriding the non-élite reader. It helps show how pontifical discussions of poetry have become since the triumph of the Eliotizing epigones. Such ruling trends (penny-wise...

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This section contains 769 words
(approx. 3 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Kilroy Study Guide
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Kilroy from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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