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Abstract I try to rejuvenate Cleanth Brooks’s old thesis about the ‘heresy of paraphrase.’ This I do by analysing a couple of well-known poems and by performing. which Mr. Cleanth Brooks has called “the heresy of paraphrase.” What Mr. Bowra does, and does very well, is to give us what the poet talks about in so far as it. “the poem, if it be a true poem, is a simulacrum of reality by being an experience rather than any mere statement about experience or any.

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Such an interpretation tries to unveil hidden essences of meaning in texts and pzraphrase in the case of poetry usually be expressed in a few pointed sentences. Further, I will try to explain the non-paraphrasability of poems by the means of my contention that our knowledge of them is typically tacit.

We might imagine a possible world P. But as I hope to show, it is well worth probing into and decidedly needs rejuvenation. Pound’s poem can therefore be subsumed under my definition of a non-paraphrasable text. For example, the case of parqphrase Oedipus in Sophocles Oedipus Rex. The heretics will be left behind in the grey land of paraphrases and empty phrases. The very idea of tacit knowledge hte the image of Michael Polanyi, who famously said, ‘We know more than we can tell.

The Heresy of Paraphrase

Therefore, our understanding of it cannot be entirely propositional. The whole is bigger than the sum of its parts; a poem is a holistic phenomenon.

So some paraphrasability seems possible, which of course does not prove that there are fully paraphrasable utterances. Moreover, attempts at a complete paraphrase of poems tend to need metaphors in order to capture their meaning, but these metaphors in their turn stand in need of a paraphrase. Can we test the theory if we cannot paraphrase it, for instance ,if we think that its original formulation is not clear enough for testing?


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The Heresy of Paraphrase by Cleanth Brooks

Sometimes an explication is closer to a summary, which in its turn tries to give the essential meaning of a text or an utterance. The same holds for ‘paraphrasability’ and ‘rephrasability. The reason is that there could have been a convention saying that a man’s name must be mentioned first because males are more important than females.

Is it a paraphrase of a novel, everyday discourse in a pre-modern civilisation, a fairy-tale, an epic or a modern poem? Let us assume that we show this paraphrase to a stranger, who neither knows Pound’s poem nor Homer’s epic and ask him what kind of a text this is. I think it is high time to take a look at Cleanth Brooks’s way of defending the theory of heresy.

Further, such a description would consist of a series of propositions. That evidence we can only get if he can rephrase it. The fact that this school of criticism does not exist anymore is perhaps one of the explanations for the fact that the thesis of heresy has not been discussed much in recent years.

Eliot, was once asked by a lady what heredy meant by the line ‘lady, three white leopards sat under a juniper tree. It cannot capture the particular rhythm of the poem, which suggests among other things the movements of the ship. Articles lacking sources from September All articles lacking sources.


Consider the following lines from Ezra Pound’s ‘Canto I’ [10]which incidentally paraaphrase to a large extent of a translation boroks Homer’s Ulysses: The vleanth of the material sets the problem to be solved, and the solution is the ordering of the material I am sorry, the plums were tasty, they were very sweet and cold.

However, Brooks is not completely against the fact that we need some discursive paraphraseable statements to understand in classroom about the meaning or theme of the poem. Its rhythm, style, sound, images, emotional flavour and intellectual aspects, the denotations and connotations of its words, and even its content and graphic aspects, are inseparable.

The attempted paraphrase of ‘Canto I’ also counts in favour of the thesis. Context produces ironic effect upon us.

The Heresy of Paraphrase Revisited

This means that if my earlier description of the typical features of poems is correct and O poem is a typical example of heressy p. What he did deny is that a paraphrase can replace a poem or capture its essence.

Actually, my theory about the tacit nature of our understanding of poetry gives my analysis the virtue of testability. We might even say, conversely, that paraphrase is a kind of translation.

Now, does this mean that the thesis of heresy is wrong?