Susan Stewart

in The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Literature

Published in print April 2009 | ISBN: 9780195182637
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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This article looks at the historical interrelation of philosophy and lyric poetry. It explains that philosophers and lyric poets are alike because they both convey intelligible statements, employ formal structures and incorporate a social view from the outset. Despite these shared materials and aims, philosophy and poetry have some important differences. Philosophy strives for clarity and singularity in reference while lyric is always overdetermined. In addition, philosophy should be paraphrasable and translatable if its truth claims are universal, but poetry has finality of form, and to paraphrase it is a heresy; to translate it, a betrayal.

Keywords: philosophy; lyric poetry; intelligible statements; formal structures; social view; paraphrasable

Article.  13133 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art

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