Chapter

Riddlecraft

Daniel Tiffany

in Infidel Poetics

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2009 | ISBN: 9780226803098
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226803111 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226803111.003.0003
Riddlecraft

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This chapter is concerned with what lyric poetry may be able to tell us about the material substance of things, but also whether what matters about the world in a poem holds any particular significance for a philosophy of metaphysics and, more specifically, for theories of metaphysical materialism, which hold that anything without a material body does not exist. Physical matter becomes metaphysical substance when it becomes the sole and insensible ground of all Being (a model exemplified by the doctrine of atomism). Metaphysical materialism (only bodies exist) envisions material bodies composed of a substance that lies beyond the reach of our senses. The chapter tries to uncover whether the basic models of lyric obscurity—such as the innate obscurity of riddles—disclose anything about our construction of the hidden substance of things.

Keywords: lyric poetry; metaphysics; metaphysical materialism; riddles; poetic obscurity; slang; lyric obscurity; obscurantism; cultural obscurity

Chapter.  11887 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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