ERIC Number: ED039242
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1969-Nov
Reference Count: 0
Rhetoric and the Interpretation of Poetry.
Sloan, Thomas O.
The ability to think of poetry rhetorically is a valuable instrument for interpreting poetry. The poet is the speaker "of" the poem, the persona the speaker "in" the poem. The communicative circle is complete when it includes the reader who combines an analysis of the text (the words of the persona) with an analysis of the context (the message of the poet). The poet's strategy is to control the sympathies of his audience (as seen in Browning's "My Last Duchess" and Dickinson's "I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died"), white the audience participates in a kind of dialectic by its search for the poet through his literary strategies. Unlike literary criticism, which attempts to determine the poem's value and what it should mean, literary interpretation is the process by which the reader finds out what the poem actually means to him. Rhetoric, then, allows one to describe the activity of interpretation, for in interpreting a poem the reader must play all roles in the dialectic, performing both the explorations of the reader and the words of the poet. (MF)
Publication Type: N/A
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: I Heard a Fly Buzz When I Died; My Last Duchess
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of National Council of Teachers of English, Washington, D.C., November 29, 1969