What to think of Judith Farr ? Being quoted by Wikipedia without mention of that all important metaphor, strongly suggests that she doesn’t mention it either. But Judith Farr knows a metaphor when she sees one. She does not mention a ‘”breathless immediacy” for nothing. If she fails to point at the metaphor, she therefore fails to point at it on purpose. And she wouldn’t be the only one to do so, because when “in the opening quatrain, Dickinson cleverly disguises the subject of the poem, a snake,” the attentive reader is made to read “…as a snake.” Or is that too much credit for an interpretation of a text, that is only useful to the reader who knows how to interpret a text ?
This reader, meanwhile, has gathered that a poem must be discussed by metaphor, because the resulting explanation would be crystal clear. And that is exactly what is out of the question, because explaining a poem… Judith Farr, and the entire literary criticism with her, ends up in an impossible tightrope act if she sets out to do the job she gets paid for. But it is by now at least explained why science has not yet succeeded in developing a working method of text interpretation. And the solution that turns want into virtue is as simple as it is brilliant : the by careful Literature Study established fact that poetry is elusive by nature. And therefore open to interpretation in as much different ways as it has readers. Literature is in this respect of course as poetical in its prose, as it is in its poetry, because poetry is neither defined as, nor confined to verse. And thus the only method of advance is for literary criticism to compare one’s own opinions on a text with other ones. An approach that is especially recommendable because of its promise to keep every masterpiece a source of pleasure to its researchers until the day of judgement.
It is therefore with the deepest regret that I must inform the experts that language is a means of communication. And that an author of literature is a language artist :
if language = communication
and poetry = the art of language = literature
than poetry = the art of communication