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Substance and Significance: A Theory of Poetry

From: Philosophy and Literature
Volume 15, Number 2, October 1991
pp. 246-259 | 10.1353/phl.1991.0030

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Substance and Significance:
A Theory of Poetry
Crispin Sartwell
Vanderbilt University


1. Jean-Paul Sartre, What Is Literature?, trans. Bernard Frechtman (New York: Harper & Row, 1965), p. 6.

2. Arthur Danto, The Transfiguration of the Commonplace (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1981), p. 33.

3. See C. S. Peirce, Collected Papers, ed. Charles Hartshorne and Paul Weiss (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1931-35), vol. 4, paragraphs 537 ff. Richard Wollheim, Art and Its Objects, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980), sections 35-37.

4. Nelson Goodman, Languages of Art, 2nd ed. (Indianapolis: Hackett, 1976), p. 115.

5. William Carlos Williams, Selected Poems (New York: New Directions, 1968), p. 67.

6. Dylan Thomas, Poetic Manifesto, collected in The Poet's Work, ed. Reginald Gibbons (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979), pp. 184-85.

7. Wollheim, I think, denies this (see Art and Its Objects, p. 77). But I admit I am still puzzled. In any case, the only thing we need to see in order to make the case is that some tokens are material objects that have perceptible properties, and that the type functions in such a way as to prescribe certain of these properties.

8. Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, trans. G. E. M. Anscombe, 3rd ed. (New York: Macmillan, 1958), section 531.

9. Russell Edson, The Intuitive Journey and Other Works (New York: Harper & Row, 1976), p. 121.

10. Theodore Roethke, On the Poet and His Craft (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1966), p. 77.

11. Oliver Herford, "Child's Natural History," The Best Nonsense Verse, ed. Josephine Dodge Daskam (Evanston: William S. Lord, 1902), p. 54.

12. Crispin Sartwell, "Natural Generativity and Imitation," British Journal of Aesthetics, January 1991.

13. Quoted in Roethke, p. 79.

14. Louise Bogan, "Roman Fountain," The Blue Estuaries (New York: Ecco, 1977), p. 80.