posted Tuesday, 30 June 2009
I had another on-line discussion about the Intentional Fallacy yesterday. I have a book called 'The Verbal Icon' by WK Wimsatt that I first owned in the late sixties, a book sitting, as it happened, on my bookshelf in immediate proximity to 'From Blue to Black', a novel by Joel Lane - which was coincidentally appropriate as the discussion in question was with Joel himself!
I was pleased to find this quote in the Wimsatt book to help demonstrate the point I was trying to make:
"In his essay on 'Hamlet and His problems' TS Eliot finds Hamlet's state of emotion unsatisfactory because it lacks an 'objective correlative', a 'chain of events' which are the 'formula of that particular emotion'. The emotion is 'in excess of the facts as they appear'. It is 'inexpressible'. Yet Hamlet's emotion must be expressible, we submit, and actually expressed too (by something) in the play; otherwise Eliot would not know it is there - in excess of the facts. That Hamlet himself or Shakespeare may be baffled by the emotion is beside the point."