Article published in:Semblance and Signification
Edited by Pascal Michelucci, Olga Fischer and Christina Ljungberg
[Iconicity in Language and Literature 10] 2011
► pp. 231–250
Aesthetic qualities as structural resemblance
Divergence and perceptual forces in poetry
When we say “The music is sad”, we report that we have detected some resemblance between the structure of the music and the structure of an emotion. In this sense, “sad” refers to an aesthetic quality of the music. In poetry, “sad” may refer either to the mere contents of the poem, or to an aesthetic quality arising from an interplay of divergent structure, low energy level, slow motion, sad contents. The paper explores such questions as “How do systems of music-sounds and verbal signs assume perceptual qualities endemic to other systems, such as human emotions or animal calls?” “What may a critic mean when asserting that a certain metric configuration is ‘more dignified’ than some other; that is, what may ‘dignified’ mean in a context of metric configurations?” The paper is focused on two structural phenomena found in both poems and emotions: “divergence” and “perceptual forces”.
Published online: 23 November 2011