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Previous Routes to Difficulty in Poetry

  • Davide Castiglione
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter traces the history of the concept of difficulty and of related notions (especially ambiguity and obscurity), identifying three main scholarly traditions: the typological, the reader-oriented and the stylistic. While the merits of each approach are acknowledged, a much tighter integration between them is advocated so as to avoid their shortcomings. The second part of the chapter discusses more local remarks on difficulty, clustering them in side themes with a social or philosophical nature: the pluralism of difficulty, poets on their own difficulty, philosophical influences, elitism, intentionality, the representation problem, the meaningfulness-meaninglessness dilemma, and the difficulty-obscurity divide. By the end of the chapter the reader will have gained a solid understanding of how difficulty in poetry has been variously conceptualised in past research.

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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Davide Castiglione
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English PhilologyVilnius UniversityVilniusLithuania

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