more from W Wimsatt/W Beardsley

Single Idea 7268

[catalogued under 21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 1. Artistic Intentions]

Full Idea

We ought to impute the thoughts and attitudes of the poem immediately to the dramatic speaker, and if to the author at all, only by an act of biographical inference.

Gist of Idea

The thoughts of a poem should be imputed to the dramatic speaker, and hardly at all to the poet


W Wimsatt/W Beardsley (The Intentional Fallacy [1946], žI)

Book Reference

'Philosophy Looks at the Arts', ed/tr. Margolis,Joseph [Charles Scribner 1962], p.93

A Reaction

Wrong. If in Browning's "My Last Duchess" (say), we only inferred the mind of the speaker (and his Duchess), and took no interest in Browning's view of things, we would miss the point. We might end up respecting the Duke, which would be daft.