J. L. Austin makes several remarks that seem to reflect antipathy towards poetry. He describes poetic utterances as ‘non-serious’ and represents poetry itself as a non-serious use of language. He does not argue for these claims or clarify his meaning. Though his tone is light, the curiously ineffectual exertions make it most unlikely that he is simply joking. Austin’s aim is to exclude poetry from further consideration in his speech act philosophizing. This ought to be a simple move, but Austin clearly finds it awkward to perform. The combination of high-handedness and half-heartedness gives the strong impression that he recognized something forced about this restriction on his speech act claim, this insistence that poetic utterances are not to be understood in terms of things that are done.
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