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The Rift in The LuteAttuning Poetry and Philosophy$
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Maximilian de Gaynesford

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198797265

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198797265.001.0001

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Austin’s Remarks

Austin’s Remarks

Chapter:
(p.37) 1 Austin’s Remarks
Source:
The Rift in The Lute
Author(s):

Maximilian de Gaynesford

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198797265.003.0002

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.

Keywords:   Austin, poetry, serious, speech act philosophy, poetic utterance, Donne, Eliot, Empson

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