[Milton-L] Fetishizing Greatness, was Re: Is Paradise Lost

Horace Jeffery Hodges jefferyhodges at yahoo.com
Sat Apr 25 15:33:24 EDT 2009

Yes, Jim, that would take your counterexamples to their 'logical' absurdity. But poetic form is hardly recognizeable here since words are absent. All that I see are "fill-in-the-blanks" awaiting words, possibly a grocery list. No reason even to assume that a poem is lurking there in its Platonic form, ready to shape words toward an ideal.
But your parody nevertheless raises a question for me: Can a real image be an essential part of a poem? Consider John Updike's "Shipbored," which includes an eight-line drawing to which it refers:

Is the image part of the poem? It's not a poem by itself, but it seems to be part of the poem, drawn by the author to illustrate and clarify in such a way that it becomes the first reference of the poetic lines, thereby drawing our attention on to the scene at sea.
By analogy, Wittgenstein's "cube" would need to retain its cubic form and accompany words in poetic form, which the cube would serve to illustrate and clarify. The cube could then be an essential part of the poem but not if abstracted from the words -- as little a poem as Updike's drawing abstracted from the words.
Jeffery Hodges

--- On Sat, 4/25/09, James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com> wrote:

From: James Rovira <jamesrovira at gmail.com>
Subject: Re: [Milton-L] Fetishizing Greatness, was Re: Is Paradise Lost
To: "John Milton Discussion List" <milton-l at lists.richmond.edu>
Date: Saturday, April 25, 2009, 12:30 PM

One last bit about the poetic nature of the Tractatus.  I said earlier
that Wittgenstein's "drawing of a cube [in proposition] 5.5423
deserves special attention."  I realize now that if you were to take
this drawing of a cube and give it line breaks consistent with modern


you'd have a poem roughly akin to most of Billy Collins's or Charles
Bukowski's work, though lacking some of their charm.

Thanks very much for you indulgence.  I think I'll stop now as I don't
believe it's possible to get any more ridiculous than this.

Jim R
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