chapter  22
8 Pages

O Miselle Passer! 1930

WithWilliam Empson

The root divergence seems to be that Mr Sparrow thinks the meaning of a poem, and its mode of action, ought not to be analysed too deeply, nor ought the poet or his reader to be analysed too deeply. The most obvious claim of Mr I. A. Richards upon public attention is that he has produced a workable theory of aesthetic value. If Mr Sparrow is really curious to know how Mr I. A. Richards defines beauty, he might look at The Meaning of Meaning where there are nineteen definitions shown in relation to one another. Certain qualities are such that to realize their presence in an object is to recognize that the object answers to a complex definition. Perhaps the inverted commas are the most obviously unfair detail in Mr Sparrow's article; it is he who chose to treat the thing as a general definition.