chapter  35
3 Pages

The Technique of Listening

WithKenneth Burke

Mr I. A. Richards, the author of Principles of Literary Criticism, and co-author, with Mr C. K. Ogden, of The Meaning of Meaning, here undertakes what he calls 'Experiments in Multiple Definition'. The practical translator exerts himself particularly to 'suppress' the divergencies between the two mediums of expression but it is precisely these divergencies which Mr Richards here asks his readers to dwell upon. Accordingly, other authors do not have merely a finished product, an Englished Mencius. Instead, he makes use of the bad 'matching' between the two languages to point his observations on the subject of 'meaning'. Taking a typical paragraph written in the vocabulary of 'Oxford idealism', he first shows how the 'Cambridge-trained realist' could pick it apart with promptitude and glee. The author explores Mr Richards' reflections on 'the survival in philosophic practice of the combative state of mind'.