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Philosophy of Art

No way but in: The Phenomenology of a short poem

Abstract: Poetry has not received an equal amount of attention from philosophers and critics working within the arts, and short poetry even less so. Yet I contend that short poetry has much to offer interested readers, particularly when approached from a phenomenological perspective and methodology. What might be involved in such is explored here, with a focus on the theoretical issues involved in a phenomenological reading of poetry, an application of the concerns discussed to selected works, and then finally a consideration of the inescapable role of the self in any interplay with short poems. It is argued that the paucity of context necessitates a reading in of oneself, and that this reading in is instructive and engaging.

Keywords: aesthetics; appreciation; experience; interpretation; literature; poetry; reading

No Way but In_Andrew Oberg

This is an Author's Manuscript of an article written for the Phenomenological Association of Japan. Full publication information forthcoming.


On reading poetry

Abstract: In contemporary times reading poetry is an activity that seems seldom done, and when (or if) done at all it is unlikely to be with much forethought, much mental or attitudinal formation. Yet something special can happen to us when we read a poem, something that is ever unique and almost always unrepeatable. This short piece endeavors to explore that happening between poet and reader, that moment which can find itself becoming an encounter, an event of the without compositionally within.

Keywords: experience; poetry; reading; time

On Reading Poetry_Andrew Oberg

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in the journal Humanismus, 29 (2018), 24-34.


Reading Sylvia Plath: Does knowing about an artist help us appreciate their work?

Abstract: The approach that we typically take to art, in the unexamined position, is one that posits that appreciation should be based on a correct understanding and interpretation of the artwork in question. Here I argue that as non-specialists we ought rather to begin from an emotive and personal response to the work and in that way base our appreciation not on knowledge but on phenomenology. To make this case three poems from Sylvia Plath’s Ariel collection (1965) are examined. As Plath wrote confessional poetry a short biography is provided and the selected poems are set against what we know of her life and thus what the poems may ostensively mean, with each poem being progressively less transparent. Within this context of decreasing knowledge the question of appreciation is raised and some potential benefits of a personally emotional and time-specific comportment towards art are offered.

Keywords: art appreciation; knowing about art; Sylvia Plath; understanding art

Reading Sylvia Plath_Andrew Oberg

This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of an article published in the journal Cultural Studies, 5 (2017), 21-40.