“The Intentional Fallacy” was published by W.K. Wimsatt, Jr. and Monroe C. Beardsley in their book The Verbal Icon in It is widely considered a landmark. Intentional Fallacy. William K. Wimsatt Jr. & Monroe C. Beardsley., revised in. The claim of the author’s “intention” upon the critic’s judgement has been chal-. Introduced by W.K. Wimsatt, Jr., and Monroe C. Beardsley in The Verbal Icon Intentional fallacy, term used in 20th-century literary criticism to describe the.

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Thanks for telling us about the problem. But, in my view, the final authority should always be in the work itself, which I’m glad is supported here.

Hough asked Professor Wimsatt a question that still resonates today: The poem may hold a private theme for Donne, but this personal quality should not constitute or delimit the public theme and meaning for the reader.

Such an formalist approach makes literary meaning accessible to any reader. However, if allusions are not recognized, the text will still convey meaning to the fallay.

If it achieved its goal? Thank you for your feedback. Andreia rated it liked it Fallac 10, Marco rated it liked it Jun 21, wimxatt More importantly, language does not function wimsath on the level of its effects on the senses, as for example visual modes do. Beardsley in The Verbal Iconthe approach was a reaction to the popular belief that to know what the author intended—what he had in mind at the time of writing—was to know the correct interpretation of the work.

Jeffrey Warndof rated it really liked it May 27, This evidence is “about intentionql character of an author or about private or semiprivate meanings attached to words or topics intentionnal an author” In a sense, attempting to learn what a particular image is alluding to is an attempt to find out the author’s intention.


From a formalist perspective, then, examining a work’s internal components is the key to understanding not just by the individual reader but more importantly by the collective public. Like internal evidence, this material can also be available for observation. Who cares what the writer meant?

By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. Hyo-Won rated it liked it Sep 25, Wimsatt does allow for a certain degree of variation in the analysis of poetry and does not necessarily contend that there is only one possible reading for any given poem.

The Intentional Fallacy by William K. Wimsatt

The philosophy of art is distinguished from art criticism, which is concerned…. All we can judge is the latter. Want to Read saving…. Reading a poem, one may contemplate the author’s intention for wimsaft piece of work: To ask other readers questions about The Intentional Fallacyplease sign up.

Intentional fallacy

There are no discussion topics on this book yet. The fact is there is no real connection between intent and interpretation, as art intengional not a transparent medium, and even if it was prosaic communication there is no guarantee that what you meant to say is what you actually said.

Views Read Edit View history. Wimsatt questions the ability of a poem to function aesthetically in the same way as a painting or sculpture. Jan 21, Shefali Mehta rated it liked it Shelves: This is the k This essay is no great matter, but it is simple and makes a fine point.

Our editors will review what you’ve submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we’ll add it to the article. As a result, it is less accessible and less valuable.

Intentional fallacy | literary criticism |

There is a gross body intentuonal life, of sensory and mental experience, which lies behind and inyentional some cases causes every poem, but can never be and need not be known in the verbal and hence intellectual composition which is the poem. Nikki rated it really liked it Oct 18, The second type of evidence defined by Wimsatt and Beardsley is “external” to the text.


No, intent is inferred from the only valid source, the work itself. Which is slightly weird.

What if, hypothetically, the artist was lying, joking, or forgetful? During his lifetime, Wimsatt became known for his studies of eighteenth-century literature Leitch et al. In one quatrain of the poem, Donne uses astronomical language that may reflect changing Renaissance attitudes toward science.

The Intentional Fallacy

Such biographical information doesn’t necessarily entail intentionalism; instead it may clarify the meanings of the words, the nuances of imagery, within the literary text. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. This book is not yet featured on Listopia.

In “The Intentional Fallacy,” Wimsatt and Beardsley claim that in order to understand the full meaning of a text, one intentuonal lay aside all possible intentions of the author and concentrate on the text itself.

The first most reliable and most accessible type of evidence for the meaning of a piece of literature is “internal” evidence that is “discovered through the semantics and syntax” of the work intejtional Please try again later. The critical reader’s analysis or evaluation of this evidence is open to verification or debate by other readers.

But whether or not that intent made its way into the work is irrelevant. William Kurtz Wimsatt Jr. Literary criticismthe reasoned consideration of literary works and issues. Nicolai Just rated it it was amazing Dec 02,