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Book Chapter

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Philosophy Of Poetry


This chapter demonstrates the importance of close reading and criticism to the philosophy of poetry. Its reading of Ingeborg Bachman’s ‘Böhmen liegt am Meer’ explores the extent to which the poem is exemplary of the distinctive achievements of lyric poetry. The poem provides an object study in how the lyric allows the human voice to pursue, and at times acquire, expressive freedom. The various sonic, affective, rhythmic, figurative, and expressive devices of poetry account for why its products are not merely lovely aesthetic objects but exemplary of the ‘imaginative economy of human life’. What lyric that aspires to this status shows us is the unique claim poetry has to providing what Stendhal called the promesse de bonheur.


intersubjective fluency, overdetermination, expressivity, plenipotentiary, bordering effects

Published By

Oxford University Press


J. Gibson


This material was originally published in The Philosophy of Poetry edited by John Gibson, and has been reproduced by permission of Oxford University Press. For permission to reuse this material, please visit

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