Is this bridge a secret?
Do some people know this secret?
Did Lorca know?
I have to answer these three questions as a group. I'm assuming Thomas knows my book has the the What Lorca Knew, so the last question, did Lorca know, I would conceptualize as "what did he know?" How do we categorize for this as knowledge. The main word in Spanish we use for this is conocimiento.
Is the bridge a secret? Is poetic knowledge, in general, secret knowledge or shared knowledge? Because I am using Gadamer as my theoretical base, I am assuming that poetry is sharable. In other words, it can't ever be a question of only one poet incommunicado to the world, or of only one reader who truly understands.
There are arcane or recondite dimensions to poetics. It is also assumed that not everyone will understand. So some "know," some do not.
I am assuming there is value to poetics, that it is not there just to be explained away as a symptom of something else, so my work would differ from conventional "cultural studies" which reduces culture to a kind of political barometer of some other, more significant thing. Yet I don't believe in naive versions of poetics, a kind of romantic attitude that stands in awe before the duende, or whatever. I realize either of those two positions would be easier, in a sense.
Donne, I suppose, was such another
Who found no substitute for sense;
To seize and clutch and penetrate,
Expert beyond experience,
He knew the anguish of the marrow
The ague of the skeleton;
This seems to me to be the same sense of "knowledge", i.e. something like experience (though when Eliot uses the word, it's somewhat perversely with a different sense). No coincidence, I think, that religion and mysticism are in the air around both texts.
Thomas, I'm a little surprised that you find this alien -- it's such common currency in poetry. And in prose -- much of the narration of Lawrence's novels is on this level of intuition presented as experience.
And whenever her eyes, after watching him for some time, inevitably met his, she was aware of a heat beating up over her consciousness. She sat motionless and in conflict. Who was this strange man who was at once so near to her? What was happening to her? Something in his young, warm-twinkling eyes seemed to assume a right to her, to speak to her, to extend her his protection. But how? Why did he speak to her? Why were his eyes so certain, so full of light and confident, waiting for no permission nor signal?
I'm not sure I find it alien, except in the sense that the duende perhaps is a kind of "alien". I'm interested in the tension between mystical and scholarly experiences, and I like Jonathan's alternative to the usual mixture of admiration and condescension that scholars feel for poets.
But it still leaves us with the problem of how scholars and poets feel or should feel about, say, Teresa. Here the question is whether her ecstasy was a kind of madness or, as Lorca suggests, an insight into the secret bridge between the flesh and the senses. Intuition-as-experience is another name for the problem. But is it a solution?
Just being Captain Obvious here, but isn't the answer 'both'? That is, whether or not it was madness, Lorca is interested in what it's like?
The distinction I'm after doesn't offer a middle ground. Either Teresa was pierced by the duende, or she hallucinated. Either there is a duende or she was mad.
You must love Blake. ;-)
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