Metaphors help us to connect our inner being to the big outside world.
Our inner world grows through the discovery of analogs in the world outside. Words convey little when like infants, we use them merely as pointers. To communicate feelings and ideas — in short, to express ourselves — we use linguistic analogs, metaphors.
The child calls the typewriter a “woodpecker,” and we are delighted, delighted not only with the aptness of the image but with the key that he has given us to the emerging pattern within himself. We sense the establishment of pathways along which he is making the world his own; there is an echo in ourselves of the patterns he has grasped in nature.
Every modern language, we are told, is a dictionary of faded metaphors. We say “manage,” now thinking of a group of men who direct some enterprise, now of executive skill, now of muscular control, now of any means of achieving any end. When the word came into the English language it meant the training of a horse; its derivation is from Latin words for “hand” and “act.” We use the word today abstractly, divorced from the concrete image that originally gave it the power to mean something; [but] poets feel their metaphors very literally. We respond to poets because, through metaphor, they make words concrete once more, linking our inner being with the great world outside.
[...] the act of reading is a secret, and sometimes fertile, ceremony of communion. Anyone who reads something that is really worth the trouble does not read with impunity. Reading one of those books that breathe when you put them to your ear does not leave you untouched: it changes you, even if only a little bit, it integrates something into you, something that you did not know or had not imagined, and it invites you to seek, to ask questions. And more still: sometimes it can even help you to discover the true meaning of words betrayed by the dictionary of our times. What more could a critical consciousness want?
One piece of information followed by a denial, that's two pieces of information.
The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It’s not something that committees can do. It’s not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It’s done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world.
Dear Mr. —
It comes down to the meaning of ‘needless.’ Often a word can be removed without destroying the structure of a sentence, but that does not necessarily mean that the word is needless or that the sentence has gained by its removal.
If you were to put a narrow construction on the word ‘needless,’ you would have to remove tens of thousands of words from Shakespeare, who seldom said anything in six words that could be said in twenty. Writing is not an exercise in excision, it’s a journey into sound. How about [Macbeth’s] ‘tomorrow and ...