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2012 | 73 | 4 | 299-312

Article title

Intertextual relations and axiology: Verse structures as vehicles of axiological values in poetry


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The author discusses the problem of the semantic value of verse structure and its importance for the interpretation of poetry. Various metrical forms acquire their stylistic distinctness and profile, and become elements of the semiotic system of a given culture. Intertextual allusions to these metrical forms are to be treated as vehicles of meaning and are very important for the interpretation of a text. It is argued that these allusions can also introduce axiological values. Two examples of such semiotic operations are analyzed. The first of these (the poem Why?, by Czesław Miłosz) illustrates the mechanism of strengthening the solemnity and authority of the uttered words, the mechanism of dignifying them, endowing them with a status of unquestionable revelations of truth. The second example (the poem Mona Lisa, by Zbigniew Herbert) serves as a presentation of the ways in which reliable speech can be restored and the object of an utterance degraded. The poet makes allusions to the specific form of the free verse characteristic for the style of Stanisław Różewicz’s post-war poetry, which imitates a very simple and sincere way of speaking. Its stylistic value is applied as an exponent of the authenticity and reliability of the speaking subject.


  • Instytut Badań Literackich PAN, ul. Nowy Świat 72, Warszawa, 00-330, Poland


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