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By Waclaw Sierpinski

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Drop the thought that form and content are always intimate, replace with ‘sometimes’. Drop even the thought that this is a peculiarity of poetic meaning; acknowledge, innocuously, that we can find it all over the place. The strict form-content identity theorist is left seeming unreasonably extreme, flying in the face of obvious facts. It does indeed seem obvious that in the vast majority of cases a careful paraphrase can capture ‘more or less’ a poem’s content. 10 11 12 Kivy, ‘On the Unity’, p.

4 Kivy, ‘On the Unity’, pp. 86–7. It is perhaps significant that Bradley only uses the term ‘paraphrase’ once in his lecture (p. 20), and that only incidentally. It was Cleanth Brooks who highlighted that term in his essay ‘The Heresy of Paraphrase’ (1947), in The Well Wrought Urn: Studies in the Structure of Poetry (London: Methuen, 1968). Bradley speaks frequently of a ‘heresy’ but not explicitly of a heresy of ‘paraphrase’. Kivy makes no mention of Brooks yet in this regard runs Bradley and Brooks together.

46 Peter Lamarque Abstract Various aspects of poetic meaning are discussed, centred on the relation of form and content. A C Bradley’s thesis of form-content identity, suitably reformulated, is defended against criticisms by Peter Kivy. It is argued that the unity of form-content is not discovered in poetry so much as demanded of it when poetry is read ‘as poetry’. A shift of emphasis from talking about ‘meaning’ in poetry to talking about ‘content’ is promoted, as is a more prominent role for ‘experience’ in characterising responses to poetry and its value.

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