more from W Wimsatt/W Beardsley

Single Idea 7271

[catalogued under 21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 1. Artistic Intentions]

Full Idea

The use of biographical evidence need not involve intentionalism, because while it may be evidence of what the author intended, it may also be evidence of the meaning of his words and the dramatic character of his utterance.


'Intentionalism' is judging a work by its intentions

Gist of Idea

Biography can reveal meanings and dramatic character, as well as possible intentions


W Wimsatt/W Beardsley (The Intentional Fallacy [1946], žIV)

Book Reference

'Philosophy Looks at the Arts', ed/tr. Margolis,Joseph [Charles Scribner 1962], p.98

A Reaction

I am very keen to penetrate the author's intentions, but I have always be doubtful about the use of biography as a means to achieve this. Most of the effort to infer intentions must come from a study of the work itself, not introductions, letters etc.