Poetics, science, and bafflegab

‘Poetics’, for instance, is (or, are) among these sciences, but in the absence of real languages and real poetry it becomes the kind of gummy wool and bafflegab that is taught in our universities today. Like all the other sciences it is essentially applied. If there is nothing to which it can be applied, then it is tosh some tenured fool is putting over. ‘Literary theory’ is almost all like that: done by people who could not read with attention to save their lives.

—David Warren, ‘On Science’


  1. That link is a gold mine. Magical bovine product indeed!

  2. David Warren is a great writer. I’ve been reading and enjoying his blog for years.

    I’ve actually wondered more than once whether you two knew each other. After all, Canada is such a small country…

  3. Stephen J. says

    I’ve been a fan of Warren too for quite a while, though despite being, like Mr. Simon, a fellow Canadian (in fact a fellow Torontonian with Mr. Warren) we have never actually met. (The Greater Toronto Area, our term for both the amalgamated Toronto and the suburban cities surrounding it ranging from Hamilton to Pickering, reaches populations of anywhere from 4 to 7 million depending on which cities you incorporate.)

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