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The art of writing is in fact largely the perversion of words, and I would even say that the less obvious this perversion is, the more thoroughly it has been done.
For a writer who seems to twist words out of their meanings (e. Gerard Manley Hopkins) is really, if one looks closely, making a desperate attempt to use them straightforwardly.
There are several objections to the idea, and I will deal with these as they arise.
The first step is to indicate the kind of purpose for which new words are needed.
Because he has a certain feeling, vision, whatever you like to call it, and knows, possibly after experiment, that it is no use trying to convey this vision by describing it as one would describe a crayfish for a book of zoology.
But by not describing it, by inventing something else (in this case a picaresque novel: in another age he would choose another form) he can convey it, or part of it.
He gets his effect, if at all, by using words in a tricky roundabout way, relying on their cadences and so forth, as in speech he would rely upon tone and gesture.
In the case of poetry this is too well known to be worth arguing about.
’ you are invariably ware that your real reason will not go into words, even when you have no wish to conceal it; consequently you rationalize your conduct, more or less dishonestly.
And even if a psychologist interprets your dream in terms of ‘symbols’, he is still going largely by guesswork; for the real quality of the dream, the quality that gave the porcupine its sole significance, is outside the world of words.
In fact, describing a dream is like translating a poem into the language of one of Bohn's cribs; it is a paraphrase which is meaningless unless one knows the original.
No one with the smallest understanding of poetry supposed that really means what the words ‘mean’ in their dictionary-sense.
(The couplet is said to refer to Queen Elizabeth having got over her grand climacteric safely.) The dictionary-meaning has, as nearly always, something to do with the real meaning, but not more than the ‘anecdote’ of a picture has to do with its design. Consider a novel, even a novel which has ostensibly nothing to do with the inner life — what is called a ‘straight story’. Why does the author invent this long rigmarole about an unfaithful girl and a runaway abbé?