by S. Daniel Breslauer S. Daniel Breslauer is Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Kansas. He is the author of several books, the most recent being The Thought of Mordecai Kaplan in a Postmodern Age. He has also edited The Seductiveness of Jewish Myth, forthcoming from SUNY Press. Myth, Poetry, and Politics Myth, as Roland Barthes so ably demonstrates, does not reproduce concrete reality. Its primary task lies in the transformation of words. The term myth refers not to a realistic transformation of the cosmos but to a particular use of language. Barthes shows how various expressions of culture turn out, on examination, to be linguistic indicators, to be a metalanguage about signs and their meaning.! With this in mind Barthes turns to an example that might seem to disconfirm his thesis-that of poetry. 2 Modern poets eschew the formal and the literalistic or representational. They refuse to be locked into a particular use of language. They often resist meaning and reject its domination. Ironically, Barthes comments, these poets have actually created a new metalanguage-a language that addresses the meaning of poetry itself. They provide clues to recognizing what is and what is not poetic speech.
Shofar: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Jewish Studies – Purdue University Press
Published: Oct 3, 1996
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