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Word Count: 513
The Intentional Fallacy written by Wimsatt and Beardsley suggests that a critic commits the aforementioned fallacy when they concern themselves with the authorial intention of a poet in writing a piece of work The intentional fallacy they say is A confusion between the poem and its origins it begins by trying to derive the standard of criticism from the psychological causes of the poem and ends in biography and relativism and whilst not denying the possible presence of such an intention on the part of the poet they do not recognise the relevance or value of searching for or analysing it when examining a text They argue that a poem must function independently of an authors design and purpose as a reader would have no knowledge of their supposed intention in writing the poetry to start with and therefore that essentially a poem exists on its own with its meaning only discovered through examination of the linguistics and grammar In Wimsatt and Beardsleys opinion the traditional method of a reliance upon authorial intention in criticising poetry is wrong and the critics role is with judging the inner workings of a piece rather than looking to the author for answers As they say Critical inquiries are not settled by consulting the oracle which basically means that any critical questions one may have cannot be answered effectively by consulting the intentions of even still living authors Taking Sylvia Plaths collection of poems Ariel as an example to adhere to Wimsatt and Beardsleys ideas one would have to ignore Plaths life and possible experiences up to the point of writing and assess the poems as totally independent and therefore not influenced by them This can be difficult and also a little unusual to some as poems such as Daddy seem to have clearly personal and psychological meaning especially considering some of Plaths trials and tribulations her fathers diagnosis with advanced diabetes
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