[hist-analytic] Unintelligible Engish, Misremembered

jlsperanza at aol.com jlsperanza at aol.com
Fri Dec 25 02:01:49 EST 2009





In a message dated 12/17/2009 9:58:15 A.M. Eastern Standard Time,  
Baynesr at comcast.net writes:

"First, P. H. Nowell-Smith informed me in correspondence some years
ago  that he was in this group. In fact, a close read of his _Ethics_ 
reveals
some  striking use of language one finds in Austin. I asked him if these
locutions  ( I don't have them at my finger tips) were his or Austin's. He
was  uncommitted but seemed to indicate they were Austin's. Also, the
expression  'pro-attitude' occurs in Nowell-Smith's _Ethics_ which we 
find in  Davidson."
 
Indeed, as R. Paul has pointed out to me, either Grice or Nowell-Smith  
misremembered their Donne!
 
Grice:
 
at Austin's kindergartens:

"One one occasion, [P. H.] Nowell-Smith [The 'Trinity' (Coll.)  
philosopher] (cast in the role of straight man) offered as an example of  
non-understandable English an extract from a sonnet of Donne: 
 
"From the round earth's imagined corners, 
Angels, your trumpets blow."

"Austin said, 'It is perfectly clear what  _that_ means; it means, 
 
    'Angels, blow your trumpets from what pe[r]sons less  cautious 
    than I would call the four corners of the earth'". 
 
(Grice, 'Reply to Richards'). 

As R. Paul notes, Holy Sonnet VII begins:

At the round earth's imagined corners blow
Your trumpets, angels, and arise, arise
>From death, you  numberless infinities
Of souls, and to your scattered bodies  go,
All whom the flood did, and fire shall, overthrow...
 

Of course 'extract' is free enough to be understood as 'rewrite'.
 
Cheers,
 
J. L. Speranza




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