Incomprehensibility as an aesthetic strategy

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Certain literary texts appear incomprehensible and reject the reader's attempts to acquire them through empathy and interpretation. This type of text provokes the reader, who approaches the text with the expectation that it is a form of communication. The recalcitrant texts therefore pose a particular problem both in literature teaching and in relation to the individual, ordinary or professional reader, as they oppose the usual critical analysis tools. At the same time, the texts also pose a challenge, and reading precisely this type of texts provides a special experience. With its radical idiom, the experimental lyric accentuates a general problem in connection with the reading of literary texts, namely that linguistic works of art cannot be dissolved completely in an interpretation or 'translated' into another form, e.g. of the analysis. Behind the radical form experiments lies a poetics that consciously works with the work's resistance and the relationship between text and reader.

In Incomprehensibility as an aesthetic strategy, different approaches to this field are presented. In a theoretical introduction, a number of viewpoints on the literary text as an object of interpretation are presented, ranging from an insistence on the aesthetic expression over a critique of the hermeneutic approach to poetological reflections on various forms of illegibility put forward by practicing poets.

Together, the readings in the book give an impression of the aesthetic complexity and self-reflection that characterized the experimental Danish and American poetry around the turn of the millennium.