That explains this poets allusions to genesis 28 and

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That explains this poet’s allusions to Genesis 2.8 and Paradise Lost (IV. 800) and the ever so many ‘falls’ thereafter in western literary and ordinary lives. Gardens must be “imaginary” while toads “real,” if only in plain deference to conventional comfort. That would be quintessentially American as well, if we think of the foundational Puritan myth of the American Garden. It further assumes that those who subscribe to this dream will pluck it only when it is ripe, Satan, who “squat like a toad, close at the ear of Eve” notwithstanding. Upon this reminiscent ethics of gardens and toads informing her aesthetics, Moore will not harangue us for sure, but she is round and about a proposition Martha Nussbaum advances so succinctly in her Love’s Knowledge : “A novel, just because it is not our life, places us in a moral position that is favourable for perception and it shows what it would be like to take up that position in life. We find here love without possessiveness, attention without bias, involvement without panic” (p.162). I sometimes think that Moore’s poetry is text-cum-philological commentary of sorts, textual precept and interpretive practice in one. Perhaps she was preparing the ground, as in most of her expansive reflections on art and poetry, for theoretical approaches that recognize the interaction between poetics and hermeneutics. In other words, Moore might be heard asking us discreetly to mind our poetics (“imaginary gardens”) in order that we speak some coherent hermeneutics (“real toads”). For we cannot think of poetry as supremely other and K. Narayana Chandran 3 As You Like It , II.i, line 13.
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5 transcendent; it is always dependent on those who love and recognize the poetic as such. Imaginary gardens, but real toads whose presence constitutes and complements imagination. A complete severance between beautiful poetics and ugly hermeneutics is inconceivable as long as readers live and their oppositional communities grow all around us. Interpretive community is not singular but democratically plural. That was Moore’s way of promoting the reader to a respectable station, both central and aesthetically non-negotiable, long before theories of reception made readers imperial. What Reception theory neglected to consider, Moore considered more urgently: What if readers do not respond? Hermeneutics admittedly is hair-splitting of a kind, but let us also concede that it is imperative that we distinguish between mere ‘understanding’ (as in our language- comprehension tests) and a disciplined understanding of what understanding involves, or how we understand the things we claim to understand. We might be closer, then, to Moore’s “Reading it, however, with a perfect contempt for it” (p.266). The contempt, let us say, is not for the poetry we are reading, but for the sloppy reading we practise. Of course the syntax and the habit that formulates it are likely to elicit that “perfect contempt” (p.266), of which more below. Anyhow,
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