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Saturday, January 22, 2005

Who the f*ck is Aquilon?

I doubt this has much to do with CS but it is definitely related to writing. I just have a question bugging me and I would like to know the opinion of other people. Is it ethical to use allusions in literary writing?

Lemme elaborate. I think alluding to someone/something lessens the amount of readers who can understand your work. I remember reading The Divine Comedy and wondering, "Who the f*ck is this Aquilon?" when what he (Dante Alighieri, the author) really referred to was the North wind. In my (no, not humble) opinion, allusions can become a hindrance to effectively comprehending the thought supposed to be conveyed by the literary work.

On the other hand, allusions sometimes work better than just using "plain" words. Like metaphors, it can bring color and flavor to a piece. For a reader who has read the necessary literature or has encountered relevant phenomena, allusions can paint a much more vivid picture than that which does not allude.

So there. I would really like to use allusions in writing. However, I am also concerned the readers might not fully comprehend, as completely opposed to fully comprehend.

2 Comment/s:

Blogger Corsarius said...

hi there, mavi. your thoughts had me thinking for a minute or two...i think the use of allusions is a double-edged sword. sometimes, it alienates those who aren't 'schooled' in one field of learning, as some allusions (and metaphors) are centered on a definite theme (in the case of Aquilon, people who aren't into Latin [Aquilon being a pseudonym in that language] or mythology will not 'pick it up'].

for example, if someone reads The UP Parser, doubtless that person wouldn't fully comprehend some of the *great* stuff we write there (hehe). if i metaphorically and brashly wrote, "Parser is the system kernel of the DCS", non-CS people would think our publication was going nuts.

i'm not an English/Lit expert, but i think it's safe to say that the use of allusions/metaphors comes with the compromise between reaching out to a cadre of people, effectively and magnificently, and touching base with a wider group, albeit with less pomp and spice.

great post, karl. :) hope we could have more of them here. go parser!

1/22/2005 7:42 PM  
Blogger ia said...

I can totally relate to this.
(Ok, I just realized that implies two things!)

Phillip is right. As with everything else, the trick is in the moderation of things.

1/24/2005 11:51 AM  

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