Intentional Difficulty in Early Welsh Poetry
Feminine pleasure has to remain inarticulate in language, in its own language, if it is not to threaten the underpinnings of logical operations. -- Luce Irigaray, This Sex Which Is Not One
Keluyd kelet y aruaeth ("The skillful, let him conceal his design.") -- Eiry Mynyd
Here I enter into perilous space.
Poetic obscurity is of immense interest to discourse analysis, reader response theory, sign theory, and other modes of inquiry that examine epistemology, the relationship of text and reader/hearer, and the ideological and cultural underpinnings of notions of language in literature.1 The very term "obscurity" -- not to mention "intentional obscurity" -- privileges clarity by reading absence into its opposite. In poetry, writes George Steiner, "multiplicity of meaning, 'enclosedness,' are the rule rather than the exception. . . . Lexical resistance is the armature of meaning, guarding the poem from the necessary commonalities of prose."2 In After Babel Steiner repeatedly stresses____________________