Originally Posted by Sabretooth
I don't understand this at all. Every written word transmits some sort of an idea, so long as the word isn't made-up and unexplained. I can't think of any examples where writing doesn't transmit any idea whatsoever.
Just that some things necessary to a work of literature may not be the meaning of the words, but rather how the words are written. For example, Shakespeare uses iambic pentameter in his verse and his word choice reflects that ("Useless" words? I doubt it!). Following structured syllable patterns like this lends rhythmic qualities to the text, and may give other benefits as well; for example, a sudden change in meter can lend urgency, make the reader slow down while reading, or call attention to an important passage. Yes, Shakespeare could have written things differently, but if he did, it wouldn't have been an art form like the writings of his contemporaries. I wouldn't call these different structuring formats and effects ideas
, but I would say they are an essential part of Shakespeare's texts.
Additionally, the format of the words can have an effect, such as if it were
down. See what I mean?
Part of the reason you're exposed to a lot of moldy old literature in school, I imagine, is because it shows you: words don't have to be merely
information-transmittal devices. You can both play with language yourself and enjoy the spectacle of the masters doing so as well. Like I said about Joyce's Ulysses
-- I love the feel of the book, the way it's written. The contents were never my main interest.