Help Me Think of a Word
August 31, 2018 8:42 AM   Subscribe

If I write a poem about Bach in fugal form, or an exploration of stream-of-consciousness writing technique using that technique, or shoot (as Les Blank actually did) a film portrait of Herzog’s mania while Herzog directed a film about a maniac....is there a word for these emblemizations? Preferably one way better than “emblemization”?
posted by Quisp Lover to Writing & Language (8 answers total)
 
Maybe this is far too general, but I'd call that a really "meta" thing to do.
I'm not really sure what meta means, I use it more as a feeling, but google tells me "(of a creative work) referring to itself or to the conventions of its genre; self-referential."
Also, I think it might be meta to ask about metaness on Askmetafilter
posted by AnhydrousLove at 9:22 AM on August 31, 2018


For the first example you could use à la, as in "a poem à la Bach", though it wouldn't really work for the other examples.

The examples aren't quite parallel. For example, a poem about Bach in fugal form isn't quite the same as a poem about Bach's fugues in fugal form. For the film portrait, does it matter if you direct that film portrait in a manic mood yourself?

In other words, could this be defined as "creating a work about a subject using a technique, medium, or style that references or is related to the subject" or is it more specifically "creating a work about a technique, medium, or style by using that same technique, medium, or style"?
The latter seems to fall within the broader categories of self-referentiality and metatextuality. Metapoetry is a specific example.
posted by jedicus at 9:31 AM on August 31, 2018


The film example might be Recursive, if you are using bits of the Herzog directed film to tell about Herzog's mania; the poem would be Recursive if you were using bits of a fugue as part of the poem on fugues.

I agree with AL that "meta" referential is the sense that I get from your examples.
posted by OHenryPacey at 9:41 AM on August 31, 2018


I’m not sure that ekphrastic is the full answer to your question, but maybe it could be a part of the answer or a string to pull on. From Wikipedia,
Ekphrasis has been considered generally to be a rhetorical device in which one medium of art tries to relate to another medium by defining and describing its essence and form, and in doing so, relate more directly to the audience, through its illuminative liveliness.
posted by daisyk at 9:48 AM on August 31, 2018 [2 favorites]


I agree with jedicus that your examples are somewhat different. One way to think about the first example you provide is that the poem has an iconic relationship to the fugue, in the semiotic sense of icon as a sign that resembles its referent.

With respect to a film that showcases Herzog's manic tendencies by showing him making a film about mania, that seems to me like an example of mise en abyme.
posted by a certain Sysoi Pafnut'evich at 9:51 AM on August 31, 2018 [1 favorite]


"The examples aren't quite parallel. "

Intentionally so. I didn't want a highly specific term covering just one instance. Looking for something more broad.

Still looking....
posted by Quisp Lover at 1:44 PM on August 31, 2018


Self-reflexive: 'a term applied to literary works that openly reflect upon their own processes of artful composition' (Oxford Dictionary of Literary Terms), though perhaps 'self-enactive' might be more apt.

As Peter Thonemann points out in a review in this week's TLS, it's not always a good creative choice:
No one has done labyrinths better than Jorge Luis Borges. Go and (re-)read “The Garden of Forking Paths”: it’s fantastic. But do note how unlike a labyrinth the story is. Like all of Borges’s stories, it is plotted with ruthless economy and clarity; it could not be less labyrinthine, in fact. And this is as it should be. A labyrinth is good for hiding a minotaur in, excellent as a metaphor for all sorts of things (pilgrimage, the city, the underworld), but tiresome for the reader when taken as the structuring principle for a book. Charlotte Higgins’s Red Thread is in many ways rather a good book, and Henry Eliot’s Follow This Thread is at least a nifty design concept. Unfortunately, both authors have been led disastrously astray by the imp on their shoulder whispering why not structure the book itself like a labyrinth?
posted by verstegan at 3:14 PM on August 31, 2018


I think "self-reflexive" (and "meta", when used correctly) is about a thing emblemizing its own thing.
posted by Quisp Lover at 8:13 AM on September 2, 2018


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