What does it mean to straddle the line between the logical and the literary? Our vernacular use of the word “literal” has the connotation of “intended” or “most obvious and easily deciphered,” yet that which is heralded as the most literary is typically the most cryptic and confusing blend of metaphor, allegory, intertextuality, and imagined exploration into realms that are not “obvious” nor “intended.”
Think of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest. At once absurd it is also methodically organized, showcasing Wallace’s expansive philosophic and technical vocabulary through pharmacological language and his pioneering use of footnotes. These become integral to a canonical “literary” text of the late 20th century. So where does this then leave the dichotomy between inspiration and rationalism? In reading of the Duende, the writer’s vehement assertion of the inspired and literary as of more value to the poet than the logical is clear. Yet, an irony remains as poetry ascribes body to sentiment in the form of words and letters, compressing inarticulable thoughts into tiny lines and swoops on paper. Our words are technically syllogisms combining to form sums of sentences necessary to create any literary sentiment or symbolism. In other words, the literary is dependent on the logical.
Could this be just another expression of the primeval dichotomy between order and chaos? Writers use both revision and inspiration. Syllogisms and sentiment. Perhaps it is not that logic is the issue, but an illogical emphasis on its utility. Engineers build bridges between lands, while artists build bridges between minds. As much as we encourage our engineers to have some sense of aesthetic, we should not discourage our writers to have some sense of rationality.