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Tuesday 11 May 2021

The pleasure of the senses The praise of the homonymy

The praise of the homonymy

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It is not, however, only with reference to writing by enigmas, albeit noble and cultured, that homonymy finds a just claim; it is certainly possible to identify other occasions and other reasons for re-evaluating this linguistic peculiarity. The uncertainty of meaning transforms words into tools to reactivate the imagination. Not the regulated course of the dictionary, but the uneven intersections of thought and voice create that aura of ambiguity, threatening and poignant like the siren song which reveals unexpected sounds and meanings under unexpected forms.

The eulogy of homonymy becomes an eulogy of the heterogeneous, of the unexpected connections that exist under the consolidated and apparently irrevocable forms of our speaking. The possible confusion between words is a delightful danger that reactivates the interest in simpler, more resigned terms, as if we discovered that the lady on the floor below has another life, from strip-teaseuse or as a tightrope walker, unpredictable given its size or its banal habitual clothing.

The dilogicity of the writing is realized through the multiple articulations of our lexicon and develops according to different structural modalities, among which - in the first place - the use of homonymy, thanks to which we move away from the ambiguity characteristic of the ancient enigma and this type of writing takes on a very different and substantial connotation.

On the other hand, the outcome of some possible, useful and conceptual manipulations of meaning becomes fascinating: the "bare plants" are said and it is not known whether to think of an autumn landscape or poor bodies subject to tears; there is talk of "full belief", but it is uncertain whether we should refer to a well-stocked kitchen cabinet or to an absolute, unshakable faith; a "shaded drawing" may indicate a figure with uncertain and sloping outlines, but may equally refer to a project that has gone up in smoke; "The French capital" is Paris, of course, but it is also the guillotine, when you think of the death penalty and the sad machine for decapitating. All double expressions, which are very interesting in the field of semantics, rhetoric and generative grammars.

The homonymy, in any case, always remains at the basis of almost all the enigmistic procedures, which makes use of it in an incomparable way: if in the common language we undertake to eliminate any possible ambiguity through the context, on this occasion, as in the case of advertising language, this ambiguity becomes an essential and irreplaceable protagonist. It is mainly thanks to the use of these lucky combinations that the art of puzzles continues to create, in addition to a particular fun, a refined exercise of bizarre culture.

The enthusiasm and passion have often induced me, and still sometimes lead me to think that the riddle can take on the connotations of poetry and the oulipian experience can even more easily make reading the writing in riddles in the light of the dominant constraint, unique and irreplaceable: the magnificent rule of double meaning. It is the experience deriving from the activity of the French OULIPO (theOuvroir de Littérature Potentielle), the literary laboratory founded by Raymond Queneau in 1960 and of the Italian counterpart OPLEPO (Potential Literature Factory) founded in 1990.

If the aforementioned "darkness / ambiguity" can represent a mark of poetry, all the more reason may / must be of the enigma, of the enigmatic writing. Among many constraints formal, although ordinarily condition poetic writing, this of enigmistic writing often leads to surprising results and certainly deserves attention.

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Double-sided sentences

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