Jonathan D. Culler, the Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature, wants to restore the magic of literary text for ordinary readers. This Cornell Research article highlights the work he is doing to set up a framework for thinking about poems not as objects for interpretation but as objects for pleasure and delight.
Children revel in poetry: the ridiculousness of nursery rhymes and Dr. Seuss stories, the unexpected fun of wordplay. So why is it, by the time most of us reach college that love of poems has vanished? “Students often say they don’t like poetry partly because it’s been treated as an object of interpretation,” says Jonathan D. Culler, English.