what is an anti-pun

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what is an anti-pun

Post by tony h » Thu Jan 19, 2012 12:35 am

recently I heard someone commenting on Milton and his use of anti-puns.

I haven't managed to find a good definition of an anti-pun or understandable examples. Can you help?
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Wizard of Oz » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:07 pm

.. tony just so we can get it on the WW board, here is the single definition that everybody uses without any additonal material or further examples ..
Anti-Pun , anti-pun meaning , definition of anti-pun , what is anti-pun - (n.) An anti-pun is a totally random statement or comment--made when in the midst of Punning-- that is made to sound like a real pun. But It's Really Not!This can be quite effective if done right; fellow punsters may try to get it at first, but the joke's on them--it's not a joke!
Some examples :
(Two students are making Geology puns)
Student 1: Geology Rocks, but it's a pretty Hard subject
Student 2: Haha Gneiss puns
Student 1: Wow i'm FLOORED
Student 2: ha? . . . wait that was an anti-pun. You got me!
.. I personally feel that the real reason that no other examples are given is because nobody actually knows what is going on or what an actual anti-pun is ..

.. this definition comes from a website on Milton where the language of Paradise Lost is discussed ..
While you're probably familiar with the idea of puns, it is in Paradise Lost that the so-called 'anti-pun' comes into play. This term, coined by Ricks in The Force of Poetry, ((Christopher Ricks, The Force of Poetry (Oxford, 1984), p.266.)) describes a pun which denies rather than incorporates multiple meanings: 'whereas in a pun there are two senses which either get along or quarrel, in an anti-pun there is only one sense admitted but there is another sense denied admission'. The problem in Paradise Lost is that if we include the fallen meaning in Edenic puns we inadvertently corrupt the pure prelapsarian meaning. This problem has been formulated into an idea of 'reader response' by Stanley Fish in his work, Surprised by Sin.
.. now I am sure that there are minds on this website that can very easily explain what is going on here .. I wait heavily ..

.. incidentally Onelook does not return any definitions for anti-pun .. it does offer as an alternative Wong Kwok Pun (also known as Laurence Wong, Chinese: 黃國彬; Cantonese [wɔ̀ːŋ kʷɔ̄ːk pɐ́n]; Jyutping: wong4 gwok3 ban1; Mandarin Pinyin: Huang Guobin) a Hong Kong scholar, poet and translator. He is most famous for rendering Dante's La Divina Commedia into Chinese while preserving the terza rima rhyming scheme, an approach no Chinese translator has ever tried to take. He is familiar with Classical Greek, Latin, French, Italian, German, and Spanish, as well as Chinese and English. He studied for some time in Florence in order to better understand Dante.

.. but even he didn't attempt to explain an anti-pun ..

WoZ lost in paradise
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jan 20, 2012 1:16 pm

I read that description on the Milton website too, WoZ, and did not understand what the hell the writer was going on about. It would have helped a great deal if he had been considerate enough to illustrate his 'explanation' with an example, and showed the mechanics of how the so-called anti-pun works.

Until then I am chiefly left with the impression that the writer of that piece, and possibly Christopher Ricks as well, is just trying to show how clever he is at bamboozling his grateful readers with incomprehensible post-modernist gibberish -- of which there is an awful lot in the academic literary criticism of the past (let's say) 50 years.
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Fri Jan 20, 2012 4:41 pm

The new discipline of quantum grammar postulates an anti-figure for every figure of speech.

Claims that the anti-pun has actually been discovered are strenuously contested, though post-modern gibberish is sadly widely accepted.

Modern grammar often tends to uphold an anti-Quirk position.

I don't agree totally with one definition of pun given by Wikipedia (this sadly being the definition which anti-pun seems to require):

pun: When a word or phrase is used in two different senses

Often the pun depends on homophony - which I'm using here in its widest sense to include structures larger than homophones at lexeme level. And often, near-homophony is considered adequate. (The

"It's just pure greed!"
"Meretricious!"
"... and a Happy New Year!"

sequence from Watson / Holmes / Lestrade in Sherlock is wonderful, if not original. And Chico Marx got away with murderous puns, only licensed by his fake Italian accent. Try, "What's a corpuscle?")

It is also usually considered necessary for there to be an (arguably tiny) degree of humour (intended or not) involved for a pun to be present.

The definition of anti-pun WoZ quotes seems to demand that Milton was given to punning - I never noticed any.
Other definitions do seem to be analagous to the newly-coined

anti-radiator - a thing that is not a radiator. (possibly amongst a pile of radiators - but possibly not)
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:06 pm

aaa
Erik, I entirely agree with you.

So that we have something concrete to work with, here’s an example I found of the so-called ANTI-PUN from The Bride’s Tragedy by English poet Thomas Lovell Beddoe (1803-1849) with comments by the article’s author (in Grand Street, Vol. 1, No. 2, Winter, 1982):
Now mercy save the peril-stricken man,
Who ‘mongst his shattered canvas sits aghast
On the last sinking plank alone, and sees
The congregated monsters of the deep
For his dead messmates warring all, save one
That leers upon him with a ravenous gaze
And whets its iron tusks just at his feet . . .

“Whets” is a grim anti-pun, under pressure from “the deep”; grim because the tusks scarcely need to be wet with water, and they will, all too soon, be wet with blood. The leering sense is “whets-not-wets.” There is even a further lurking grimace in the lines; for the “monsters of the deep” have surfaced from King Lear (“Humanity must perforce prey on itself,/ Like monsters f the deep”), and there in Beddoe’s lines, leering horribly, is leers.
Here I quote Wiz’s quote to see if I can extract anything meaningful from all this eruditeness (gibberish):

ANTI-PUN: “. . . describes a pun which denies rather than incorporates multiple meanings: 'whereas in a pun there are two senses which either get along or quarrel, in an anti-pun there is only one sense admitted but there is another sense denied admission'.”

So, according to this definition, whets would be said to be the admitted part of the anti-pun and wet the denied part

Personally, in my simpleton’s way of looking at this, I don’t see (said the blind man) why the ‘denied’ part is required in the definition. And I don’t feel under much pressure from the pressures of “the deep.” And where is the denial? In my view what I am seeing can be explained much more directly (good old Occam’s razor)!

Here’s my guess as to how an ANTI-PUN could be defined, but I am undoubtedly missing something because my definition doesn’t appear complicated enough:

ANTI-PUN [[my guess]]: A one-word pun with the second piece being implied but not specifically stated. Whet is stated but the second piece, wet, of what would have been an ordinary pun if stated, is only implied – no denials required.

Other views?

Incidentally, I found mention in the literature of the anti-pun dating back to 1975, so that Ricks certainly didn't coin it, as claimed, in 1984.
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Erik_Kowal » Fri Jan 20, 2012 7:16 pm

There are two similar-but-not-identical connotations of 'whet', both of which seem quite applicable in this context:

1. To make keen or more acute ("whet my appetite") -- cf. the phrase 'ravenous gaze' in the verse
2. To sharpen by rubbing, as on a whetstone -- cf. 'iron tusks', iron being a knife-blade material that is regularly sharpened by whetting.

Insofar as these twin connotations represent a pun, I'd say the 'anti-pun' thesis of the Grand Street author is correspondingly weakened.
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Ken Greenwald » Fri Jan 20, 2012 8:15 pm

aaa
Edwin, I agree that the anti-pun is a matter of the utmost anti-gravity.
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Fri Jan 20, 2012 10:00 pm

Ken Greenwald wrote:
Incidentally, I found mention in the literature of the anti-pun dating back to 1975, so that Ricks certainly didn't coin it, as claimed, in 1984.
Anti-figures probably don't have to obey the normal laws of the universe, so it is quite possible they time-travel.
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Wizard of Oz » Sat Jan 21, 2012 9:16 am

.. how about the anti-whank .. this is when you think you are being so clever, thus denying that you are a whanker, BUT everyone else is aware that you are a Grade A whanker ..

anti-wOz
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Sat Jan 21, 2012 10:14 am

One man's pun is another man's anti-pun.
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Erik_Kowal » Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:16 am

Wizard of Oz wrote:.. how about the anti-whank .. this is when you think you are being so clever, thus denying that you are a whanker, BUT everyone else is aware that you are a Grade A whanker ..
One man's métier is another man's putzing.
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by tony h » Sun Jan 22, 2012 5:57 pm

Thank you for your help. I had seen that original definition from which I drew the conclusion that either my brain had lost the power of understanding or the author was a ...
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Erik_Kowal » Mon Jan 23, 2012 6:04 am

Wizard of Oz wrote:Grade A whanker ..
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by Edwin F Ashworth » Mon Jan 23, 2012 12:49 pm

"Old woman, you wouldn't believe who was the last passenger I set ashore on this island!" joked Anti.
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Re: what is an anti-pun

Post by PhilHunt » Mon Jan 23, 2012 4:07 pm

Could an anti-pun be something like this?

Milan is truly the arm-pit of Italy.
It's usually smelly, generally always in the dark, except for a few months during the summer when it's exposed to too much sun...and it's hairy too.
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