Footnote to “Notes on Nonsense”

[1] There is certainly something liberating and amusing about nonsense: hence the popularity of the likes of Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. Nonsense has its value, its virtues. It is hard to define, but we know it when we see it. It isn’t the same as mere impossibility, but is closer to the notion of intelligibility, itself hard to define. The OEDgives only “words that make no sense” for “nonsense”: this leaves it up to us to define what “making sense” means. That concept seems multifarious and vague. A taxonomy of nonsense would be useful.

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