Clearing Up Ambiguity | The New York Review of Books

Need to re-read, but already a great article as it references William Empson:

[Wh]at struck me as I opened the pages of Seven Types of Ambiguity (1930) was the precision with which different manifestations of ambiguity are described. In examples ranging from Greek tragedy to the present day, but concentrating above all on Shakespeare and the Elizabethans, Empson always distinguishes between the merely (but perhaps excitingly) vague and the semantically complex, between the suggestive nebulousness of Thomas Nashe’s “Brightness falls from the air” and the complexity of possible meanings in a later line in the same stanza, “Dust hath closed Helen’s eye,” where, as Empson points out, the poet hints at a statue with dust falling on it, rather than an eye turning into dust.