Colin Campbell

Open access

"All Those Words They Seem to Slip Away". How the Intentional Fallacy Prevents Serious Study of The Beatles' Lyrics

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: The Beatles; Lyric Analysis; Intentional Fallacy.

Abstract: Serious academic study of the Beatles' lyrics lags behind that undertaken with respect to their music. While the latter, when undertaken by professional musicologists, characteristically involves a close technical examination, the former is all too often limited to no more than a single descriptive phrase or sentence. But then, where analysis proceeds further than this, it generally takes the form of an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the creation of the lyric, rather than an examination of the lyric. This reveals the extent to which commentators have fallen victim to 'the intentional fallacy,' that is the mistake of to trying to judge a work of art by focusing on the intent or purpose of the artist who created it. Only if this fallacy is recognised and firmly rejected is it possible for progress is to be made in the study of the Beatles' lyrics.

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