Benjamin’s distinction “between what is meant and the way of meaning it”
Consider Benjamin’s distinction “between what is meant and the way of meaning it” (257)1 and how the intention of a text and its “modes of intention” can create intratextual conflict (74).2 Although Benjamin’s apparent subject matter is translation from one language to another, his observations can be applied to all writing, for in any text, there is the intentio—even if we cannot apprehend it and even if we ascribe no interpretive importance to authorial intention—and there is the modus. How should this phenomenon impact approaches to textual interpretation?3 Should any legitimate hermeneutic consider the possibility of intentionality/modality conflict? In other words, if one “knows” what a text means to say, is discussion of the manner of meaning merely academic? As part of your discussion and analysis of the intersection of mode/intention and its effect on textual interpretation, you must include (in a way of your own choosing, but a significant way) an analysis/discussion of the episode “Darmok” we watched for class.