To explain meticulously or in great detail; to elucidate; to analyze. (verb)
Examples of word explicate
Could you contact orthoneurologists if that's even a word and explicate the two star quarterbacks' respective injuries?
The real difference is that Auerbach is attempting to explicate the text in front of him, to help the reader "see" more fully what is really going on in the scene from the Odyssey.
Such critics might have been able to explicate the novel more rigorously and with a more informed perspective on its historical, national-literary, and biographical contexts.
Further, both the looser, more informal structure and the reader-friendly critical language Thirlwell employs seem to me to work to accomplish one of criticism's legitimate tasks, which is to explicate features of literary works that are not necessarily obvious to all readers, that require the critic to call attention to them as evocatively as possible.
I share your impatience with topical books or books that don't try to do anything but explicate a theme, but I don't see why saying something is incompatible with literary performance.