Saying and the Unsayable: Introduction to Lyric/Literary Theory
Do poetry readers listen mainly to “man speaking to man” (Wordsworth), such that the “conversation of humankind” provides a model for a community of equals? Or should literature focus on “écrire le silence” (Rimbaud), such that meaning remains in a state of latency and searching for what lies hidden replaces communication? We will sample the work of 16th-c. mystics (and their 20th-c. revivalists), baroque/ metaphysical writers, the British romantic poets, and the linguistic revolution of 19th-c. "poésie ivre." What can be said and what is left unsaid will also be explored through censorship, cultural colonialism, and ekphrastic & inter-linguistic translation.