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English Language and Literature Commons

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American poetry

2017

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Full-Text Articles in English Language and Literature

Nameless Wonders And Dumb Despair: Rhetorics Of Silence In Mid-Nineteenth-Century U.S. Poetry And Culture, Nick Borchert Aug 2017

Nameless Wonders And Dumb Despair: Rhetorics Of Silence In Mid-Nineteenth-Century U.S. Poetry And Culture, Nick Borchert

Theses and Dissertations

Taking a cue from the occasional reticence of the often-exuberant American Romantic poetics, this project tracks what I call “rhetorics of silence” in verse: those moments where words are declared to be inadequate, impertinent, unavailable, unintelligible or otherwise unsuitable for a task that the poet has proposed. In this respect, the term “silence” functions here as a broad metaphor encompassing a number of meta-linguistic or meta-poetic gestures aimed at highlighting the shortcomings of knowledge and representation.

Whereas earlier critics have noticed these silences in haphazard ways, this project looks toward a systematic account of why and when nineteenth-century poets rely ...