ERIC Number: ED345304
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Feb
Reference Count: N/A
The Mother of Sound: A Phenomenology of Silence in Wordsworth's Poetry.
Silence has often been treated as simply a negative phenomenon rather than as a communicative device. Four aspects of silence include: (1) negative silence, which is the experience of silence as having no positive value; (2) primordial silence, the phenomenon out of which utterance arises; (3) silence as a mode of being; and (4) silence as a destination. An examination of the different roles that silence plays in the poetry of William Wordsworth reveals the multidimensional nature of silence's communicative aspects. Close attention to a number of moments in Wordsworth's poems indicates that an understanding of silence is central for comprehension of the poet's, or any communicator's, silence. In fact, it is possible to conceptualize the Imagination as, at least in part, the translation of silence into the articulate. The poetic relationship Wordsworth attempts to establish with nature through silence recalls Martin Heidegger's assertion that silence is necessary for genuine understanding. The complex, often enigmatic relationship of silence to speech demonstrates how poetic texts articulate the heretofore unsaid. Perhaps this faith that the unsaid is not unsayable sustains not only Wordsworth's poetry, but also nourishes the desire of poets to continue writing and readers/students to continue interpreting. (Twenty-five references are attached.) (HB)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Communication Strategies; Heidegger (Martin); Literary Theory; Silence; Wordsworth (William)
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Western Speech Communication Association (Salt Lake City, UT, February 1987).