By Allen S. Weiss
Breathless explores early sound recording and the literature that either foreshadowed its invention and used to be contemporaneous with its early years, revealing the huge impression of this new know-how on the very origins of Modernism. via shut readings of works by way of Edgar Allan Poe, Stéphane Mallarmé, Charles Cros, Paul Valéry, Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Jules Verne, and Antonin Artaud, Allen S. Weiss indicates how sound recording's uncanny confluence of human and computing device may rework our expectancies of mourning and melancholia, transfiguring our intimate relation to loss of life. Interdisciplinary, the publication bridges poetry and literature, theology and metaphysics. As Breathless indicates, the symbolic and sensible roles of poetry and expertise have been reworked as new kinds of nostalgia and eroticism arose.
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Extra resources for Breathless: Sound Recording, Disembodiment, and the Transformation of Lyrical Nostalgia
Ong's study Orality and Literacy forces us to realize that what Frye terms the anatomy or encyclopedia and what Foucault calls the archive has always existed in oral cultures. 26 The implications of this theory are vast: the Homeric poetic imagination was not a function of the spontaneous intuitions of genius but rather of the inspired choice of phrase culled from a preexisting repertoire of epithets and determined by metrical exigencies. These vast poems were not memorized verbatim; they were rendered differently at each recitation, according to the powers or weaknesses of memory and the exigencies of differing performance situations.
21 Asthma is thus one of the most anxiety-producing diseases, as the incapacity to breathe evokes the immediate specter of the most horrible death. Hippocrates already noted that this crisis takes the form of a cataclysm, a veritable tragedy, a morbid classic drama with its well-ordered stages of augmentation, crisis, and decline. 22 Asthma entails the blockage of breath, whence the impossibility of speaking; it is the symptom of an inadmissible pain that literally cannot be stated, thus signifying something that is to remain ineffable.
For, as will become apparent, the ultimate personal enunciation of death, "I am dead," is an impossible thought; nothingness has a very specific signification for Mallarme, directly related to worldly contingence and the fleetingness of perceptual presence; nothingness is thus a precondition both for his thought and his poetry. / 3i Chapter 2 At the moment of his revelation, Mallarme writes: "Unfortunately, while excavating verse to this point, I have encountered two abysses, which drive me to despair.