Silence in Modern Literature and Philosophy

Beckett, Barthes, Nancy, Stevens

  • ThomasĀ Gould

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-ix
  2. Thomas Gould
    Pages 1-15
  3. Thomas Gould
    Pages 17-56
  4. Thomas Gould
    Pages 57-91
  5. Thomas Gould
    Pages 139-191
  6. Thomas Gould
    Pages 193-196
  7. Back Matter
    Pages 197-199

About this book


This book discusses the elusive centrality of silence in modern literature and philosophy, focusing on the writing and theory of Jean-Luc Nancy and Roland Barthes, the prose of Samuel Beckett, and the poetry of Wallace Stevens. It suggests that silence is best understood according to two categories: apophasis and reticence. Apophasis is associated with theology, and relates to a silence of ineffability and transcendence; reticence is associated with phenomenology, and relates to a silence of listenership and speechlessness. In a series of diverse though interrelated readings, the study examines figures of broken silence and silent voice in the prose of Samuel Beckett, the notion of shared silence in Jean-Luc Nancy and Roland Barthes, and ways in which the poetry of Wallace Stevens mounts lyrical negotiations with forms of unsayability and speechlessness.


Silence Apophasis Modernism Negative theology Poststructuralism Beckett Barthes Nancy Stevens Wittgenstein Language

Authors and affiliations

  • ThomasĀ Gould
    • 1
  1. 1.King's College LondonLondonUnited Kingdom

Bibliographic information

  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages Literature, Cultural and Media Studies
  • Print ISBN 978-3-319-93478-5
  • Online ISBN 978-3-319-93479-2
  • Buy this book on publisher's site