Some Senses of Silence in Wallace Stevens

  • Thomas Gould


Through close analysis of a series of poems, Gould suggests ways in which Wallace Stevens’ poetry negotiates themes of silence and unsayability, in particular relation to anteriority and origin. Gould shows ways in which Stevens’ poetry collapses the distinction between silere and tacere, surveys various dialectical or dualistic approaches to Stevens’ poetry, and pursues a series of theoretical and philosophical digressions. Through a comparison between the poem “Girl in a Nightgown” and a fragment from Maurice Blanchot’s The Writing of the Disaster, Gould explores the relationship between silence, the imperative of language, and the experience of the limits of perception and intellection. Finally, Gould considers various critical and philosophical approaches to the silence of animals, before discussing examples of silent animality in a selection of poems by Stevens.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Gould
    • 1
  1. 1.King’s College LondonLondonUK

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