Thursday, March 6, 2008

Who can shave an egg?

OK, guess which post-something/avant-or other poet/critic is evoked in the following quotations; no cheating!!


“Beneath common English parlance [insert poet’s name] was seeking an Adamic language, which would match the essence of the referent to the signifier without friction, without separation.”

“Language is a mysterious universe, a strange place in which pre-existing patterns, dimly perceived, seem to bespeak some original harmony. As we follow the threads of its labyrinthine lace, the everyday meanings of language become obscure. Homophony comes to haunt it with the spectres of other meanings, and the skeletons of etymology begin to rattle in their cupboards. Syllables break loose from their verbal context, and, like the sibyls of old, call up the shades from an other, spirit world. In the ensuing darkness new constellations of meaning begin to glimmer. The former, seemingly unproblematic representational function of language has sunk beneath the horizon to be replaced by the non-representational Idée…”


ANSWER: Stéphane Mallarmé (1842–1898)

Source: Marina Warner and Roger Pearson, respectively, in this essay.

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