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Dust and Roses

Dust and Roses Tracing a trajectory of literary and philosophical texts from the ancient atomists to the late twentieth century, this essay explores the surprisingly consistent role that dust has played in the conceptualization of language. In Lucretius, Sophocles, and the New Testament, dust is as much a standard of representation as it is one object of representation among others. In the most extreme case, it becomes the defining medium of inscription. In Paul Celan’s work, the attempt to articulate a rhetoric of negation that will put language on something other than a dusty footing comes perilously close to demonstrating that all verse unfolds under the aegis of the word dust. The essay closes by suggesting that Jorie Graham’s poetry offers a new perspective on what it would mean to read the surface of a text, particularly when that text is dusty. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qui Parle Duke University Press

Dust and Roses

Qui Parle , Volume 28 (1) – Jun 1, 2019

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Copyright
Copyright © 2019 Editorial Board, Qui Parle
ISSN
1041-8385
eISSN
1938-8020
DOI
10.1215/10418385-7522576
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Tracing a trajectory of literary and philosophical texts from the ancient atomists to the late twentieth century, this essay explores the surprisingly consistent role that dust has played in the conceptualization of language. In Lucretius, Sophocles, and the New Testament, dust is as much a standard of representation as it is one object of representation among others. In the most extreme case, it becomes the defining medium of inscription. In Paul Celan’s work, the attempt to articulate a rhetoric of negation that will put language on something other than a dusty footing comes perilously close to demonstrating that all verse unfolds under the aegis of the word dust. The essay closes by suggesting that Jorie Graham’s poetry offers a new perspective on what it would mean to read the surface of a text, particularly when that text is dusty.

Journal

Qui ParleDuke University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2019

References