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Impassivities: From Paradise Lost to Hellas

Impassivities: From Paradise Lost to Hellas Though the words impasse and impassive come to English from two different etymological sources—impasse from the French, meaning without a pass; impassive from the Latin, meaning without suffering or without feeling—English invites confusion. In part because one cannot write directly about an impasse without making it less of one, this essay takes up the question of the impasse through the available pun: that is, with attention to impassivity. It begins with the origin of impasse in Voltaire and then, following the Oxford English Dictionary, turns to uses of impassive in Milton’s Paradise Lost and Shelley’s Hellas to explore the interplay between feeling (the feeling of being blocked, for instance) and feeling’s absence. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Comparative Literature Duke University Press

Impassivities: From Paradise Lost to Hellas

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Copyright
Copyright © 2020 by University of Oregon
ISSN
0010-4124
eISSN
1945-8517
DOI
10.1215/00104124-8127416
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Though the words impasse and impassive come to English from two different etymological sources—impasse from the French, meaning without a pass; impassive from the Latin, meaning without suffering or without feeling—English invites confusion. In part because one cannot write directly about an impasse without making it less of one, this essay takes up the question of the impasse through the available pun: that is, with attention to impassivity. It begins with the origin of impasse in Voltaire and then, following the Oxford English Dictionary, turns to uses of impassive in Milton’s Paradise Lost and Shelley’s Hellas to explore the interplay between feeling (the feeling of being blocked, for instance) and feeling’s absence.

Journal

Comparative LiteratureDuke University Press

Published: Jun 1, 2020

References