Poetics of Breathing

Modern Literature's Syncope

Stefanie Heine
eISBN-13: 9781438483597

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Breathing and its rhythms—liminal, syncopal, and usually inconspicuous—have become a core poetic compositional principle in modern literature. Examining moments when breath's punctuations, cessations, inhalations, or exhalations operate at the limits of meaningful speech, Stefanie Heine explores how literary texts reflect their own mediality, production, and reception in alluding to and incorporating pneumatic rhythms, respiratory sound, and silent pauses. Through close readings of works by a series of pairs—Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg; Robert Musil and Virginia Woolf; Samuel Beckett and Sylvia Plath; and Paul Celan and Herta Müller—Poetics of Breathing suggests that each offers a different conception of literary or poetic breath as a precondition of writing. Presenting a challenge to historical and contemporary discourses that tie breath to the transcendent and the natural, Heine traces a decoupling of breath from its traditional association with life, and asks what literature might lie beyond.

ISBNs 9781438483580, 1438483597, 9781438483597
Language English
Number of Pages 438