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Producing Opaque Coherence: Lyric Presence and Names

Producing Opaque Coherence: Lyric Presence and Names

(p.57) Chapter Two Producing Opaque Coherence: Lyric Presence and Names
Marisa Galvez
University of Chicago Press

This chapter analyzes the phenomenon of the songbook through the transformation of the proper name from a lyric presence to a name as rubric, which functions as a metonymy for the poet and his or her corpus of lyric texts. This analysis is concerned with lyric self-invocation, a name in a poem being different from a name in a narrative or drama, and addresses notions of communality and poetic identity as mediated by the songbook. The chapter describes the effect of “hermeneutic opacity,” the accumulation of archival knowledge that emerges once names are placed in songbooks. This opacity results not only in a consolidation of a unified meaning regarding the identity of a poet but also a condensation of numerous interpretations made legible through the disposition of lyric texts as both rubric and trace of singular bodily performance. By presenting this phenomenon as one that resists attributing value or agency to any single situation of reception or reader, the chapter shows how the proper name serves as a vehicle for a process of translation that ultimately maintains different occasions and engagements between lyric texts and an evolving community of readers.

Keywords:   opaque coherence, songbooks, poems, hermeneutics

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