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Composing Sound

Composing Sound

The Deaf Dalesman, “The Brothers,” and Epitaphic Signs

Chapter 4 (p.79) Composing Sound
Romantic Things
Mary Jacobus
University of Chicago Press

Through Wordsworth’s deaf Dalesman, this chapter explores the silent visual world, in which the arguments about language and signs are given rise. It explores the world of the deaf, where the poet and translator David Wright is able to give input to his experience: “In my case, silence is not absence of sound but of movement.” This exemplifies the difference between the Dalesman’s deafness and Wright’s own. For Wright, the absence of sound is compensated by a visual form. The silent birdsong, for example, still creates a visual form of “sound,” just as does the movement of birds or trees. Through sight, the movement of each species creates a different “eye-music.” The chapter then explores the distinctions between Wordsworth’s and Wright’s work, and how each has given us a glimpse into the world of sound and silence.

Keywords:   deaf Dalesman, Wordsworth, David Wright, silent visual world, eye-music, epitaphic signs

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