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Susan Howe's Landscapes of Language: 'Articulation of Sound Forms in Time' and 'The Liberties'

Gaffield, Nancy (2015) Susan Howe's Landscapes of Language: 'Articulation of Sound Forms in Time' and 'The Liberties'. Women: a cultural review, 26 (3). pp. 270-284. ISSN 0957-4042. E-ISSN 1470-1367. (doi:10.1080/09574042.2015.1069141) (KAR id:54765)

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Abstract

Susan Howe's work explores the conditions for meaning--not as pre-existent, but as something that occurs as a result of interaction between subject and object, reader and writer. It is a phenomenological project in which Howe reduces things to their essence. The primary goal of this article is to reveal, through an analysis of two long poems published by Howe in the 1980s, her strategies in terms of the opening up of syntax in order to investigate patriarchal authority hidden within historical discourse. In these poems, the phrase, or other fragmentary elements, is Howe's unit. It is argued that by erasing elements such as the verb, Howe enacts an enunciative clearing. Occupying the territory of seventeenth-century New England, Howe engages the poem as contained social space in order to illumine the formative myths of a nation. Further, it is shown that by fracturing the language in which history is written, Howe fractures the myth history conceals. Although Howe has attracted considerable critical attention, there has been little attention paid to her work by stylisticians, including those working within cognitive poetics. Stylistics involves the systematic collection of data about the language of a text in order to draw new inferences or to support existing perspectives, thereby establishing connections between linguistic form and literary effect. Cognitive poetics concerns those processes at work in experiencing a literary text and thus emphasizes the reader's role in the construction of meaning.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1080/09574042.2015.1069141
Uncontrolled keywords: Stylistics, cognitive poetics, schema theory, linguistic deviation, conceptual metaphor, phenomenology
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Nancy Gaffield
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2016 14:13 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Sep 2021 13:23 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/54765 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Gaffield, Nancy: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3199-5632
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