By Alessandro Portelli
This evaluate of yankee literary background explores the ways that the interaction of written and oral kinds formed the principles of either nationwide literature and political id. It examines various texts, written from colonial to fashionable instances, contemplating how speech and writing have interaction.
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Extra info for The Text and the Voice: writing, speaking, and democracy in American literature
15 Walter J. ” This explains the insistence, especially in poststructuralist thinking, on reversing the logical, chronological, metaphoric order of orality and writing. Roland Barthes appreciates the bodily “grain” of the voice but rushes to clarify that it is but another form of writing, a singing writing of the tongue, generated by the “friction” of music and language. ”18 But these acts of interpretation can only be described as “reading” metaphorically, if at all. As a linguistic act, reading (like writing) implies a degree of convention (and intention) not to be found in the animal tracks on the snow or in atmospheric signs.
7 America, then, lacks the idea of a “folk substratum” and an originary organic community. The “commonwealth” is not founded on hereditary homogeneity but on separation and secession, on emigration and revolution, and on contractual ties among individuals and each individual’s own relationship to God. The American version of economic utopia does not look forward to collective solidarity but to the self-sufficiency of the Jeffersonian yeoman. The only exceptions are the involuntary Americans, both Native and African.
Cardona noted, “the written form stands as the necessary, definitive ideal model of all expression, including oral utterance. ” The meaning of this perception, however, depends on whether we believe that complete is better than incomplete, that definitive, accomplished, certain, efficient are to be preferred to aleatory, indefinite, ephemeral. Good sociohistorical reasons support these preferences, but they are neither automatic nor universal nor entirely satisfying. Literature is one of the areas in which this hierarchy of values is questioned and often subverted.