Distending the Rhythmic Knot

Nowell Smith, David ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9840-2507 (2014) Distending the Rhythmic Knot. Palimpsestes, 27. pp. 29-45. ISSN 2109-943X

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This article explores the points of intersection between two forms of translation: interlinguistic and intralinguistic. It starts by offering a distinction between a broadened conception of rhythmicity, which comprehends not only non-linguistic rhythms but also the structuring motility that Benveniste and Heidegger both isolate in the pre-Socratic Greek use of the word rhuthmos, or what Mallarmé is hinting at when he says “toute âme est un nœud rythmique”, as well as the prosodic structure of a particular language (stress patterns, intonation contours, quantity, pitch), and asks how a poem might use its prosodic medium in order to open onto such rhythmicity. Following Michel Deguy’s own reading of St-Augustine, I frame this question in terms of distension: the vectors of intensity and extensibility engendered by metrical deployments of stress and quantity, and yet irreducible to such stress and quantity. When I turn to seven English translations of the final couplet of Mallarmé’s sonnet “L’Angoisse”, it is to look at how these translations negotiate the vectors of intensity and extensibility that pervades Mallarmé’s lines—not to find equivalences beyond or behind the prosody, but rather attend to new vectors in the prosodic intertexture of the target language.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: translation,rhythm,stéphane mallarmé,augustine of hippo
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing
UEA Research Groups: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Research Groups > Modern and Contemporary Writing Research Group
Depositing User: Pure Connector
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2014 16:36
Last Modified: 30 Aug 2023 15:30
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/51039
DOI: 10.4000/palimpsestes.2017

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