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‘And for a moment’: Voicing the Landscape with Alice Oswald and John Burnside

  • Julian Wolfreys
Chapter

Abstract

In this chapter, focussing on Alice Oswald and John Burnside, I consider, through the work of Maurice Merleau-Ponty how there is a concrete experience of finding oneself intertwined with the landscape, the subject’s corporeality sharing the flesh of the world as one of its visible things. In this concrete experience, through it, the spectral appears, for one comes to see oneself indirectly, finding ourselves haunted by an imminent, invisible sense of ourselves as perceiving; in coming to this apperceptive event, we are given the possibility of apprehending, hearing and feeling how the invisible, the ghostly, resonates within us. Haunted as we are, place and cultural memory give us access to the realization of a cultural accumulation or sedimentation of spectral traces. The poetry of Burnside and Oswald give us access to such a sense of our hauntedness, and thus all the more in touch with the places in which we find ourselves; finding this interwoven condition in ourselves, we experience what Catherine Malabou calls the ‘telephonic memory of a touch’. The language of poetry is revealed in these readings as a gateway between subject and world, between the material and the immaterial, between the material experience and the ghostly realization.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian Wolfreys
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PortsmouthBembridgeUK

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