Nancy, what of Weialala leia Wallala leialala, Weialala leia Wallala leialala, la la? Isn't this as close as a writer can get to representing feelings or sensations without words? Obviously a writer is not a musician.

My point is that Eliot makes language itself one of its subjects, and foregrounds not only the intracies of convoluted syntax but simple, rudimentary sounds, i.e. those a baby or someone just beginning to speak would make, as well as nature's speech if you will, sounds uttered by water or birds, perhaps placing higher human speech in the continuum of nature. I wonder if he is more suspicious of human speech, seeings its meanings as more "shifty" than natural sounds, or What the Thunder Said. Diana 

Dear Diana,

I am not denying there are sounds that express feeling or sensation.
But there are two distinctions here:  the sound and the letters on the
page are not the same thing, so I am not talking about "rudimentary
expressions" but about the representations of them.

Second, none of the words you quoted from Eliot fit into the category of
"mmmmmm" or "ow."  As I said before, they are all words or
representations of animal sounds, not representations of the human
expressions you note below.  So my main point has been that I do not see
what you describe as in TWL at all--with the possible exception of DA as
I noted.

I also do not see where you get terms like "rudimentary" and

Rick's point is apt:  these are print representations because poetry
itself is symbolic; it's always in words or in characters.  But the
difference I was trying to make was evident in the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poem
I sent:  that could be said to attempt to represent just sounds.

Nancy if you prefer to call rudimentary expressions symbols fine. But
Ow! seems to me to be both sign and signified: it doesn't represent an
experience of pain, it is pain voicing itself. A phoneme that expresses
some sensation, say mmmmm for pleasure, is also a morpheme. But I don't
care what you call these primitive sounds. If you think the sound of
laughter is a word when a writer tries to capture it with the alphabet,
I won't disagree. As Rick noted, however, Eliot had only print to work
with and may have simply created the sounds he inserted in TWL as an
ambient soundtrack under the monologues if he were a movie director.

>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 07/23/07 10:44 AM >>>

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