This statement already contains more than mere propositional content. The difference between orality and scripturality is thus inscribed in the literary texts, thematically in metaphor as well as acoustic-rhythmically in form. On the other hand, and paradoxically, acoustic microephemerality becomes visible precisely because the acoustic is in danger of disappearing in the microscript, due to Robert Walser — or a microscript-specialist — being the only one able to read it.
A near-perfect illustration of this is provided by microscript , written in September Even though individual excerpts were published in various forms in the literary sections of the Prager Presse , the Prager Tagblatt , the Neue Schweizer Rundschau , the Berliner Tagblatt and the Literarische Welt , the context is lost from both a thematic and acoustic point of view.
Here, in contrast to other microscripts, the communicative situation is once again reflected upon through the very medium it is written on: a telegram Echte A basic tension thus exists between, on the one hand, a successive superscription of the telegram, or, alternating, an entirely experimental process of writing, and, on the other hand, a subsequent selection accompanied by a decontextualizing of individual text pieces.
Robert Walser always selects these pieces of text from the microscript unedited, as pre-defined units. At first glance, it is not yet obvious that the genre difference is gradual , since even a layman is able to discern an apparent absolute genre difference in the typeface: we see here both left-aligned poetry as well as justified text composed of prose lines, which are extraordinarily long due to the writing in microscripture.
In this way, acoustic ephemerality is not only continuously updated, but itself becomes a literary object. At the end, the seeming contentment of the forsaken bride, who turns to her daily chores, is rhythmically interrupted and thus made precarious. That which is not visible, which is retained in the rhythm — acoustic microephemerality — unmasks the apparent idyll. With that, this initial poem sets the acoustic trace for the entire Microscript However, rhyme is omitted here — which is precisely that parallelizing sound figure which attempts to preserve acoustic microephemerality beyond the line break.
In the third poem, the poetic form deteriorates further: not only do the verses not rhyme, the stresses per verse are also reduced from five to three, from blank verse to trimeter, and are no longer regularly spaced. Even as the poetic structure disintegrates, the acoustic itself becomes a topic. The acoustic trace thus not only becomes blurred, but is also projected onto the literary imagination and is thus explicitly thematized. In doing so, the poetic function — as understood by Jakobson — is split. It is at this exact point that the writing process initiates the acoustic shift in the fourth poem; music, the composer, acts as a guarantee of this acoustic shift.
With that, the referential object — the composer and his art — tips back into the sounding of the poem. At this point, it is scarcely necessary to mention that the aspect of self-referentiality is always part of the poetic function. Nevertheless, the considerable extent to which literary genre modalities determine ambiguity is astonishing. The literary degree of fictionalization is manifested in an explicitly formulated but also implicitly enacted discrepancy between the visual and acoustic medium.
Even today, the compilation of a single microscript sheet such as the one printed here causes great difficulty. Doubtlessly, the upcoming publication of a critical edition of all prints and manuscripts of Robert Walser Kritische Robert Walser Ausgabe, KWA will gradually lessen this grievance. A preview of diligent transcription and compilation can be found in Lucas Gisi Walser The new edition must by all means insure that the visually-insinuated, dichotomously-laid trace verse vs prose is not simply subverted by, but guided through the different gradual stages of the literary sound quality of acoustic microephemerality in the genre triangle of poem, drama, and prose.
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In nuce , what is formulated here is what his second novel, Silber und Salbader, will later focus on more elaborately: 1 the connection between the geological-historical landscape and music and 2 the therewith linked fictionality or denial of reality, respectively. A literary claim such as this stems from acoustic macroephemerality. We are dealing with an ephemerality which can invariably only be grasped in its actualization, yet — in opposition to its microephemeral soundtrack — always retains its imaginary geology as an acoustic reservoir.
Acoustic macroephemerality becomes imaginable in a geological space. Weber Take 1. Accordingly, it becomes necessary to take notice of the acoustic fantasies which determine the plot of the novel as well as its described and imagined landscapes: the novel thinks of itself both self-referentially as a medium of acoustic retention — by analogy with geology — and as a realization of an acoustic score. The aim of this score is to concretize the object treated in literature. In this case, the literary text — as described by Roman Jakobson — uses assonance and paronomasia to produce a parallelization on the acoustic level of subject areas which are otherwise separate and paradigmatically ordered.
Weber Take 2. Subsequently, the first-person narrator Silber attempts the difficult task of locating the spring amongst all its previous reservoirs. I hear a great void, cave winds, the burbling sound of the cold lake, now having found its mouth. Weber Take 3.
Here, Weber mentions the geographical antithesis to Baden — the Rasch Valley — for the first time while, simultaneously, hinting at the entire spatial context in which the novel is set and sounding out its entire acoustic macroephemerality. This acoustic component is linked with literary orality, the basic prerequisite of storytelling. Weber Take 4. Quellbart, purpurne Rosette, Schwarzes Band. Sturzbart, Brausebart, Quellbart.
Weber Take 5. Bauchsaft, Kopfsaft, Geschlechtssaft.
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Gegenstimme mit bamboobesen. As intimated above, acoustic microephemerality is converted into acoustic macroephemerality through its geological interpretation. The language spoken at the remotest end of the Rasch valley is situated at the interface between the pure sounds of nature and human speech. From the very beginning, a microephemerality of linguistic acoustics is thus tied into a greater historical context which fleshes out the metaphor of the Quelle.
From the point of view of the narrator, the prerequisite for literaricity lies in the corporeality of language. The connecting link between the body and literary statement is the voice. In terms of literary production, this closes the circle back to the auscultation of the internal, acoustically macroephemeral, topography and geology. But what story is told in the novel?
The novel tells us about contemplating the conditions of its own origin.
It reveals the codes of the literary message and thereby generates the literary message itself. Literary fiction, however, is entirely at the service of acoustic ephemerality. The literary subject matter is not present as a referent, but as an acoustic medium in itself.
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Thus, the narration oscillates between the materiality of the realized acoustic language material and the metaphors of the narration. This can be traced in two steps, with the aid of the role played by water in a fabricated industrial history 1 and based on geology and its influences on the landscape and the consciousness of its inhabitants 2 :.
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The ambiguous thematization, alluded to in the common textile metaphor of text production the myth of Penelope and seduction through the art of narration, only generates the description at hand when drawing on a presumed content. The medium is the subject matter. Weber Take 6. Drall des Flaxes, Spinnen, Drehgeschwindigkeit.
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Weber Take 7. Aus den 30er Jahren. Dur und Moll. The homonymy with musical intervals allows for the expansion of toponyms. In this way, the literary material forms itself in the oscillation between realia toponyms and acoustic imagination intervals. Weber Take 8. Am Wallenseeufer.
Sekunden, Terzen Oktaven Sargans , Grenzorte In Silber und Salbader , macroephemerality discloses itself within its own imaginary geology, which retains the acoustic and thus, when carefully listened to, also becomes a source — or spring — of languages, voices, and narratives.
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Due to the intersection of the real and imagined acoustic layers of the novel setting, all categorical relations between landscape, text score, narrative voice, and reception begin to slip and glide into one another, so much so, that the entire narrative construction ultimately moves indistinguishably within the same body of sound that the novel itself suggests it simultaneously captures and constitutes.
In German, Quelle can stand for a spring of water as well as for any kind of source i. Instead of rigidly fixing the text in its visual materiality, the acoustics of the actual language transform it into a sounding voice. Consequently, the narrator formulates a dialectically-constructed poetology of musical corporeality. In short: literature creates its world through corporeal sound.
The actual impulse for literary imagination in the works of both Robert Walser and Peter Weber lies not in scribability but rather in the imagined acoustic. The singularity of the acoustic phenomenon and the impossibility of reproducing it are held suspended in the imagination. The larger context of the novel Silber and Salbader is explained by a seemingly surmounted macroephemerality.
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In so doing, the novel increases awareness for the precarious state of the acoustic, in its microphemeral as well as its macroephemeral form. Wolf Ph.