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Reviews125 work, intellectually vigorous and erudite. It is cleverly written in a style that it would be almost impossible to graphiread. Queen's Universityof BelfastHugh Bredin Paul Valéry and the Poetry of Voice, by Christine Crow; xviii & 302 pp. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1982, $49.50. Valéry once remarked that he was much more interested in what was going on in his mind when creating a poem than in the poem itself. This intense intellectual selfconsciousness is a major preoccupation in his prose work and a central theme in his poetry. Professor Crow's study is the first (in English or French) to concentrate on the relationship between Valéry's poetic theory and his poems. The phrase "Poetry of Voice" used in the tide reflects Valéry's belief that poetry is the language ofVoice. His concept of Voice in poetry is not limited to the sounds produced by die human larynx, although the acoustic effect of words is indeed essential. Voice also means for Valéry the inner discourse of the Self with the Self or, to use his own term, the "monodialogue" (p. 44) of the mind observing its own functioning. Valéry's obsession with inner discourse goes back to the very beginning of his literary career when he decided to give up writing for publication in order to focus his attention on an empirical study of the human brain in action. He devoted himselfto the task ofobserving his own mind as it came to grips with mathematics, the sciences, and artistic creation. Pant One of the present study retraces Valéry's poetic development and gives a clear, concise explanation of the essential points of his poetic dieory. Three major influences are discussed in detail: the Mediterranean landscape ofhis childhood, which inspired much of the imagery in Valéry's poems; the crisis of 1892 when die young poet discovered his intellectual method; and the effect ofthe works ofPoe and Mallarmé. In Poe's Philosophy of Composition Valéry seized upon an idea that became of great importance to him: die belief that poetry is founded upon an analysis of the laws of the mind. By die conscious manipulation of language, the poet can calculate in advance die effects upon the reader. Mallarmé was Valéry's mentor in spite of the basic difference in their concepts ofpoetry. As Crow points out: "For Valéry, influenced by his knowledge of science and mathematics, poetry is but one form of metaphorical lemguage vis-à-vis die 'realit/ of mental experience, where for Mallarmé poetry itself is the only true reality" (p. 35). Valéry's poetic dieory as it relates to the poetry of Voice is presented under five main topics: the relationship between language and self-awareness; die poetic state; the link between sound and meaning in ordinary language and in poetry; poetry as the musical expression of the conscious being; and the total Voice in which the poetics of expression and construction fuse into one gesture of form. In her analyses ofLajeune Parque, a long poem published in 1917, and Charmes, a collection oftwenty-one shorter poems which appeared five years later, the author gives precise 126Philosophy and Literature examples of how Valéry put his theory into practice in his own poems. Through sensuous , musical language each poem represents an aspect of the drama of the intellect, "la conscience de la conscience," as Valéry called it. Christine Crow concludes her study by comparing Valéry's concept of poetry to the Hermetic and Orphic conceptions and to "Heidegger's notion diat not Language but Being speaks dirough us in poetry" (p. 248). This scholarly work makes an outstanding contribution to die study of Valéry's poetry and literary dieory. It will undoubtedly be of interest to linguists and philosophers as well. Ohio UniversityLois Vines Poetic Thinking: An Approach to Heidegger, by David Halliburton ; 224 pp. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981, $22.50. It is well known diat Heidegger's thinking after Being and Time took a decidedly "poetic" turn. True, diere are works like Basic Problems of Phenomenology, Kant and the Problem of Metaphysics, and the Introduction to Metaphysics, yet...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 125-126
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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