Abstract

This essay analyzes William Wordsworth's sonnets "To Sleep" in order to rethink lyric subjectivity as a mode of wakefulness. Focusing on apostrophe, the essay demonstrates that Wordsworth's apostrophes to sleep betray the weakness of poetic language: apostrophe produces the incessant, interminable wakefulness it is marshaled to suspend. By reading WordsworthÕs sonnets together with Emmanuel LevinasÕs account of insomnia in Existence and Existants, the essay concludes with the suggestion that apostrophe is a mode of vigilance and commemoration that allows a limit to be witnessed but not overcome.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6636
Print ISSN
0893-5378
Pages
pp. 93-111
Launched on MUSE
2003-04-18
Open Access
No
Archive Status
Ceased Publication
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