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Home :: Archive :: 2001 :: April ::
Re: Wedding of Sound and Image
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.0976  Monday, 30 April 2001

[1]     From:   Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Apr 2001 09:47:52 -0700 (PDT)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 12.0966 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

[2]     From:   Terence Hawkes <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Apr 2001 13:04:01 -0400
        Subj:   SHK 12.0966 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

[3]     From:   John Velz <
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        Date:   Friday, 27 Apr 2001 13:12:20 -0500
        Subj:   Melopoeia


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Karen Peterson-Kranz <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Apr 2001 09:47:52 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: 12.0966 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image
Comment:        Re: SHK 12.0966 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

Stephanie Hughes's point about rhythmic onomotopoetic writing is well
taken.  However, I wonder if there is not a deeper point to Terry
Hawkes's comment: our perception that various sounds (and rhythms)
"sound like" their referents is culturally conditioned.  Thinking
carefully about it, the sound of hands slapping thighs and then each
other, even if rhythmically somewhat comparable, really DOESN'T resemble
hoofbeats all that closely.  We have learned to think that it does
(actually, Monty Python's coconuts came closer).

Similarly, many languages make or choose words which supposedly,
onomotopetically, represent the noises made by certain animals.  And
often they are radically different.  English dogs say "woof, woof."
Japanese dogs say "wan, wan."

Cheers,
Karen Peterson

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Terence Hawkes <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Apr 2001 13:04:01 -0400
Subject: Re: Wedding of Sound and Image
Comment:        SHK 12.0966 Re: Wedding of Sound and Image

Stephanie Hughes says that the rhythm of "Leg over leg as the dog went
to Dover," ' . . . sounds like a four-footed animal running.'  No it
doesn't.  If it did, then the rhythm of  'Just for a handful of silver
he left us' would also sound like a four-footed animal running.

T. Hawkes

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Velz <
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Date:           Friday, 27 Apr 2001 13:12:20 -0500
Subject:        Melopoeia

Stephanie and Terry:

Technically the dog going to Dover is melopoeia, not onomatopoeia.
Melopoeia is the case where the voice in a passage of poetry read aloud
mimics not the sound, but the motion of what is being described.  The
best example I can recall from Shakespeare is the passage from 2.1of
*Othello* where Othello greets Desdemona after their separation.  The
image is of a ship climbing up one side of a wave and down the other
side into the trough.

If after every tempest come such calms,
May the winds blow till they have wakened death,
And let the laboring bark climb hills of seas
Olympus-high, and duck again as low
As hell's from heaven. 2.1.183-92

If you recite these lines out loud it will become clear that the peak of
the wave comes on the middle syllable of Olympus.  And we hit the bottom
of the trough on "as low / As hell's from heaven."  The shifting waves,
a trough succeeding a peak, is also a symbol here for the design of the
play seen as the fortunes of the lovers.  Othello sees himself as
emerging from a stormy sea (usually an emblem for Fortuna)  to happiness
and in the immediately following lines as being so high in fortune that
there would be no place to go but down.  An ironic prophecy of the shape
of the play to come.

Yours for tropes and figures,
John
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