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This article examines David Malouf 's An Imaginary Life through the lens of Walter Benjamin's philosophy of language. Confined for the rest of his life at Tomis, a distant and foreign outpost on the eastern border of the Roman Empire, the main character of Malouf's book, the Latin poet Ovid, endeavours to master a silent language. In doing so, Ovid overcomes the lack of correspondence between word and object. His efforts of learning a language made of 'silence', I argue, are an example of Benjamin's notion of Ursprache (primeval language), the primordial essence or 'the kinship' of language, a pivotal element of Benjamin's philosophy of language.

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  • Appears in:
    y Orbis Litterarum vol. 65 no. 6 December 2010 Z1803208 2010 periodical issue 2010 pg. 481-496
Last amended 9 May 2014 11:47:32
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