AustLit logo
Issue Details: First known date: 2010... 2010 Silence, the ‘Virtue of Speaking’ : David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life and Walter Benjamin’s Philosophy of Language
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

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.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Orbis Litterarum vol. 65 no. 6 December 2010 Z1803208 2010 periodical issue 2010 pg. 481-496
Last amended 9 May 2014 11:47:32
481-496 Silence, the ‘Virtue of Speaking’ : David Malouf’s An Imaginary Life and Walter Benjamin’s Philosophy of Languagesmall AustLit logo Orbis Litterarum
Subjects:
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X