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Hearing a Voice, Being a Book: Jonathan Swift, Edward Said and the Practice of Literature

Helen Deutsch
University of California, Los Angeles

This talk, a taste of Helen Deutsch’s book tentatively titled The Last Amateur, puts two modes of reading into the balance. The first conceives of reading as hearing a voice, a living encounter with an author that precedes and precludes fixed meaning. The second explores the imaginative resources, what Deutsch is tempted to call a dream language, that Swift’s writing provided Said, whose childhood fantasy of being a book informed his life-long commitment to literature and to humanism. The music of Swift’s irony, along with the inventiveness of his thought, shaped Said’s redemptive idea of counterpoint. Deutsch’s counterpoint of Swift and Said imagines the practice of literature as a kind of embodied music.

Reception to follow the talk.

Thursday, September 21 at 3:30pm to 6:00pm

John C Hodges Library, Lindsay Young Auditorium, Jack E. Reece Galleria
1015 Volunteer Blvd, Knoxville TN

Event Type

Lectures & Presentations


Humanities & Social Sciences


Current Students, Faculty & Staff, Alumni, General Public




Contact Name

Hilary Havens

Contact Email

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