Voices and Silence

in the Contemporary Novel in English

Ed. Vanessa Guignery



Voices and Silence in the Contemporary Novel in English. Newcastle-upon-Tyne : Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009. 290p.
ISBN (10): 1-4438-1247-1, ISBN (13): 978-1-4438-1247-4

Price UK : £39.99
Price US : $59.99

This volume examines the various processes at work in expressing silence and excessive speech in contemporary novels in English, covering the whole spectrum from effusiveness to muteness. Even if in the postmodern episteme language is deemed inadequate for speaking the unspeakable, contemporary authors still rely on voice as a mode of representation and a performative tool, and exploit silence not only as a sign of absence, block or withdrawal, but also as a token of presence and resistance. Logorrhoea and reticence are not necessarily antithetical as compulsive verbosity may work as a smokescreen to sidestep the real issues, while silences and gaps may reveal more than they hide. By submitting their texts to both expansion and retention, hypertrophy and aphasia, writers persistently test the limits of language and its ability to make sense of individual and collective stories. The present volume analyses the complex poetics of silence and speech in fiction from the 1960's to the present, with special focus on Will Self, Graham Swift, John Fowles, Kazuo Ishiguro, Jenny Diski, Lionel Shriver, Michèle Roberts, Margaret Atwood, Jonathan Safran Foer, Salman Rushdie, Arundhati Roy, Zadie Smith, Jamaica Kincaid, Ryhaan Shah and J.M. Coetzee.

Table of contents

Acknowledgements ix

So Many Words, So Little Said
Vanessa Guignery

Part I: Will Self or the Language of Resistance

Chapter One
Radical No-Saying. The Contradictions and Paradoxes of the Will/Self
Didier Girard

Chapter Two
Demotic English in The Book of Dave
Will Self

Chapter Three
Conversation with Will Self

Part II: Graham Swift "in between the lines"

Chapter Four
Graham Swift's Vocal Silences
Laurence Tatarian

Chapter Five
Passing Over in Silence: Towards Quietism in Graham Swift's Shuttlecock
Ben Winsworth

Chapter Six
"You cross a line": Reticence and Excess in Graham Swift's The Light of Day
Pascale Tollance

Chapter Seven
Graham Swift's Tomorrow, or the Devious Art of Procrastination
Isabelle Roblin

Part III: Reticence and Logorrhoea in Contemporary British and American Literature

Chapter Eight
So many Silent Voices, which are mine? (Jenny Diski)
Nicole Terrien

Chapter Nine
From Logorrhoea to Silence in John Fowles's The Collector
Sonia Saubion

Chapter Ten
Filling in what was Left out: Voices and Silences of Biblical Women
Ingrid Bertrand

Chapter Eleven
Breaking the Silence and Camouflaging Voices in Lionel Shriver's We Need to Talk About Kevin
Monica Latham

Chapter Twelve
Making the Voice Wordless in A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
Hélène Fau

Chapter Thirteen
The Translation of Testimony and the Transmission of Trauma: Jonathan Safran Foer's Everything is Illuminated and Liev Schreiber's Film Adaptation
Annette Kern-Stähler and Axel Stähler

Part IV: New Literatures: The Poetics of Silent Voices

Chapter Fourteen
Voices Lost, Voices Regained in Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things
Vanessa Guignery

Chapter Fifteen
Cries and Whispers: Voice in Roy's and Rushdie's Novels
Elsa Sacksick

Chapter Sixteen
Salman Rushdie's Art of Sentencing the Excess
Cécile Girardin

Chapter Seventeen
Still Life and Performance Art: The Erotics of Silence and Excess in Jamaica Kincaid's Lucy and Zadie Smith's On Beauty
Christina Mesa

Chapter Eighteen
Ryhaan Shah's Silent Screams of A Silent Life
Judith Misrahi-Barak

Chapter Nineteen
The Silent Ghostly I-figure in Coetzee's Boyhood: Scenes from Provincial Life and the Grotesque Writing of an Unnameable Secret
Geneviève Ducros

Chapter Twenty
Resisting History, Resisting Story: J.M. Coetzee's The Life and Times of Michael K
Bozena Kucala


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