By Allen S. Weiss
Breathless explores early sound recording and the literature that either foreshadowed its invention and was once contemporaneous with its early years, revealing the large impression of this new expertise on the very origins of Modernism. via shut readings of works by means of Edgar Allan Poe, Stéphane Mallarmé, Charles Cros, Paul Valéry, Villiers de L'Isle-Adam, Jules Verne, and Antonin Artaud, Allen S. Weiss exhibits how sound recording's uncanny confluence of human and laptop might remodel our expectancies of mourning and melancholia, transfiguring our intimate relation to dying. Interdisciplinary, the booklet bridges poetry and literature, theology and metaphysics. As Breathless exhibits, the symbolic and functional roles of poetry and expertise have been remodeled as new kinds of nostalgia and eroticism arose.
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Additional resources for Breathless: Sound Recording, Disembodiment, and the Transformation of Lyrical Nostalgia
It is significant that this shift is in part based on the advent of silence within poetry, as this silence permits both typographic expansion and free, polymorphic forms of versification (including the prose poem, which Baudelaire helped inaugurate and which in fact constitutes the major part of Mallarme's poetic oeuvre)— not to speak of the increasing role of silence in new paradigms of subjectivity. In turn, the influence of this new form of poetic musicality will transform the course of avant-garde music at the middle of the twentieth century.
These psychic syndromes proffered the phantasmatic origins of sound recording and established a prime scenario for incorporating the effects of recording technology in the forms of poetry and desire. A new type of nostalgic lyricism was inaugurated, motivated by new forms of reproductive prosthetics and technological memento mori at the core of a new epistemology. / 22 Purity of Essence / The multitude of voices, earthly or heavenly, living or posthumous, can now be conceived as being either disseminated or aggregated, all the while conjoined in a previously unimaginable symphony or cacophony.
22 Asthma entails the blockage of breath, whence the impossibility of speaking; it is the symptom of an inadmissible pain that literally cannot be stated, thus signifying something that is to remain ineffable. What in other conditions may be expressed by the scream, as is so poignantly and violently stressed by both Artaud and Bataille, asthma exhibits through a choking silence that metaphorizes the most horrifying and crushing solitude of death. It transforms breath into a death rattle. The asthmatic crisis paradoxically brings the sufferer to the verge of death so as not to die, so as not to go mad, so as not to commit suicide.