The saddest noise, the sweetest noise

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The saddest noise, the sweetest noise




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Presentations text content in The saddest noise, the sweetest noise

Slide1

The saddest noise, the sweetest noise

Emily Dickinson Lecture

15

th

Nov 2011

Alison Aitken

Slide2

The saddest noise, the sweetest noise,

The maddest noise that grows,

The birds, they make it in the spring,

At night’s delicious close

Between the March and April line,

That magical frontier

Beyond which summer hesitates,

Almost too heavenly near.

It makes us think of all the dead

That sauntered with us here.

By separation’s sorcery

Made cruelly more dear.

It makes us think of what we had,

And what we now deplore.

We almost wish those siren throats

Would go, and sing no more.

An ear can break a human heart

As quickly as a spear;

We wish the ear had not a heart

So dangerously near.

Slide3

The saddest noise, the sweetest noise, (a) (8)

The maddest noise that

grows, (b) (6)

The birds, they make it in the spring, (c) (8)

At night’s delicious

close (b) (6)

Between the March and April line, (a) (8)

That magical

frontier (b) (6)

Beyond which summer hesitates, (c) (8)

Almost too heavenly

near. (b) (7?)

It makes us think of all the dead (a) (8)

That sauntered with us

here. (b) (6)

By separation’s sorcery (c) (8)

Made cruelly more

dear. (b) (6)

It makes us think of what we had, (a) (

And what we now

deplore. (b)

We almost wish those siren throats (c)

Would go, and sing no

more. (b)

An ear can break a human heart (a)

As quickly as a

spear; (b)

We wish the ear had not a heart (a)

So dangerously

near. (b)

Slide4

The saddest noise, the sweetest noise,The maddest noise that grows,The birds, they make it in the spring, At night’s delicious close

Superlatives “est” – bird’s song = extremes of sad, sweet, mad (erratic, complex)

Begins with noise – not with subject (birds) = immediate aural confusion

“Birds” (first in line), “make it” – creators

Sing-song melody, created by

abcb

, 8/6 meter, “delicious” and “night’s close” = romantic, atmosphere.

Slide5

Between the March and April line,That magical frontierBeyond which summer hesitates,Almost too heavenly near.

Between / line – transitional (think noon in others)

Magical – enchanted, romantic, fairy-tale feel?

The giddy, anxious, quivering of “in between” think back to Hungry… “trembling” moment just before…

Expectation: love, romance?

Line/frontier – battle line?

Slide6

It makes us think of all the deadThat sauntered with us here.By separation’s sorceryMade cruelly more dear.

Finishes with…all the…dead (subtle contrast/incongruous word choice)

Sibilant s – whispered, slapping – sinister atmosphere

Opens with ponderous lofty/ whimsical line

Oppositions: cruel and dear = complexity of emotional experience stimulated by birds’ song

Sauntered: walk slowly, no rush

Slide7

It makes us think of what we hadAnd what we now deploreWe almost wish those siren throatsWould go and sing no more

Birds’ song has become “siren”Throat – biological (practical, no longer magical)

We – inclusive - humanity, universal emotional experience>

The birds’ call brings pain – so much that the P wishes they would “go and sing no more”.

Slide8

An ear can break a human heartAs quickly as a spear;We wish the ear had not a heartSo dangerously near.

Simple, effective simile: sounds can break a …heart/as quickly as a spear

Spear – weapon, rapid, piercing, horrific

We wish – inclusive personaDoes ED belong with us??

Danger – to feel pain of lost friends

I

n ED’s usual style, its deceptively

simple

conclusion - is hard to comprehend!

Slide9


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