Although Typee is purportedly a “narrative of facts” that describes an autobiographical experience, critics and readers have often noticed “the taint of fiction” in Melville’s first novel. This essay considers the gap between fact and fiction through the lenses of Brian Massumi’s distinction between “content” and “effect” or “intensity,” so as to assess the impact of Melville’s multisensory and cross-modal imagery on the transmission of affect. Typee’s “Preface” announces the author’s intention to “speak the unvarnished truth” - but he likewise states his interest in conveying the “beautiful […] vocal sounds” that are “lost to the ear”. The essay examines how in Typee the ear is the vehicle of an undifferentiated intensity that cannot be contained by visual and categorical forms. I discuss the ways in which the “sensory narrative” affects the “factual narrative” puts pressure on accepted notions of cognitive failure, suggesting instead an approach to experience that is less interested in the “unvarnished truth” than in recovering what is “lost to the ear.”

Suoni perduti (o ritrovati) nell’orecchio. Fattualità, intensità e la trasmissione dell’affect in Typee di Herman Melville

Martínez Benedi, Pilar
2017-01-01

Abstract

Although Typee is purportedly a “narrative of facts” that describes an autobiographical experience, critics and readers have often noticed “the taint of fiction” in Melville’s first novel. This essay considers the gap between fact and fiction through the lenses of Brian Massumi’s distinction between “content” and “effect” or “intensity,” so as to assess the impact of Melville’s multisensory and cross-modal imagery on the transmission of affect. Typee’s “Preface” announces the author’s intention to “speak the unvarnished truth” - but he likewise states his interest in conveying the “beautiful […] vocal sounds” that are “lost to the ear”. The essay examines how in Typee the ear is the vehicle of an undifferentiated intensity that cannot be contained by visual and categorical forms. I discuss the ways in which the “sensory narrative” affects the “factual narrative” puts pressure on accepted notions of cognitive failure, suggesting instead an approach to experience that is less interested in the “unvarnished truth” than in recovering what is “lost to the ear.”
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11697/138213
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