Enjoying an article (“Lyric, Time, Beauty” by Sue Sinclair, in the April 2015 issue of Philosophy and Literature) on lyric philosophy this morning, and its examination of Jan Zwicky’s work, in particular her book Lyric Philosophy:
Zwicky’s claim is that the composition unfolds in time but that it is not fundamentally temporal in structure. It reveals its spatial structure in time as a flower unfolds in time, but it remains spatially organized. Temporality is but a way of establishing various distances—spaces—between the elements of the musical composition. An argument, by contrast, is of time; time isn’t a setting but provides the internal structure of the argument, as indicated by the image of the girder. Parts of an argument are connected along a single line that passes from x to y to z; an argument lacks the dimensionality necessary to unfold like a flower. And as the image of the glass pane suggests, it also lacks the flexibility and responsiveness required for resonance.
Because lyric experience, as part of human experience, must unfold in time, it is dependent on time, though differently than an argument is. Zwicky, however, suggests a further sense in which lyric experience bears a relation to time. She tells us that lyric vision is “rooted in the preciousness, the losability, of the world” (LP, L70). This reference to losability suggests a deep connection to time, for loss is an effect of time’s passage.
I’m interested in these ideas for their own sake, but also how they relate to translation – which can also be spatially organized and not “linear”, if we stretch the meaning of “linear” to “mot à mot”.
You can read the entire article here.