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Table of Contents

Table of Contents

1 | Guidelines for Speakers and Moderators


3 | Conference Program: November 26
8 | Conference Program: November 27
11 | Panel 1 Abstracts
17 | Panel 2 Abstracts
25 | Panel 3 Abstracts
31 | Panel 4 Abstracts
37 | Panel 5 Abstracts
43 | Panel 6 Abstracts
51 | Panel 7 Abstracts
59 | Panel 8 Abstracts
65 | Panel 9 Abstracts
73 | Panel 10 Abstracts
81 | Participants
87 | Conference Organizers

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Guidelines

Guidelines for Speakers and Moderators

For the NTUT International Conference on Silent and Ineffable, the Conference
Program Committee approved the following guidelines for speakers and moderators.

1. The Conference policy requires twenty minutes to be reserved for a presenter’s


reading along with the presenter’s introduction, with or without extemporaneous
comments added during the reading.
2. Ten minutes of each presentation should be reserved for discussion.
3. Presenters and moderators should cooperate to ensure that the presentation and
discussion will fit in the allotted time.

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Program
Program

November 26

8:10 | Registration
Assembly Hall, B1, General Education Building

8:30-9:00 | Opening Remarks and Welcome


Assembly Hall, B1, General Education Building

Leehter Yao, Vice-President, National Taipei University of Technology


Yun-hua Yang, Chair, Department of English, National Taipei University of
Technology

9:00-10:00 | Keynote Lecture


Assembly Hall, B1, General Education Building

Gabriele Schwab, Chancellor’s Professor of English and Comparative Literature,


University of California at Irvine
Introduction by Hannes Bergthaller, Associate Professor, National Chung Hsing
University

10:00-10:30 | Coffee Break

10:30-12:30 | First Sessions


Panel 1 715, General Education Building Panel 2 716, General Education Building

Moderator Moderator
Thomas Carl Wall Guy Beauregard
Associate Professor, National Taipei University of Technology Associate Professor, National Taiwan University

Kurt Cline G. Benjamin White


Assistant Professor, National Taipei University of Technology Instructor, TransWorld University

“The Silence of the Silents: Lon Chaney, Tod “The Use and Betrayal of the Silence in the Game
Browning and the Inutterable Secret of Circus of Go in The Girl Who Played Go”
and Sideshow”
Duncan Chesney Chun-wei Peng
Assistant Professor, National Taiwan University National Chengchi University

“Beckett’s Silences and Late Modernity” “Silencing Friday: Coetzee’s Examination of the
Semiotic System”

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continued
Joel J. Janicki Yue-Hsin Fan
Associate Professor, Soochow University National Taiwan Normal University

“Ineffable Grief in Andrei Platonov’s ‘Potudan “What Is Unsaid in Andrea Levy’s Small Island:
River’” The Uncanny Effects Created by the Silent
Michael Roberts”
Hans-Rudolf Kantor Chao-lan Chou
Associate Professor, Hua-fan University National Taiwan University

“The Rhetoric of Silence in the Language of “The Unspeakable and the Dialogized Interactions
Chinese Buddhism” of Diverse Socio-Ideological Languages in The
Woman Warrior”

12:30-13:30 | Lunch

13:30-15:30 | Second Sessions


Panel 3 715, General Education Building Panel 4 716, General Education Building

Moderator Moderator
J. B. Rollins Hannes Bergthaller
Professor, National Chung Cheng University Associate Professor, National Chung Hsing University

Rudolphus Teeuwen Sandie Yi-jou Lo


Associate Professor, National Sun Yat-sen University Assistant Professor, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages

“The Refusal of Meaning: Silence in Roland “Playing Voice: In/effability in Spiderwoman


Barthes’s The Neutral” Theater’s ‘Winnetou’s Snake Oil Show from
Wigwam City’”
Claudia Kuo-Ping Tai Fu-Ju Chiang
Assistant Professor, Hsuan Chuang University National Taiwan University

“The Untold Despair: Self-Mocking Awakening in “How Silent is Silent Hill? The Silence of the
Waiting for Godot” Monsters/Others”

John Lance Griffith Li-ping Chen


Associate Professor, National Taipei University of Technology National Taiwan Normal University

“‘Why arttow stille? Is it for schame or for “Hearing Silence: Too Scary to Tell in Horace
astonynge?’: Silence in Medieval Culture and Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto and Žižek’s
Literature” Munch”
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Program

continued
Yu-miao Yang Huang-hua Chen
Assistant Professor, I-Shou University Assistant Professor, National Tsing Hua University

“Chequered History and Tormented Soul: The “Accidentally Sent: Epistolary Silence in Cape No.
Textured Silence in Conrad’s Lord Jim” 7”

15:30-16:00 | Coffee Break

16:00-18:30 | Third Sessions


Panel 5 715, General Education Building Panel 6 716, General Education Building

Moderator Moderator
Kurt Cline Rudolphus Teeuwen
Assistant Professor, National Taipei University of Technology Associate Professor, National Sun Yat-sen University

Ai-Chun Yen Sheng-yen Yu


Assistant Professor, National Dong Hwa University Associate Professor, National Taipei University of Technology

“Heard Fuse Pieces from Silenced Heritage in “‘Through the Intestines of the War’: Silence,
August Wilson’s Theatre of the Blues” Bio-depoliticization, and Autonomy in Life &
Times of Michael K”
Osmond Chien-ming Chang Jonathan Butler
National Chung Cheng University Assistant Professor, Kainan University

“‘I Sense, Therefore I Write’: Jerusalem as an “Glimpses of In-Between: Language of the


Emotional City in Amos Oz’s My Michael” Ineffable in the Poetry of the Planet”

R. Dustin Florence J. B. Rollins


National Cheng Kung University Professor, National Chung Cheng University

“Strangled and Silenced: Tortured Nature in “Desert Silences in Don DeLillo, Edward Abbey,
Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing” and Tony Hillerman”

Po-Hsien Chu Mindy Yuan


National Kaohsiung Normal University National Kaohsiung Normal University

“Swallowing Silence: Diasporic Imagination “A Silent Beauty Via Fe/male Gazes: From
Invoked by Abject Voice in Monique Truong’s Vermeer to Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring”
The Book of Salt”

continue to the November 27 program

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November 27

9:00-10:00 | Keynote Lecture


Assembly Hall, B1, General Education Building

Leland de la Durantaye, Associate Professor, Department of English, Harvard


University
Introduction by Thomas Carl Wall, Associate Professor, National Taipei University
of Technology

10:00-10:30 | Coffee Break

10:30-12:30 | Fourth Sessions


Panel 7 715, General Education Building Panel 8 716, General Education Building

Moderator Moderator
Joel J. Janicki Hannes Bergthaller
Associate Professor, Soochow University Associate Professor, National Chung Hsing University

Jane Weijen Liang Thomas Carl Wall


Assistant Professor, National Cheng Kung University Associate Professor, National Taipei University of Technology

“The Silence of Spring and the Sense of Wonder “Superfluity, Malignancy, and Revulsion: The
──An Ecofeminist Reflection on Rachel Problem of Cordelia in Shakespeare’s King Lear”
Carson’s Natural Writing”
Eddie Tay Di-feng Chueh
Assistant Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong The University of Manchester

“Writing Against Silence: K. S. Maniam’s Between “Unspeakable Feeling, Unquenchable Desire:


Lives” Lovelace’s Dilemma in Samuel Richardson’s
Clarissa”
Hsin-Ying Lin Robert Tindol
Assistant Professor, National Chung Cheng University Associate Professor, Shantou University

“Orkney’s Historical Dialogue with Scottish “The Absence of Clover Adams as an Ordering
Modernity: Orkney Dialect’s Silence, Violence, Principle in The Education of Henry Adams”
and Vulnerability in George Mackay Brown’s
Greenvoe (1972)”
Yu-wei Chang Michael O’Sullivan
National Sun Yat-sen University Assistant Professor, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

“(Un)spoken Language in Kazuo Ishiguro’s An “‘Words of Silent Power’: The Silence of the
Artist of the Floating World” Joycean Monologue”

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Program

12:30-14:00 | Lunch

14:00-16:30 | Fifth Sessions


Panel 9 715, General Education Building Panel 10 716, General Education Building

Moderator Moderator
Sheng-yen Yu John Lance Griffith
Associate Professor, National Taipei University of Technology Associate Professor, National Taipei University of Technology

Hannes Bergthaller Herbert Hanreich


Associate Professor, National Chung Hsing University Assistant Professor, I-Shou University

“Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Poetics of the “Tristan’s Silence, Philosophically”


Unspeakable in ‘The Minister’s Black Veil’”

Matt Yuan-ming Yeh Shu-ping Huang


National Chung Cheng University National Sun Yat-sen University

“Hysteria and Silence in Virginia Woolf’s ‘A “Write, and Be Silent?—in Search of a Common
Haunted House’” Ground in Elizabeth Costello”

David Yi-ting Liu Irenna Ya-hui Chang


National Chung Cheng University Assistant Professor, Tunghai University

“The Power of Her Silence: Fanny Price’s “Liyun Li’s ‘A Thousand Years of Good Prayers’:
Powerful Aloofness in Mansfield Park” Self-Imposed Silence vs. Habitual Silence”

Liang-yuan Ko Maxine Tzu-jung Chen


Assistant Professor, Fortune Institute of Technology National Chung Cheng University

“The Sound of Silence—the Answer Is Blowing in “Lust in Silence: Suppression and Orientalism of
the Wind: On the Function of Silence in Hannah in Amos Oz’s My Michael”
Wordsworth’s ‘The Ruined Cottage’”
Vinia Ju-ying Huang Gretchen Busl
Associate Professor, National Taipei University of Technology University of Notre Dame

“In the Light of Silence: Jan Vermeer’s Woman “Void the words/Void the silence: The Unspoken
Reading a Letter in Solitude” in the Images of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee”

16:40-16:50 | Closing Ceremony


Assembly Hall, B1, General Education Building

Thomas Carl Wall, Organizer, International Conference Committee, National


Taipei University of Technology

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Panel 1

Kurt Cline, “The Silence of the Silents: Lon Chaney, Tod Browning and
the Inutterable Secret of Circus and Sideshow”

Duncan Chesney, “Beckett’s Silences and Late Modernity”

Joel J. Janicki, “Ineffable Grief in Andrei Platonov’s ‘Potudan River’”

Hans-Rudolf Kantor, “The Rhetoric of Silence in the Language of Chinese


Buddhism”
Abstracts: Panel 1

The Silence of the Silents: Lon Chaney, Tod Browning and the
Inutterable Secret of Circus and Sideshow
Kurt Cline, National Taipei University of Technology

For the contemporary movie-goer, the soundtrack and recorded dialogue of films
seems so integral as to be indispensable. A silent film, by contrast, seems to have
something missing: its lack of recorded sound alters the movie-viewing experience in a
purely negative fashion. Using a phenomenological approach suggested by
cultural-philosophers Jean Gebser and Marshall McLuhan, this paper argues that the
silence if the “silents” might also be seen in a positive light as variation of the acoustic
field. Silent movies then are devoid of sound, but, by creating sound in the imagination
of the audience, actually prevent the silent film at its best from becoming a constituent
of the restrictive, linear visual field that that McLuhuan so problematized. Examples
are drawn from two of silent cinemas most provocative works, The Unholy Three and
The Unknown, collaborations of cult-director Tod Browning and legendary actor Lon
Chaney, to show how silence in film can actually give us something that the addition of
sound cannot: the presence of immediacy, sense perception without mediation.

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Beckett’s Silences and Late Modernity
Duncan Chesney, National Taiwan University

The proposed paper addresses several key episodes in the aesthetics of silence and
un-saying in late Modernity. After situating Modernist silence in traditions of rhetoric,
linguistics/pragmatics, and aesthetics, I will focus in briefly on a few mid-century
examples I find particularly revealing. Establishing a backdrop around the war
involving the problematic of ethico-political silence in Brecht and Vercors – as well as,
in a different register, Adorno – I then situate the contemporary works of Samuel
Beckett, also deriving in part from an experience of war and resistance, in the drive of
Modernist art towards abstraction. Beckett is the great “Abstractor” in literary prose
(according to the 1997 book of that title by Pascale Casanova), but his use of silence is
not fully explained by this urge. I will try to tie together the strands of
aesthetic-minimalist “obligation” and ethical/philosophical speculation in Beckett and
relate them laterally to other contemporary concerns (negative theology, Abstract
Expressionism, Cage, Minimalism) – or rather I will summarize briefly research I have
been engaging in for several years on all of these connections in the overall (late)
Modernist obsession with silence. I will argue that Beckett’s silences are indeed plural,
falling at least within a dialectic of silence (of words, as of the will, in Schopenhauerian
vein) as a “consummation devoutly to be wished” [though NOT to lead perchance to
dreams!] and as something to be avoided at all costs, as a limit of the human (following,
among other things, Heidegger’s insight – and Agamben’s continuing gloss – about the
relation of language, death, and the human). The discourse of silence staged in
Beckett’s work is one of the most complex and intriguing in all of modern art and
thought, and though it has often been the subject of study, I believe there is still more
than humble silence to be offered on the subject (insofar as there ever is so!). This
paper is an overview of my intended contribution.

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Abstracts: Panel 1

Ineffable Grief in Andrei Platonov’s “The Potudan River”


Joel J. Janicki, Soochow University

The present study is devoted to the theme of ineffable grief as presented in the story
“The Potudan River” (1937) written by the Russian Soviet author, Andrei Platonov
(1899-1961). The story of a soldier’s return home from the post-revolutionary Russian
Civil War to the harsh realities of life in the 1920s, and the difficulty of human survival
in the breakdown of civilization and civilizing influences. The recurring themes of loss
are addressed as evidenced by the pervasiveness of orphanhood, the longing for the
deceased mother, the sense of smell that satisfies an unnamed craving, the
somnambulant state of starving and the worn-out figures succumbing to the force of
entropy, the protagonist’s misguided attempt to free his wife from misery by
disappearing; his defenselessness in the presence of a debilitated nature, a Russia land
devastated by revolution and war.

The main character, Nikita, is marked by emotional distance, resignation to fate, and a
recognition of his paralyzing human weakness even with, and partially due to, the
prospect of happiness, a burden in itself. The story’s “ineffable” elements are identified
and analyzed, including the theme of sleeping and the protagonist’s dreams, the
imagery of insects, and the symbolism of the Potudan River itself, to underscore the
nature of a stifling and overwhelming grief that create seemingly insurmountable
barriers between Nikita and his father and his bride.

The writings of V. V. Rozanov (1856-1919) including Fallen Leaves, Solitaria and An


Apocalypse for Our Times, will be drawn upon to provide a broader Russian context for
discussion of the primary theme of the ineffable as well as Rozanov’s ideas dealing
with human physicality, gender identity and the material and spiritual realms as facets
of the human condition. These ideas will be related to Nikita and his attempts at
gaining control over his consciousness, understanding his existential situation and
arriving at a semblance of self-acceptance.

Keywords: ineffable, grief, civil war, self-acceptance, solitariness, happiness

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The Rhetoric of Silence in the Language of Chinese Buddhism
Hans-Rudolf Kantor, Huafan University

Chinese Buddhist sources point out that all experiences of suffering arise from our
clinging onto delusions. There are delusions called inversions which are views
mistaking the unreal as real; they are hidden and we are not aware of them, as they are
reifications inevitably construed by our linguistic expressions and references. The
Buddhist path of liberation or salvation (soteriology) tries to fully reveal the illusory
nature of this linguistic level to prevent us from the unwholesome clinging onto the
unreal.

Chinese Buddhists are also aware of the self-referential paradox which we cannot
avoid, when we linguistically point to delusions arising from our linguistic reference.
However, this does not at all imply that we must accomplish the ultimate insight into
the nature of reality via silence excluding linguistic expression. There is not really a
contradiction between silence and language, as this is an opposition that, again, is only
linguistically construed.

Chinese Buddhist texts manifest a rhetoric which goes beyond the mutual exclusion of
these two opposites, disclosing the soteriological significance of both silence and
language. This paper introduces and analyzes such a rhetoric respectively exemplified
in various ways by the three famous Chinese Madhyamika masters Seng Zhao (374-414),
Zhiyi (538-597), and Jizang (549-623).

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Panel 2

G. Benjamin White, “The Use and Betrayal of the Silence in the Game of
Go in The Girl Who Played Go”

Chun-wei Peng, “Silencing Friday: Coetzee’s Examination of the Semiotic


System”

Yue-Hsin Fan, “What Is Unsaid in Andrea Levy’s Small Island: The


Uncanny Effects Created by the Silent Michael Roberts”

Chao-lan Chou, “The Unspeakable and the Dialogized Interactions of


Diverse Socio-Ideological Languages in The Woman Warrior”
Abstracts: Panel 2

The Use and Betrayal of the Silence in the Game of Go in The Girl
Who Played Go
G. Benjamin White, TransWorld University

圍棋 (wéiqí) or go is a game that was invented thousands of years ago in China. The
game is played on a flat board with white and black stones. The winner of the game is
the one who gains control of a larger area of the board. Go is a game of strategy and
traditionally took many hours (or even days) to play. It is usually played in silence, as
each player thinks deeply about the next move. During this silence each player is trying
to learn the strategy, and also more about, the other player. As the title of the book, The
Girl Who Played Go, suggests Shan Sa uses go as a central theme for the story. The story,
which takes place in Japanese occupied 1930s Manchuria, follows, and is told by, the
two main characters. One is a 16 year-old Chinese schoolgirl and the other, a boy, is a
Lieutenant in the Japanese army. Each uses go for his or her own reasons and when the
two meet for a long match over many chapters they begin to fill the silence that
surrounds their game with trying to figure out the other. As the game and silence
progresses, the two characters fall in love, but the love is built on a misreading of the
other. It is a false love built by the betrayal of the silence and the thoughts that the
silence has produced. This paper will look at how each character in the book uses the
silence in the game of go and how that silence ultimately betrays each character and
the love built from that betrayal is a falsehood.

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Silencing Friday: Coetzee’s Examination of the Semiotic System
Chun-Wei Peng, National Chengchi University

Foe, J. M. Coetzee’s recapture of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe, revives the old theme
through the introduction of a female voice and an author, together with formerly
known characters, Cruso and Friday. Whereas general receptions towards this
metafiction tend to inspire discussions on Susan, the “first female castaway”, little focus
has been granted to the silent Friday, who is more often seen as an auxiliary to his
(fe)male master. Therefore, I aim to put the focus of this paper solely on examining
Friday, the undisclosed character. I would first mark the significance of Friday’s
mutilated tongue by demonstrating how such departure from Defoe’s prototype
functions in Coetzee’s literary design; later, through careful examination of Friday’s
behavior in the first three chapters, I aim to show how the Western semiotic system
gradually seeps in and affects Friday’s performances.

In order to navigate through the complexity embedded in Friday’s silent dealings with
various signifying chains, I aspire to utilize theories from Mikhail Bakhtin and Jacques
Derrida in this paper. Bakhtin’s discourse on language would help elucidate Friday’s
acquisition and application of various signs following the development of Foe. The
Derridian term “differance”, on the other hand, would contribute to form my claim that
the “freedom” and the “true history” which Susan envisions for Friday are unattainable
and doomed from the start. As Friday’s mutilation hinders the immediate effect of
colonization, it allows Coetzee enough room to manifest how he gradually assimilates
the Western semiotic system; meanwhile, the appropriation of different bodies of signs
only leads Friday further from the truth that the female protagonist so eagerly seeks to
conjure.

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Abstracts: Panel 2

What Is Unsaid in Andrea Levy’s Small Island: The Uncanny Effects


Created by the Silent Michael Roberts
Yue-Hsin Fan, National Taiwan Normal University

Andrea Levy’s critically acclaimed novel Small Island won the Orange Prize and the
Whitbread Book of the Year awards in 2004. Levy’s novel immerses us completely into
the lives of four characters during and after World War II – Gilbert and Hortense from
Jamaica and Queenie and Bernard from London. Levy is concerned with the effects of
Caribbean migration on not just the immigrants but the British people as well. The
incorporation of many issues into the novel by the author also invites many ways of
voicing what the text is really about. However, critics and scholars haven’t investigated
how Levy’s novel awakens a feeling of the uncanny in the reader.

In this paper, I will argue that the core of uncanniness in Levy’s novel is tied to the
silent character Michael Roberts. In Freud’s essay “The Uncanny” he identifies and
gives examples of certain events that are capable of causing uncanny effects which are
similar to the events that happen in the text. Even though Levy’s use of a shifting
writing strategy, mistaken identity and coincidence comes mostly from the desire to
accomplish her historical intentions it also creates an impression of uncanniness in the
reader. Levy’s writing strategy is capable of creating an impression of uncanniness in
the reader because it prevents the reader from learning the reason behind the
references to Michael in the main characters’ narratives until the end when Queenie
gives birth to Michael’s son and gives it to Gilbert and Hortense to adopt. Gilbert’s
uncanny resemblance to Michael results in him repeatedly meeting other characters in
the text that have all met Michael. The huge coincidence at the end of the text leads the
reader involuntarily returning back to Michael’s fated reappearances through the
novel.

By close reading the text and arguments made by other scholars, this paper aims to
examine the uncanny effects created by the silent character Michael Roberts.

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The Unspeakable and the Dialogized Interactions of Diverse
Socio-Ideological Languages in The Woman Warrior
Chao-lan Chou, National Taiwan University

Maxine Hong Kingston’s The Woman Warrior has been widely discussed for its
heteroglot and dialogic elements of diverse socio-cultural ideologies. However, critics
often mainly indicate the dialogic interactions between and among figures of voice (the
fantasized woman warrior, Brave Orchid, Ts’ai Yen), the protagonist, multicultural
conceptions, and dominant ideological discourses, let alone an in-depth analysis of the
dialogized interrelations between the forgotten and hidden voices of those silent
characters (No Name aunt, Moon Orchid, the quiet girl) and the narrator (also the
protagonist). In fact, according to M. M. Bakhtin, one’s internal discourse is “half-ours
and half-someone else’s” (The Dialogic Imagination 345). Each individual is constituted
of interrelated languages between his own internal consciousness and other external
consciousnesses which are determined and limited by the ruling ideologies. Therefore,
the figures of silence in The Woman Warrior still possess the hidden individual
consciousnesses of their valid self-identities, like other figures of voice who posses their
own particular world views. Although they—victimized, de-voiced, and deprived of
social-identities—cannot or refuse to make use of the power of words or other active
strategies to confront outer repressions for their successful survival in the society, they
turn their internal unique consciousnesses into the formation of authentic
individualized realities behind the veil of living death of silence. The young narrator-
protagonist as a Chinese American woman, with the narrative strategies of
heterogenization and dialogization, probes into and brings out multiple possibilities of
the unsaid or the ineffable and dialogizes with multicultural conceptions, ideological
belief systems, and individual consciousnesses, which forms the diverse lines of
possible developments in narrativity rather than the representation of one single
“truth.” By retaining skepticism, uncertainty, and ambiguity in her narratives, she
questions the fixed messages carried in her mother’s talk-stories related to her as
“lessons to grow up on,” and accentuate her own re-interpretations. Therefore intense
dialogues with these figures of silence induce not only the exploration of their multiple,
fluid realities but also the examination of their silent resistance against the oppressive
power from the dominant to preserve their alien voices (Michel Foucault’s propositions
can be drawn for deconstructing the operations of existing power relations and thus
for further discussion of the heteroglot and dialogic elements in the novel). Moreover,
through her (re)telling stories of these silent women, the narrator-protagonist
intermixes multiple contesting socio-cultural ideologies derived from multicultural
conceptions of different female characters. The heteroglot sphere of diverse

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Abstracts: Panel 2

consciousnesses nourishes a dialogical environment for challenging the established


moral traditions and customs, and the authoritative ideological frameworks of gender
and race. And the young narrator-protagonist also comes to get empowered and voice
out her individual ideological consciousness in a unique multicultural background, and
to claim her self-invention of an alternative self-identity or subjectivity with cross-
cultural American-ness.

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Panel 3

Rudolphus Teeuwen, “The Refusal of Meaning: Silence in Roland


Barthes’s The Neutral”

Claudia Kuo-Ping Tai, “The Untold Despair: Self-Mocking Awakening in


Waiting for Godot”

John Lance Griffith, “‘Why arttow stille? Is it for schame or for


astonynge?’: Silence in Medieval Culture and Literature”

Yu-miao Yang, “Chequered History and Tormented Soul: The Textured


Silence in Conrad’s Lord Jim”
Abstracts: Panel 3

The Refusal of Meaning: Silence in Roland Barthes’s The Neutral


Rudolphus Teeuwen, National Sun Yat-sen University

In 1978 Roland Barthes, as professor of Semiology at the Collège de France, conducted a


lecture course on the Neutral. Barthes defines as pertaining to the Neutral “every
inflection that, dodging or baffling the paradigmatic, oppositional structure of meaning,
aims at the suspension of the conflictual basis of discourse” (The Neutral 211). That
meaning depends on a structure of conflicts, on oppositions, is very much a
structuralist conviction, one that Barthes helped popularize and to which he remained
a subscriber. The oppositional structure necessary to engender meaning can be
rendered as the continuous need for choices between “A” and “not-A.” But what
happens in language and through language if this binary logic is replaced by one that
unites “A” and “not-A” into a complex term, or one that annuls that opposition (neither
“A” nor “non-A”)? The exploration of these alternatives was very much the project of
poststructuralism and continues to be the project of all movements inflected by it.

In his lecture course, Barthes concentrates on the “neither ‘A’ nor non-A’” of what he
calls “le Neutre.” Barthes finds language often heavy-handed in its demand for
meaning, and his “Neutre” is a refusal to endorse either “A” or “non-A.” Barthes’s
weariness about the constant alertness to the world that language routinely demands
of the language user feels like a wry, lighter version of Maurice Blanchot’s attitude to
language. Barthes’s manner of proceeding is to discuss, in random order, a random
number of “figures” that embody the Neutral and to contrast them with figures of the
anti-Neutral. Prime figures of the anti-Neutral are anger, arrogance, conflict, answer; to
dodge their demand for taking sides the Neutral offers, among others, tact, weariness,
sleep, and silence. That the Neutral and its power to baffle the paradigm must be
opposed, in binary fashion, to the anti-Neutral is a kind of irony familiar in
poststructuralism, and one that Barthes acknowledges by pointing out that his
establishment of the Neutral is, in fact, a desire for the Neutral, and a utopian gesture.

Barthes realizes that the Neutral, in its unwillingness to fight in the battlefield of
contradictions, is a refusal of meaning. What good can come of keeping silent or of
using language in the service of nonsense or confusion? Barthes suggests that the
Neutral embodies the spirit of protest against a loss of nuance that the production of
meaning entails. The assumption is that there are conditions in which the production
of meaning is of lesser value than thwarting its occurrence.

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The Untold Despair: Self-Mocking Awakening in Waiting for Godot
Claudia Kuo-Ping Tai, Hsuan Chuang University

If we are used to assuming life as a journey smoothly heading for somewhere else that
we dream and expect, we cannot avoid being tortured and frustrated as soon as we
discover the truth of life is that there is no certain destination and the journey of life is
merely a cycle of boring, challenging but futile repetition with “nothing to be done,” as
Estragon and Vladimir utter. How can we keep on living without being defeated and
stuck in such untold and inevitable despair rooted in our mind? Samuel Beckett
initially perceives the unavoidable impotence of our nihilistic existence, as the untold
despair shown in his Waiting for Godot. But we shall not ignore the extra meaning
underneath the untold despair. It is not merely an indication of a senseless modern life,
as apparently shown by the four main characters, but also a transforming energy that
first forces the readers to retrospect and laugh at themselves, and then helps them
regain the vitality to live bravely by way of self-mocking awakening. As the untold
despair pervaded everywhere from the beginning to the end, Beckett’s main concern is
not to show the absurdity of existence; on the contrary, he uses it as a powerful
stimulus that leads us either to awaken and rethink the meaning of life, or to succumb
to nihilism. No matter what kind of perspective we choose to experience, the untold
despair in Waiting for Godot brings us a shocking but extraordinary strength for
understanding life and creating a blossoming life while we stay in the world of ridicule.

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Abstracts: Panel 3

“Why arttow stille? Is it for schame or for astonynge?”: Silence in


Medieval Culture and Literature
John Lance Griffith, National Taipei University of Technology

When Boethius remains silent before Lady Philosophy, she demands an explanation.
He is a philosopher, a man of words; how is it he has nothing to say to her? Her
question underscores two fundamental characteristics of silence. First, it must be
interpreted; it has significance, but that significance is by definition unarticulated and
unclear (even to Lady Philosophy). Second, silences (and their significations) can be
differentiated by their causes: an active choice to suppress language or a passive
response to an event beyond language; an indication of understanding (shame) or a
failure to comprehend (astonishment). In medieval culture, silence (through its
connection with the virtue of Patience) has an important place in ethical thought. And
it has a central place in philosophical, epistemological, and theological discourse – the
limits of human knowledge and language being a preoccupation of medieval thinkers
like Aquinas who, confronted with an unknowable God, at the end of a life of
speculative discourse retreated into reverential silence. Juxtaposing Griselda of the
Clerk’s Tale against the heroine Silence of the 13th-century French romance Roman de
Silence, this paper investigates the way in which Chaucer – whose poetry at times
seems to resist states of silence, to fill the world with as much language and narrative
as possible – negotiates the ethics and metaphysics of medieval silence.

29
Chequered History and Tormented Soul: The Textured Silence in
Conrad’s Lord Jim
Yu-miao Yang, I-Shou University

“When your ship fails you, your whole world seems to fail you; the world that made
you, restrained you, took care of you. It is as if the souls of men floating on an abyss
and in touch with immensity had been set free for any excess of heroism, absurdity, or
abomination,” said Marlow in Lord Jim. The fateful abandonment of the ship Patna
shattered Jim’s reputation as a seaman. In Marlow, the narrator’s eyes, Jim remained
‘one of us’ - the brother we would love to have, the youth we would love to have been -
despite his apparent failing when disaster struck. The heroic and conscientious
decision to face the trial plunged Jim to moral wilderness. His public profile became
sullied by the legal fact-finding and the court of shared social code simply could not see
fear and courage in the youth. The enforced silence shadowed every move Jim made
henceforth so he forwent his second chance time after time.

This paper seeks to present Joseph Conrad’s take on the tension between intrinsic
perfectionism decreed by moral code and the human being’s dubious ability to act on
the exalted idealism. I will argue that Conrad beautifully construed Jim’s dignified
silence by creating scenes full of viewpoints, judgments, noises and despair. The classic
themes of fall and suffering find their expression in this elongated novel that sits
gloriously alongside Conrad’s Heart of Darkness and Almaye’s Folly.

30
Panel 4

Sandie Yi-jou Lo, “Playing Voice: In/effability in Spiderwoman Theater’s


‘Winnetou’s Snake Oil Show from Wigwam City’”

Fu-Ju Chiang, “How Silent is Silent Hill? The Silence of the


Monsters/Others”

Li-ping Chen, “Hearing Silence: Too Scary to Tell in Horace Walpole’s The
Castle of Otranto and Žižek’s Munch”

Huang-hua Chen, “Accidentally Sent: Epistolary Silence in Cape No. 7”


Abstracts: Panel 4

Playing Voice: In/effability in Spiderwoman Theater’s “Winnetou's


Snake Oil Show from Wigwam City”
Sandie Yi-jou Lo, Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages

Silence, according to Pinter in an interview, is the “ultimate weapon.” Generally, three


types of silence are identified: acquiescent, defensive and prosocial silence. D. Kurzon
classifies silence into three types, pcyhological silence, interactive silence and and
socio-cultural silence. Dennis R. Klinzing et al. deem another three types of silence:
silence “accompanied by positive non-verbal cues,” silence “accompanied by negative
non-verbal cues” and silence “unaccompanied by clearly distinguishable, positive or
negative non-verbal cues” (671). Be there as many types of silence, it is assured that
silence can be powerful and eloquent as defined by M. Ephratt with “emotive function”
(1917). Namely, silence is not as decrepit and languid but imbued with the ineffable
punch and get-up-and-go. This paper, consequently, aims at an in-depth analysis of the
power of silence in a famous Native American writer, Diane Glancy.

Glancy is one of the most well-known Native American writers whose works of art have
been collected into the Norton Anthology of American Literature. Due to her enthusiasm
in voicing out her tribal experience, she has been quite productive by more than fifty
books (of poetry, of essays, and of plays). This paper will focus on three of Glancy’s
novels, Flutie, The Maskmaker: A Novel, and Stone Heart: A Novel of Sacajawea to
elaborate Glancy’s deliberation on silence. Flutie in Flutie is a shy but sensitive girl who
seldom talks but feels. Her silence pushes her to taste the world and to learn to “[speak]
in silence” (23). Edith Lewis, a just divorced lady, makes mask because she hates words
(3) and because she aware that, “A mask of words behind which there is nothing. Only
silence” (139). In Stone Heart, a rarely presented second person point of view is
employed to stop Sacagawea’s articulation but only to manifest the folly of the
Caucasian expeditionary force. All in all, in terms of the three novels, Glancy discloses
first of all an inarticulated voice in Flutie, next, a substantial silence engraving in Edith
masks and finally, a silent narration in the story of Sacajawea to affirm the real power
of words, silence.

33
How Silent is Silent Hill? The Silence of the Monsters/Others
Fu-Ju Chiang, National Taiwan University

Silent Hill (2006), more than a cult film for fans of the namesake game series, can be
read as a sophisticated text for the complicated issues it involves such as witch hunts
and religious fanaticism. This essay will delve into the film Silent Hill complemented by
the game series to examine the role of silence in the dynamic relationship between the
oppressor and the oppressed. By breaking down the hero-monster dichotomy, I suggest
that the monsters in the film are the marginalized others oppressed by the human
characters. On the one hand, silencing—depriving voice of the others—is form of
persecution. While the protagonists as incarnation of “justice” are granted the right to
abuse and annihilate the monsters, the monsters cannot justify themselves without
power of speech. The suppression of the monsters is a re-presentation of the witches
silenced and persecuted by religious fanatics in Silent Hill and the archetype of all
forms of oppression. On the other hand, silence—an unmistakable characteristic of
Silent Hill—can also serve as a way of resistance. With the unpredictability and
possibility it implies, silence of the monsters resists the intrusion of the characters by
confronting and entrapping them with their greatest fear. From this perspective, the
monsters are likely to subvert unequal power relations through deafening silence. In
conclusion, silence of the monsters/others denotes not only absence of voice and
passivity as traditionally defined but also thundering objection that cannot be heard by
the insensitive ears of the oppressors.

34
Abstracts: Panel 4

Hearing Silence: Too Scary to Tell in Horace Walpole’s The Castle of


Otranto and Žižek’s Munch
Li-ping Chen, National Taiwan Normal University

Although utterances and words seem to express intended meanings and the speakers’
thoughts, silence communicates the messages much more intensely and, from time to
time, more faithfully. This paper examines, firstly, Horace Walpole’s The Castle of
Otranto in which silence functions as the catalyst for the entire story: Walpole’s design
of the repressed truth (about how Manfred came to his throne) and the silent knight is
not only to accumulate the suspense and horror but also to skillfully prepare the climax
near the end of the story. Besides, some idiosyncratic arrangements of square brackets
during the conversation also disclose the true (and evil) thoughts of the characters’
regardless of their well-mannered and kind behavior and speeches. Secondly, I will
explore the unspeakable elements represented in Edvard Munch’s painting, The
Scream (1893), which, as Žižek observes in “Why Does the Phallus Appear,” conveys
anxiety and emotion with the deformed and twisted composition in the painting; as a
result, the frightening scream is not heard but perceived and recognized by the eyes
since it is too terrifying to voice out. Moreover, Munch’s homunculus refuses to
exchange its enjoyment with others thus, his scream can hardly be represented in the
symbolic order.

Keywords: silence, The Castle of Otranto, secrecy, Munch, anxiety

35
Accidentally Sent: Epistolary Silence in Cape No. 7
Huang-hua Chen, National Tsing Hua University

The paper proposes to look at the epistolary voice-over in the movie Cape No. 7 (2008)
as a way of analyzing the repressed memory of Taiwan’s colonized past. Accidentally
sent, the letter parcel is at once the record of a native informant during the Japanese
Occupation and a sign of silence – an erased history due to political and cultural
reasons. Borrowing the language of psychoanalysis, I want to answer the following
questions: Why is it that the letters in Cape No. 7 are never sent or perhaps can never
be sent? What does this lack mean? What is it about the epistolary genre that serves to
bring out the kind of subversive elements in the movie?

Being someone who is interested in eighteenth-century epistolary novels, I found many


similarities between the movie and the eighteenth-century letter genre. For one thing,
the parallel plots keep resembling each other, making it difficult to tell one from the
other. But more importantly, what seems to be lacking would soon turn topsy-turvy:
the old letter has a new addressee, the unfulfilled love has a new ending, the
unresolved history has new twists, and etc. In this way, the epistolary voice-over is no
longer just a narrative and cinematic ploy; it in fact speaks to a cultural present that
longs to uncover the many faces of its repressed past.

36
Panel 5

Ai-Chun Yen, “Heard Fuse Pieces from Silenced Heritage in August


Wilson’s Theatre of the Blues”

Osmond Chien-ming Chang, “‘I Sense, Therefore I Write’: Jerusalem as an


Emotional City in Amos Oz’s My Michael”

R. Dustin Florence, “Strangled and Silenced: Tortured Nature in


Margaret Atwood’s Surfacing”

Po-Hsien Chu, “Swallowing Silence: Diasporic Imagination Invoked by


Abject Voice in Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt”
Abstracts: Panel 5

Heard Fuse Pieces from Silenced Heritage in August Wilson’s


Theatre of the Blues
Ai-Chun Yen, National Dong Hwa University

August Wilson used to say his work was inspired by the four Bs, Amiri Baraka, Jorge
Luis Borges, Romare Bearden, and the blues which beautifully helped him intersect his
readers and audience with heard music and seen images and totems from the lost
heritage and identity.

Wilson mixed his words together with these 4B’s highlights to create a whole new
entity that is both melodic and thought provoking. The paper, thus, is to investigate
how Wilson helped the black to conjure their lost memories by establishing the
presence of music, art and poetic motifs in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Joe Turner's Come
and Gone and The Piano Lesson.

In exploring the mentioned unity of being in August Wilson’s plays, the paper will start
with a discussion of how he showed the essence of heritage fuses (music, images,
totems, tradition and etc.) to the black. Each piece of a Wilson’s fuse has a meaning and
history all its own because after all, every patchwork is a kind of enchanter in time.

This paper not only attempts to present a journey of total construction of the black
subjects, but also a process that involves several fuse pieces that Wilson used purposely.
Besides, through speech acts Wilson disclosed the importance of facing discord,
repressing the ability of reading the lost heritage, and, embracing the keys to the unity
of being.

The paper will conclude with an analysis of Wilson’s theatrical process to help the
black cope better with paste, work through traumatic experiences, increase cognitive
abilities, have better relationships with family and friends, and to just be able to enjoy
the life survival and life affirming pleasures of the black experience.

39
“I Sense, Therefore I Write”: Jerusalem as an Emotional City in Amos
Oz's My Michael
Osmond Chien-ming Chang, National Chung Cheng University

After Independent War in 1948, Jerusalem is a city geographically divided into two
warring states – Israel and Jordan, Jew and Arab. Amos Oz, as an Israeli novelist facing
such historical and geographical change, by all means undertakes many cultural
obligation and emotional burden. To this transformation of Jerusalem, Oz sets My
Michael in 1959’s Jerusalem highly delineating an emotional geography of heritage and
homeland in Jerusalem through the narrator and protagonist Hannah Gonen. By way
of narrative and memory retelling, Hannah’s emotional engagement somehow proves
an experience of shaping human interactions with place and an act of expanding or
contracting in response to emotional experiences of events in her country or at “home.”
Besides, reality or the sensual real in some respects provides the unavoidable base for
the analysis of how human beings construe and comprehend the world through the
emotion. In this regard, how Hannah Gonen’s emotional transformation mirrors the
current Israeli territory from self-identity to nationality is thus the foremost concern of
this paper. In order to clearly elucidate an emotional geography of place and individual
sensory relations between Hannah Gonen and Jerusalem, this paper will firstly draw
into a discussion of the spatial/mental terrain through Hannah’s emotive narratives
from her psychological troubles to domestic conflicts, and then through this
autobiographical narratives, the totality to the map of “home” and “country” in a
feminine perspective and the conflicted attachment to homeland will be explored to
address the emotional/spatial transformation in the final part. Through the discussion
of these issues, this study looks forward to offering another interpretation of Amos Oz’s
emotional geography in My Michael from an individual sense to relocate the past,
present and future of Jerusalem.

Keywords: Amos Oz, Hannah Gonen, My Michael, emotional geography, Jerusalem

40
Abstracts: Panel 5

Strangled and Silenced: Tortured Nature in Margaret Atwood’s


Surfacing
R. Dustin Florence, National Cheng Kung University

This paper shows how both narrator and nature are strangled into silence in Margaret
Atwood’s Surfacing. The narrator is strangled as her words are caught in her throat.
She also comes to appreciate the neck as the site of separation between the head and
the rest of the body, the site at which the animal is silenced by strangulation.

Ecocriticism helps explain the importance of the narrators silence while also pointing
towards a possible solution to the silencing of nature by critiquing scientific culture
and validating earlier cultures’ empathetic relations with animal others. In his book,
The Natural Alien, Neil Evernden shows how scientists are trained to “cut the vocal
cords” of nature in order to silence the cries of laboratory victims. The victims’
“vocalizations” might move the researchers to empathize with the subjects of their
study and thereby render them unable to apply the knife. Morris Berman, in The
Reenchantment of the World, traces the effects of Francis Bacon’s thought on the culture
of science, emphasizing Bacon’s view that nature must be tortured to reveal her secrets.
The narrator of Surfacing comes to see the ways in which her society’s attitudes are
shaped by just such an objectification of nature, and she further comes to see the ways
in which she is victimized and silenced by the same objectifying lens.

Although the narrator is silenced, a possible solution to her objectification is to


discover a mode of “participatory consciousness” that mirrors the immersion within
nature that animals or early hunter gatherer societies experienced. Atwood provides
such an experience for her protagonist, but the next crucial step of transmitting the
insights thus found back into the world of language and culture remains unfinished.

41
Swallowing Silence: Diasporic Imagination Invoked by Abject Voice
in Monique Truong’s The Book of Salt
Po-Hsien Chu, National Kaohsiung Normal University

According to Julia Kristeva, an abject is neither a subject nor an object, but exists as the
border line for guaranteeing the completeness of subjectivity of a subject, yet it is
necessarily repulsive and should be excluded by a subject. Based upon Kristeva’s
theoretical concept, this paper aims to read and interpret the abject role of the “others”
presented in dispora, and the function of silence imposing on them in terms of
abjection in The Book of Salt. As a male homosexual exiled by his conservative
Vietnamese society under the control of French colonization, Bình the protagonist flees
to Paris and becomes a servile and silent live-in cook for GertrudeStein and Alice B.
Toklas. Due to his inability to master French and lack of specialties, Bình is in the
position of being an abject in the foreign land, and everyone around him simply takes
advantage of him when he is needed, forcing him to swallow silence while he is of no
use. In fact, Bình’s pathetic silence could be seen as an epitome of the unnamable
pathos of most abject “others” portrayed in lots of post-colonial literature. Food thus
constitutes the only path for Bình to vibrate his abject voice, since the making of food
allows him to remember the taste of cuisine in Vietnam and articulate life experiences
of the past and present, constructing a site for diasporic imagination. Moreover,
through Bình’s voice as the first-person narrator to narrate the whole story, I further
argue that Monique Truong’s writing strategy

42
Panel 6

Sheng-yen Yu, “‘Through the Intestines of the War’: Silence,


Bio-depoliticization, and Autonomy in Life & Times of Michael K”

Jonathan Butler, “Glimpses of In-Between: Language of the Ineffable in


the Poetry of the Planet”

J. B. Rollins, “Desert Silences in Don DeLillo, Edward Abbey, and Tony


Hillerman”

Mindy Yuan, “A Silent Beauty Via Fe/male Gazes: From Vermeer to


Chevalier’s Girl with a Pearl Earring”
Abstracts: Panel 6

“Through the Intestines of the War”: Silence, Bio-depoliticization,


and Autonomy in Life & Times of Michael K
Sheng-yen Yu, National Taipei University of Technology

Departing with his mother without travel permits from the chaotic city of Cape Town to
her idyllic birthplace called Prince Albert, Michael K incurs detention by the police and
the soldiers in a South Africa that has entered the state of emergency. Detained first in
the Jakkalsdrif work camp and then in the Kenilworth rehabilitation camp, he strongly
desires to be left alone. He then escapes Jakkalsdrif and hides in the mountains to live
as a gardener near a dam. One day he discovers the chance visit of eleven guerrillas,
yet despite his sympathy for them and his mental and physical wretchedness, he does
not, though tempted to, seek their protection or companionship. Rather, he wishes to
remain socially alienated in order to secure what one might call his bio-depoliticization
and autonomy during a war in which he refuses to participate.

Michael K is reticent, inarticulate, and unattractive. His silence is not, as many critics
believe, entirely the consequences of his disfigurement, his unhappy childhood
experience of solitude, and the death of his mother, which occurs on the journey to
Prince Albert. Rather, I will argue, Michael K’s silence is the necessary condition of his
fantasies, his thoughts, and his escapism; it is a sign of his will and the prerequisite for
his autonomy. Without silence, Michael K will not be able to indulge in reveries either
at Huis Norenius, the institution where he grows up into a youth, or in the mountains.
Thus he hates both the constant noise of radio music at Huis Norenius that disturbs his
thoughts and the noise of the radio the soldiers hang outside the Visagie farmhouse
that evokes his unpleasant memories of the war, the camps, and concomitant
exploitation, oppression and enslavement.

Aspiring to achieve the Kantian Will to give itself its own law, Michael K wants to be
abandoned, to be left alone. His evacuation from the war-ridden Cape Town to Anna K’s
birthplace in Prince Albert, his cultivation of vegetables at the Visagie farm, his escape
from the Visagie grandson’s claim for his servitude, his solitary struggle for survival in
the mountains, his detention by the police at Jakkalsdrif, his escape from the camp and
return to the Visagie farm, his decision not to join the insurgents who happen to stop by
his dam in the mountains, his discovery by the soldiers and the police of Prince Albert,
his incarceration in the rehabilitation camp at Kenilworth, his escape from the camp
and return to Cape Town, his detachment from the harassment of a pimp and two
prostitutes on Beach Road, and finally his determination to resume his career as a
gardener relying on a small packet of pumpkin seeds, all these episodes of Michael K’s

45
flight, detention, escape, and reincarceration constitute the processes of his pursuit of
bio-depoliticization, a quest undergone “[t]hrough the intestines of the war” despite his
wish to stay out of it. Nevertheless, his silent determination to pursue
bio-depoliticization, a desirable condition of living liberated from the realm of politics,
culminates in his autonomy as a gardener at the end of the novel.

As such, in this paper, I will examine silence in the novel not only as a phenomenon but
also as a trope. In order to explore the significances and signification of Michael K’s
silence in relation to his pursuit of bio-depoliticization and autonomy, I will
appropriate the concept of the politicization of life the Italian philosopher Giorgio
Agamben addresses in Homo Sacer: Sovereign Power and Bare Life. I will suggest that in
Life & Times of Michael K, silence is not only an individual trait but also an impossible
space of paranoia to authority as well as a desirable condition of being and a powerful
strategy of resistance to Michael K.

46
Abstracts: Panel 6

Glimpses of In-Between: Language of the Ineffable in the Poetry of


the Planet
Jonathan Butler, Kainan University

“Mankind is driven forward by dim apprehensions of things too obscure for its existing
language.” - A.N. Whitehead

In the embryonic dawn of a new millennium, a form of eco-poetry and criticism has
emerged which honours, through its diction and imagery, an increasing recognition of
a world beyond language, and of the failures of language to fully encapsulate what little
we do know and sense of the world we inhabit. Such a paradox is sustained by certain
poets and critics today in reverential awe, with a rejuvenated sense of mystery for the
world instead of a rationalized domination of it through nomenclature. Canadian poet
Tim Lilburn perhaps puts it best in identifying that unquantifiable character of the
world that language fails to illuminate, and only silent contemplation can bear witness
to: “The world is its names plus their cancellations, what we call it and the
undermining of our identifications by an ungraspable residue in objects. To see it
otherwise, to imagine it caught in our phrases, is to know it without courtesy, and this
perhaps is not to know it at all." It is in this light that the work of Scottish poet John
Burnside acquires a very special significance far beyond the aesthetic pleasure
provided by his poems. Even in his early career, Burnside exhibits a demonstrable
appreciation for the “courtesy” we are meant to show the world, and for the fact that
such courtesy is best expressed through a withdrawal from language into the ineffable.
The paradox, of course, lies in the use of language to suggest this precise imperative in
poetic fashion.

47
Desert Silences in Don DeLillo, Edward Abbey, and Tony Hillerman
J. B. Rollins, National Chung Cheng University

Considering the work of three recent American writers of differing genres--Edward


Abbey (nature writing and eco-awareness), Don DeLillo (postmodern, primarily urban
novel), and Tony Hillerman (detective/mystery novel)--allows us to survey uses, forms
and effects of silence in literature in ways not often encountered in current critical
considerations of silence, the unpresentable, and the ineffable. Writing about the
unique forms of silence encountered in desert environments confronts the seemingly
unsolvable riddle of saying the unsayable, representing the unrepresentable, and yet
these masters have been signally successful in confronting that particular sphinx. Our
attempts to understand their responses to that conundrum can gain considerable
traction from Jean Baudrillard's musings on the American desert as well as Jean-
Francois Lyotard's reconsideration of the sublime, especially regarding its immanence
and temporality. Our efforts will range from Abbey's reputedly misanthropic,
dialectical oppositioning of silence and civilization in Desert Solitaire (1968) and
Beyond the Wall (1984) to the merging/juxtapositioning of silence and the word in
DeLillo's Point Omega (2010) to Hillerman's silence as cultural signifier, product of the
ineffability of taboo, and reaction to the shock of the desert sublime in People of
Darkness (1980). As we proceed, silence and the ineffable will be considered not so
much as lack of speech in response to other speech but more as a response to that for
which there are, or must be, no words, as literary representations of the awe-inducing
silence of desert vastnesses and the silence of the solitary self.

Keywords: silence, the ineffable, the desert, solitude, the sublime, detective fiction,
nature writing

48
Abstracts: Panel 6

A Silent Beauty Via Fe/male Gazes: From Vermeer to Chevalier’s Girl


with a Pearl Earring
Mindy Yuan, National Kaohsiung Normal University

Girl with a Pearl Earring is a mysterious masterpiece by Dutch painter Johannes


Vermeer (1632-1675). The uniqueness of the painting lies in its sense of mystique,
resulted from the girl’s innocent beauty interweaving with the unrefined costume and
twinkling pearl earrings on her simultaneously. Due to the lack of biography about
Vermeer has been published, the young girl’s historical identity still remains in silence.
This has inspired author Tracy Chevalier’s curiosity to transform this ineffable bella
into the vocal output in the first narrative novel Girl with a Pearl Earring. This essay
aims on historical background at Vermeer’s painting career into Chevalier’s work to
discover between silent beauty and unspeakable relationship in a discussion of Fe/male
gaze.

Seeing comes before words. Men gaze and act, women appear and disappear in
masculine works. The closeness between Vermeer and Griet breaks the peace of family,
the jealousy from Catharina sirens unbearably poignant, but the maid’s quietness leads
her to the final freedom. Under the male master’s gaze, the oil painting in the
mid-seventeenth century is silent; through the modern female surveyor’s eyes, the girl
with a pearl earring overtones beyond unsaid hindsight. These will serve as the
examples in this paper. While being supported by John Berger’s gaze approach and
Fe/male visual power study from Laura Mulvey, this article also employs John
Armstrong’s analysis on unspeakable emotion of beauty, prompting me to explore if
the silent muse of artists remains a mirror of hegemonic discourses, perhaps more a
study of the visual awakening in her own splendor.

Keywords: Girl with a Pearl Earring, silent, beauty, Fe/male gaze

49
50
Panel 7

Jane Weijen Liang, “The Silence of Spring and the Sense of Wonder──
An Ecofeminist Reflection on Rachel Carson’s Natural Writing”

Eddie Tay, “Writing Against Silence: K. S. Maniam’s Between Lives”

Hsin-Ying Lin, “Orkney’s Historical Dialogue with Scottish Modernity:


Orkney Dialect’s Silence, Violence, and Vulnerability in George Mackay
Brown’s Greenvoe (1972)”

Yu-wei Chang, “(Un)spoken Language in Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the


Floating World”
Abstracts: Panel 7

The Silence of Spring and the Sense of Wonder──An Ecofeminist


Reflection on Rachel Carson’s Natural Writing
Jane Weijen Liang, National Cheng Kung University

Silent Spring is the most well-known work of Rachel Carson (1907-1964) and her last
words before the silence of death. In this book, she pictures the terrifying eco-silence
which may come as the outcome of human destruction and environmental pollution
produced by chemical industry. This silence signifies death, terror, and the end of
creation. This book is an intriguing hybrid of writing that combines science with
literature, ecology with technology, stating facts with apocalyptic warnings.

However, in The Sense of Wonder, Carson describes another kind of silence, the
“awe-inspiring” silence of “the remembered child in all of us” when we face the world
of nature full of sounds, colors, and shapes. This is the silence of humans to show the
respect to life and creativity that reach beyond “the limitations of the human size scale.”
This silence is also what feminist scholars call as “listen[ing] to the silence,” the
yearning without voice, the “pregnant” status. Through reading and comparing these
two works of Rachel Carson, we may see the development of her ecofeminist journey in
understanding self and others, and in writing death and life as the most profound
capacities in the natural world.

53
Writing Against Silence: K. S. Maniam’s Between Lives
Eddie Tay, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

It has been policy since the late 1950s that the works of non–Malay writers who do not
write in Bahasa Malaysia, the official national language, are excluded from the body of
texts known as “National Literature” and are grouped under the term “Sectional
Literatures”. From the outset, the earlier generation of Malaysian Anglophone writers
to which K. S. Maniam belongs has been conscious of its marginal status, given a statist
discourse through which a literary canon that privileges Malay-language works is
formed.

In Maniam’s novels, one is able to trace a narrative strategy that speaks out of silence.
This paper will discuss how the novels return to the past in order to recover aspects of
the diasporic cultural memory. It argues that in his novels, the act of returning to the
past is elaborated to form an understanding of the characters’ post-diasporic presence
in Malaysia.

54
Abstracts: Panel 7

Orkney’s Historical Dialogue with Scottish Modernity:


Orkney Dialect’s Silence, Violence, and Vulnerability in George
Mackay Brown’s Greenvoe (1972)
Hsin-Ying Lin, National Chung Cheng University

This interdisciplinary conference aims to investigate the diverse ways in which the
notions of the unsaid can be explored through personal, social and even international
practices in everyday life. This fuels my concern with the dynamic relationship
between geographical space and imaginative (emotional) space in the historical
accounts of Scottish Orkney Island in George Mackay Brown’s Greenvoe (1972). Rather
than based on the reality either of the Orkney’s past or of its present, this fiction
removes itself from the category of realism into the territory of allegory. It involves
realistic content mixed with episodes reminiscent of details regarding various
characters’ fantastic and imaginary individual lives. This literary technique of “magical
realism” describes a myth of Orkney history and tradition, showing the nostalgia of
Orkney’s traditional life, historical indignation, cultural discomfort, and political
dismissal, suffered by Orkney’s descendant residents of Viking Norsemen, (Norsemen
period; from about 800 A.D. until the pawning of the island to the Scottish King James
III in 1468 as the pledge for a wedding dowry), who either became the oppressed farm
workers, or went into exile, after the transfer of Orkney. I would like to address the
difficulties and ambiguities of historical “truth” as shown through the experiences of
the ever strong and widely-feared Norse sea-power’s offspring, particularly the
dramatic change in Orkney life after the Reformation of the Church which brought
Protestantism to Orkney. Such individuals as George Mackay Brown endeavored to find
both personal and cultural identities by reading homeland history and by then living
out their own “history” to their knowledge.

The history of Hellya presented chronologically in Greenvoe is the history of Orkney as


a whole. The political policies, scientific development and religious turmoil, which
have caused an economic decline and deterioration of Orkney life since the transfer of
the Orkney, are the major forces inducing characters’ sense of guilt for actions of the
past, and also contributing to their present breakdown. I will mainly use Slavoj Žižek’s
psychoanalysis notion of the violence of language to analyze George Mackay Brown’s
intentionally subversive force of history as it becomes apparent at the level of Orkney’s
dialect used by characters in dialogue form in Greenvoe (through strategic inflections,
re-accentuations and performative moves in lexical codes); his authentic but subjective
reconstruction of history involves characters’ individual “imaginative rediscovery” of
historical “truth” through centuries of Orkney life.

55
The central argument of my paper is that Orkney dialect’s indignation at a corrupted
world of bureaucracy and scientific progress, on the one hand, reflects Orkney people’s
emotional effect of victimization (an unwillingness to forgive the outsiders’ physical
destruction and spiritual oppression of the Orkney’s life), but on the other hand, warns
us of the lurking danger of this linguistic violence which involves a more enormous
psychological harm (too easily self-identified vulnerability and henceforth the lost of
self-worth or self-respect). Brown seems to proclaim that forgiveness, as a part of
Orkney’s social reconstruction, is required, as historical indignation follows civil wars
or systematic social injustices.

Keywords: Scottish Orkney Island, magical realism, allegory, violence of language,


victimization, self-identified vulnerability, forgiveness

56
Abstracts: Panel 7

(Un)spoken Language in Kazuo Ishiguro’s An Artist of the Floating


World
Yu-wei Chang, National Sun Yat-sen University

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Japan in 1954, and his family moved to England at his age
of six. After finishing his MA in Creative Writing in the University of East Anglia in 1980,
he started to show his talent in writing—songs, screenplays, and novels. His novels
include A Pale View of Hills (1982), An Artist of the Floating World (1986), The Remains
of the Day (1989), The Unconsoled (1995), When We Were Orphans (2000), and Never Let
Me Go (2005). This paper will particularly focus on Ishiguro’s second novel, An Artist of
the Floating World, and studies it from the perspectives of linguistics, in terms of the
linguistic theories of Communication Accommodation Theory (CAT), Code-switching
(CS) and Image Schema, with the purpose of analyzing the language use of the
characters. In addition to the exterior facet of language utterances in the novel,
Sigmund Freud’s theory, the Uncanny, will be introduced in order to look into the
theme of the unsaid/silence in the novel and to probe into the interior of the characters
and the author.

The setting of An Artist of the Floating World is post-World War II Japan, and is
estimated by Ching-chih Wang to be set from 1948 to 1950. Its narrator is Masuji Ono,
who used to be a distinguished artist before and during the war. However, in the
course of the novel, he is turned into “the other” by the changes in his nation due to the
failure of the war, and he is forced to be silent in certain circumstances. The purpose of
this paper is to study the language in the novel and analyze it in the hope of providing a
niche for the research of the language use in Ishiguro’s novel and the argument of how
identity can be affected by war.

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58
Panel 8

Thomas Carl Wall, “Superfluity, Malignancy, and Revulsion: The Problem


of Cordelia in Shakespeare’s King Lear”

Di-feng Chueh, “Unspeakable Feeling, Unquenchable Desire: Lovelace’s


Dilemma in Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa”

Robert Tindol, “The Absence of Clover Adams as an Ordering Principle in


The Education of Henry Adams”

Michael O’Sullivan, “‘Words of Silent Power’: The Silence of the Joycean


Monologue”
Abstracts: Panel 8

Superfluity, Malignancy, and Revulsion:


The Problem of Cordelia in Shakespeare’s King Lear
Thomas Carl Wall, National Taipei University of Technology

“A clear conscience is the source of evil” – Kafka

The problem of Cordelia is in two parts. First: Why does she not humor her father in
Act I, spare him humiliation, and gain for herself the most generous third of the
kingdom and also his grateful companionship in his old age? Why does she leave the
words he wanted to hear unsaid? Second: Is her death in any way justifiable?

I argue that Cordelia’s intransigence is inherently mysterious, satisfies no dramatic


requirement, and thus begins to push the action outside dramatic representation
toward the sheer superfluity and malignancy of human suffering. (In great part this is
A. C. Bradley’s interpretation as well and my thoughts here should be regarded as a
mere footnote to his exemplary analysis of the play.) Regarding the second part of the
problem I want to draw the modern reader back to the play’s original reception. I ask
the reader to recall that from Tate’s 1681 stage version (which had Samuel Johnson’s
approval) until Kean’s 1838 London production, the ending of the play was changed to
allow Cordelia to escape death, marry Edgar, and live as it were ‘happily ever after’.
Cordelia’s death by hanging was erased because it was considered too terrible to
imagine. Her death inspired an experience which, like the superfluity and malignancy
of suffering, the Western reader is in peril of forgetting: revulsion.

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Unspeakable Feeling, Unquenchable Desire: Lovelace’s Dilemma in
Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa
Di-feng Chueh, The University of Manchester

The aim of this paper is to examine how Robert Lovelace struggles between his
sentimental feeling and libertinism in his relationship with Clarissa with a further
intention to unravel the meaning of it in Samuel Richardson’s Clarissa. Lovelace is a
professed libertine to the opposite sex, as Richardson describes in the preface of the
novel, and representations of his libertinism are understood by many critics to be his
association with Restoration libertine creeds, in which libertines are often ruthless in
their behaviour to their female counterparts. While finding this argument is forceful, I
contend that Lovelace is not a typical Restoration-type libertine, but a representative of
the evolving Georgian libertinism due to his feeling of sentiment.

After meeting with Clarissa, the dark side of Lovelace’s libertine nature is aroused, for
he vows to seduce our heroine. Had Lovelace been a merciless libertine, he would
become a flat, insipid libertine character owing to similarities he shares with his
Restoration antecedents. In fact, Lovelace’s compassion amid his desire for conquest is
also gradually awakened over the course of the novel, because he from time to time
sympathises with Clarissa’s ordeals imposed by him. At this moment, Lovelace is at a
loss to know what to do with Clarissa since his seduction plan and fellow feeling are
contradictory to each other. In order to carry out his plan, Lovelace tries to avoid those
sentimental feelings or “reflections”, as he terms them in the novel; nevertheless, his
efforts prove to be in vain, since he is constantly haunted by these “unspeakable”
feelings.

By looking at how Lovelace is traumatised by those compassionate, ineffable feelings in


his relationship with Clarissa in Richardson’s Clarissa, we will come at the point that
not only victims but also oppressors, such as Lovelace, may sometimes be baffled and
silenced by others’ misfortunes, albeit they are the cause of them. Thus, examinations
of how the discourses of silence and ineffable feelings are wrought in Richardson’s
Clarissa should not be fixed to the portrayal of our victimised heroine, but they should
be extended to that of Lovelace’s dilemma, so as to reach a more nuanced
understanding of how Richardson characterises Lovelace.

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Abstracts: Panel 8

The Absence of Clover Adams as an Ordering Principle in The


Education of Henry Adams
Robert Tindol, Shantou University

By far Henry Adams's most recognizable work, The Education of Henry Adams traces
the author's life from infancy to 1905, when he was 67. Notably missing in the 420-page
text is any mention of his wife Clover, who committed suicide in 1885 after 13 years of
marriage. I argue that Clover is indeed mentioned indirectly in the text, and that the
famous "virgin and dynamo" dichotomy is introduced only after the "Twenty Years
After" chapter that covers the entire period of his marriage. Just as Clover is
memorialized in the famous Rock Creek statue by Augustus St. Gaudens, she is also
present in Henry Adams's inability to choose a path between the certainty of the past
and the inhuman forces he sees as driving human history. The monument to Clover,
then, is the very aporia that prevents Henry from concluding whether the universe
drives toward unity or chaos.

63
“Words of Silent Power”: The Silence of the Joycean Monologue
Michael O'Sullivan, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

While Ulysses describes the life-as-world of Bloom the tragic Everyman in terms of the
human attributes of weakness, impotence and jealousy, Finnegans Wake extends this
interest in weakness to a broader examination of language. Joyce is eager to discredit
language’s debt to “sacred scriptured sign” (FW 356). He denigrates a “roomyo conellic”
[Roman Catholic] (326) heritage in language by aligning eschatology with sexual
exploitation. His theologians discuss the “line” of scripture in terms of the violation of
the body: “There is among others pleasons whom I love and which are favourests to
mind, one which I have pushed my finker in for the movement and, but for my sealring
is none to hand I swear, she is highly catatheristic and there is another which I have
fombly fingered freequuntly and, when my signet is on sign again I swear, she is deeply
sangnificant. Culpo de Dido! Ars we say in the classies. Kuntsful, we others said. What
ravening shadow! What dovely line!” (FW 357: 10-16).

Joyce is eager to rescue the sacred and desire back into a language free from the
constraining influences above that destroy or neglect the “silent power” of words
through a misuse of power. By formally combining a concern for weakness and for a
subtly of expression that brings languages together, Joyce seeks to restore this “silent
power” to language. At times he seems to yearn for a writing that would leave no trace
whatsoever behind: “Leave the letter that never begins to go find the latter that ever
comes to end, written in smoke and blurred by mist and signed of solitude, sealed at
night” (FW 337).

This paper will describe how Joyce transforms his description of the weak hero in
Ulysses into a wider concern for the weakness of the word in Finnegans Wake.

64
Panel 9

Hannes Bergthaller, “Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Poetics of the Unspeakable


in ‘The Minister’s Black Veil’”

Yuan-ming Yeh, “Hysteria and Silence in Virginia Woolf’s ‘A Haunted


House’”

David Yi-ting Liu, “The Power of Her Silence: Fanny Price’s Powerful
Aloofness in Mansfield Park”

Liang-yuan Ko, “The Sound of Silence—the Answer Is Blowing in the


Wind: On the Function of Silence in Wordsworth’s ‘The Ruined Cottage’”

Vinia Ju-ying Huang, “In the Light of Silence: Jan Vermeer’s Woman
Reading a Letter in Solitude”
Abstracts: Panel 9

Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Poetics of the Unspeakable in “The


Minister’s Black Veil”
Hannes Bergthaller, National Chung Hsing University

The pernicious consequences of a failure to speak one’s guilt are one of the overriding
themes in the work of Nathaniel Hawthorne. This has often been attributed to his
enduring fascination with the Puritan legacy, and particularly with the concept of
original sin. In this paper, I will expand on this idea, arguing that unspeakable guilt is
of such central importance for Hawthorne not only because of its theological or
psychological resonances, but also because of the poetological possibilities it affords.
This can be shown in one of Hawthorne’s early stories, “The Minister’s Black Veil,”
which was first published in 1836. The story revolves around one Minister Hooper who,
much to the astonishment of his congregation, takes to wearing a black veil which
covers his entire face. Even unto his deathbed, he refuses to remove the veil and
remains silent with regard to its significance. This veil has often been interpreted as a
symbol of original sin. I wish to argue that it is better understood as a symbol for
Hawthorne’s own literary art, an art which likewise aims at creating allegorical
equivalents for problems that had traditionally fallen within the purview of religion.

67
Hysteria and Silence in Virginia Woolf’s “A Haunted House”
Matt Yuang-ming Yeh, National Chung Cheng University

“A Haunted House” was written by Virginia Woolf in 1921 and published in 1944. The
lexical silence is underpinned in Woolf’s literary works. Woolf, a female writer,
employs her personified punctuation marks or writing devices to reveal characters’
state of mind in “A Haunted House.” For instance, dashes, pauses, repetitions,
voicelessness, and so on. In “A Haunted House,” Woolf utilises the first persona in order
to picture a pair of couples’ conversations and to establish a synthesis of androgynous
self between femininity and masculinity.

This essay would explore that the narrator’s assertion, whose lexical silence from space
to time is truly related to Breuer’s or Freudian hysteric symptoms, multiple self
responds to her perception of androgyny concerning the contrast utterances between
femininity and masculinity, and hysterical syndromes aim to fulfil her triumph to rebel
against/resist to the patriarchies. Secondly, I believe that the ambience of silence could
be situated at the spatialisation of time, mingling past and present at the moment. If the
house, text, or room is symbolised as (disordered) female repressive body and her story,
then I would further propose that the speaker utilises the hysteria of uncompromising
struggles as a self-defence or protestant to the patriarchies.

Keywords: Virginia Woolf, “A Haunted House,” androgyny, hysteria, lexical silence

68
Abstracts: Panel 9

The Power of Her Silence: Fanny Price’s Powerful Aloofness in


Mansfield Park
David Yi-Ting Liu, National Chung Cheng University

In Mansfield Park, Fanny Price’s silence is often interpreted as an indication of her


weakness and oppressed status. Her voice seems to be a powerless one among the
clamoring voices uttered by other characters in the novel. Yet, in contrast to most
critics’ sympathizing interpretations of the heroine’s muted existence, I argue that
Fanny’s silent aloofness is actually the source of her power. While other characters’
superiority to Fanny is discernible throughout Mansfield Park, their unconscious
dependence on her and the consequent power she acquires from their reliance are also
apparent. Thus, Fanny’s strength in this aspect is the focus of my investigation.

In this paper, I attempt to examine the inherent power of Fanny’s silence and prove
that Fanny is actually the most influential character who exerts a firm grasp of her
standing by remaining quiet and unobtrusive most of the time. I will first zero in my
discussions on the episode of the indecorous play (Lover’s Vow) proposed by Tom
Bertram, in which the nature of Fanny’s silence—nonparticipation—is epitomized. Her
sole absence and refusal to participate in the play is a form of silence grounded on her
apartness from everyone else. This isolation not only elevates Fanny above the
disputing voices, but also connects her to the others in a “formally” dialogical relation,
which gives her the power of persuasion. The coexistence of Fanny’s separation from
and connection to the characters in Mansfield Park is hence the root of the power she
holds in her silence. The presentation of a woman’s silence is not necessarily or simply
a denotation of the female character’s frailty and inferiority. Underneath the hushed
appearance of Fanny Price’s silence, much more have been expressed and heard
between the lines.

69
The Sound of Silence—the Answer Is Blowing in the Wind: On the
Function of Silence in Wordsworth’s “The Ruined Cottage”
Liang-yuan Ko, Fortune Institute of Technology

Nature plays a vital role in the works of Wordsworth, and its function, to him, is
versatile. It can be a jubilant reminder reappearing in his “mind’s eye” such as a
recollection of a patch of daffodils, or it can be a stern deity seemingly supervising and
blaming the young Wordsworth when he steals a boat and did something wrong.

This paper tries to pinpoint one other function Wordsworth’s nature plays in many of
his works, especially in his long narrative poems: silence. To be silent is to be mute, a
situation when words are deprived of their usual function of communication. Yet to be
silent is never to put an end to this communication; it can be communicative while
saying nothing at all. I will explicate how Wordsworth endows his nature with the
power of silence--speechless yet communicative--through first analyzing how silence
works as an effective way in nature and how his other “indirect” writing strategies help
co-build the communicative effect of silence; and then analyzing the text of
Wordsworth’s “The Ruined Cottage.”

70
Abstracts: Panel 9

In the Light of Silence: Jan Vermeer’s Woman Reading a Letter in


Solitude
Vinia Ju-ying Huang, National Taipei University of Technology

Since the rediscovery of Jan Vermeer (1632-75) in the early 19th century, this “Sphinx of
Delft” has fascinated the viewers with his subtle rendering of female characters’ facial
expressions and gestures in a secluded interior space enlightened by the flow of
sunlight through the window. Illuminated by the softened light rays, these heroines
were caught in the moment of performing household activities or engaging in deep
contemplation. This dramatic moment is a point of discontinuity in the on-going
continuation of time, and so often this moment of sudden disruption stirs up in the
viewer a strong desire to respond to or to answer its riddle. Among the most prominent
attempters are the American Painter Edward Hopper (1882-1967), who followed
Vermeer’s examples in portraying modern women in contemporary interior settings,
and the surrealist Salvador Dali (1904-1989), who paid homage to the Delft master by
distorting the famous trademark images in jest. Among the literary circle’s efforts to
decipher the mystery of the dramatic moment, no one was so heroic as Tracy Chevalier
(1962-), who spent a decade seeking for an explanation for the drama staged in the
painting Girl with a Pearl Earring (1665), even to the extent of inventing a novel in the
same title (1999), followed by its film adaptation (2003) and a stage play (2008).
However, these endeavors are rhetorical, technical and picturesque and only offer
partial explanations.

Despite these previous efforts, could there be an alternative perspective that offers the
sense of suddenly seeing things in a new light? Could the marked trait, the luminous
stillness of silence, in Vermeer’s room conceal something that has been in the light but
has formerly been overlooked? Could there be an element that has been protected by
this cryptic silence? Based on John Berger’s investigation of Vermeer’s approach to
reality, which hinges on the understanding that “each succeeding moment is
unrepeatable” and that “the light seems like water,” this study has chosen two paintings
by Vermeer to push the examination of light a step further. Both Woman in Blue
Reading a Letter (1663-64) and Girl Reading a Letter at an Open Window (1657) feature a
woman reading a letter in solitude and in contemplation. Each heroine is shrouded by
a security bubble and enveloped by a time capsule, and demanded silence from the
outside viewers as well as the on-lookers inside the painting. Furthermore, the
indexical function of the sun rays through the window has shed light on something that
has not been noticed and has long since kept silent. This discovery helps the viewers
see these two paintings in a new light.

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Keywords: Jan Vermeer, Woman in Blue Reading a Letter (1663-64), Girl Reading a Letter
at an Open Window (1657), light in Vermeer, silence in the visua

72
Panel 10

Herbert Hanreich, “Tristan’s Silence, Philosophically”

Shu-ping Huang, “Write, and Be Silent?—in Search of a Common Ground


in Elizabeth Costello”

Irenna Ya-hui Chang, “Liyun Li’s ‘A Thousand Years of Good Prayers’:


Self-Imposed Silence vs. Habitual Silence”

Maxine Tzu-jung Chen, “Lust in Silence: Suppression and Orientalism of


Hannah in Amos Oz’s My Michael”

Gretchen Busl, “Void the words/Void the silence: The Unspoken in the
Images of Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s Dictee”
Abstracts: Panel 10

Tristan’s Silence, Philosophically


Herbert Hanreich, I-Shou University

Wittgenstein’s famous sentence ending his Tractatus refers not only to the limits of
philosophy but rather to its end. Traditional philosophy, so it is implied, must fail in
principle what had been its essence since Plato: To rationally define (conditions of)
rationality and truth. Instead, a philosophy worth the name is action (‘Taetigkeit’), not a
doctrine laid down in words (T 4.112); it deals with life-problems to be understood only
beyond rational analyses of propositions.

Such a position had been coined ‘anti-philosophy’ (Lacan). Nietzsche and Heidegger are
other grand intellectual thinkers that fall under this category, with Schopenhauer as
their most prominent forerunner. Despite their quite different programs they
commonly proposed the suspension – or superseding - of rational thought as a personal
gate to the ‘real’ world. They propagate a certain, different mode of being and
understanding. Wittgenstein baptized it the ‘mystical’; Nietzsche referred to it as the
“grosse Mittag’ (the grand noon); and Heidegger named it simply the Being (‘Sein’).

For Alain Badiou anti-philosophies have at least three common denominators: They
reject the concept of truth; they discard traditional truth-statements as lies; and they set
up, antithetical to metaphysics, a new sphere or mode of knowledge with fundaments
in arts: Arts expresses what can’t but need to be said. Especially Wittgenstein and
Nietzsche resorted to music as the paradigmatic genre of art that provided the medium
of ‘higher’ knowledge. Both, however, remained philosophers, i.e. thinkers using words
and propositions to state their ‘truths’.

R. Wagner is a different case with a similar problem. His Tristan und Isolde,
Schopenhauer in music according to Nietzsche, is a trial to integrate ‘anti-philosophical’
ideas (in the above sense) into a piece of art through artistic means, thus circumventing
intellectual difficulties and contradictions which plagued his successors, namely to
express in words what can’t be expressed in words. Wagner’s ‘solution’ takes place at
two levels: First, in the dialectical relationship between music and words, with music
as the sphere of action that complements what words can’t express; and, secondly, in
the way how the story of the opera (Wagner calls Tristan ‘eine Handlung’ (action), the
German word for drama) is designed.

There are two decisive scenes when Tristan is urged to defend his actions in words, but
turns silent instead. The first in Act I (sc. 5) when confronted by Isolde regarding their

75
past vows which he so obviously broke, and then, at the end of the second act, after
being caught in flagranti by King Marke, when he did not defend himself in words that
would have exonerated him – which, however, resulted in the wound that eventually
would kill Tristan in Act III. Of course, the whole second act is a sounding silence, with
the stammer rather than a dialogue between Tristan and Isolde that, however, is more
speaking by letting the music ‘speak’ than had there been words packed in logical and
coherent order.

I try to prove that Wagner’s Tristan is what the ‘anti-philosophers’ wished to


demonstrate: that rational philosophy does not touch the problems of life, but that that
is exactly what ‘real’ philosophy has to deal with; Tristan’s silence is philosophical.
However, Wagner’s project failed, due to the reasons why the anti-philosophers’
projects failed: Silence is not an option when we wish to understand what there is.

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Abstracts: Panel 10

Write, and Be Silent?—in Search of a Common Ground in Elizabeth


Costello
Shu-ping Huang, National Sun Yat-sen University

It is usually expected that a writer write with words, but for J. M. Coetzee, the silence in
his novels speaks as much truth as his lines. In his controversial work, Elizabeth
Costello (2003), such silence is, on the one hand, embodied by the voiceless
characters/subjects whose presences of bodies utter no words but testify to the
unspeakable truth of suffering in terms of their individual position. On the other hand,
it is embedded within the “gaps” between narrations and chapters that reveals the
writer’s untold concerns. Although Elizabeth Costello and the leading character who
bears the same name have often been criticized as being the avatar for Coetzee to
advocate his own strong opinions on ethical issues such as animal cruelty, the value of
humanity, vegetarianism, and violence, what are presented on its substantial contents
is in fact counterbalanced by the two kinds of silence abovementioned that
accommodate a third space for the readers to conduct their own journey of reflection
on these issues. Elizabeth Costello has thus become an open-ended text that is more
about arousing the awareness of its readers than a text that presents conclusive
statements. Also, because of this element of silence, this work appeals to responses not
only within the discourse of language but also through the faculty of imagination and
sympathy. Elizabeth Costello, therefore, eventually reflects Coetzee’s insistent emphasis
on the possibility of novel writing for the writer to imagine an unimaginable world of
ethical justice for the readers to share together.

77
Liyun Li’s “A Thousand Years of Good Prayers”: Self-Imposed Silence
vs. Habitual Silence
Irenna Ya-hui Chang, Tunghai University

In the title story of the same name as the short story collection of A Thousand Years of
Good Prayers by Liyun Li, the theme of silence is portrayed through the relationship
between Mr. Shi and his daughter Yilan who works in an American university library.
Using his ex-profession, a rocket scientist, as an excuse, Mr. Shi chooses to be silent at
home to hide from his wife and daughter the fact that he has lost his job as a rocket
scientist because of his chatting regularly with a female puncher at work. Mr. Shi’s
self-imposed silence is a reflection of the lack of freedom of speech in communist China,
his wounded manhood, and his unwillingness and inability to communicate his pain to
his family.

While Mr. Shi’s silence is self-imposed, his daughter’s is habitual, nurtured by his
behavior at home, and if he loses his voice in the communist China, his daughter finds
hers in America. Not knowing the reason of her divorce, Mr. Shi interprets Yilan’s
silence as an expression of her mourning as an abandoned woman. The true nature of
Yilan’s silence is revealed to him when he overhears her vivacious phone conversation
with her Romanian American lover, the cause of her divorce. Mr. Shi is unprepared to
accept a daughter transformed, liberated, and enabled by the English language; this
new Yilan is unashamed to express the side of herself that is unknown to her father. On
the surface, the causes of Mr. Shi’s and Yilan’s silence are different, but a careful
examination of their relationship reveals that their silences spring from the same root:
their homeland and upbringing. This paper aims to explore the coded messages
delivered by the two types of silence from cultural, social, linguistic, and familial
aspects.

78
Abstracts: Panel 10

Lust in Silence: Suppression and Orientalism of Hannah in Amos


Oz's My Michael
Maxine Tzu-Jung Chen, National Chung Cheng University

In Amos Oz’s My Michael, the protagonist Hannah constantly shows signs of losing her
voice, both physically and mentally, in her married life with her husband Michael
Gonen. Starting from the beginning of this novel, Hannah tells the reader the reason
why she wrote her journal-like story and how she uses reminiscence as a ventilator to
save her dying love. During the married life with Michael, she repeatedly senses a
distant, unfamiliar, and awkward feeling for him. In their interaction afterwards, there
are rarely pleasant conversations but quarrels and silent treatments. Most of all, she
frequently indulges herself in her wild fantasies with her Arab twin playmates and
some heroic figure in adventure stories she had read when she was a little girl. In her
dreams, there full of ecstatic, eccentric, and Oriental hues. But even in her dreams and
desires, sometimes she still cries and screams without voice. In my essay, I would first
analyze the connotations of the names of the main characters, then examine these
lustful but voiceless moments, including the interaction between Hannah and Michael,
the nightmares with the Arab twins, the relapse of her childhood disease diphtheria,
and see how they reflect the Orientalism and suppression of Hannah in the
relationship with her family, with her memory, even with the city Jerusalem.

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Void the words/Void the silence: The Unspoken in the Images of
Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s DICTEE
Gretchen Busl, University of Notre Dame

Starting even with the title, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha’s autobiographical, fragmentary
text DICTEE relates oral speech with written speech. For a text to be dictée, or “dictated,”
it must pass through the vocal to the scripted, from the tongue to the pen. Neither form
seems entirely satisfactory to Cha, as the text is filled with frustrations about “broken
tongues” “useless utterances” “dead words” and “mute signs.” Cha’s writing is
persistently conscious of the unspoken represented by silences in speech and voids on
the page.

DICTEE, however, includes not only words, but images. This paper examines how the
interplay of words, images, and voids within the book emphasizes the displacement
and fragmentation of Cha’s multilingual immigrant identity. I will discuss both the
explicit images (photographs, maps, charts, pictograms, film stills, photocopies of notes
and letters, etc.) interspersed within the text and the figurative imagery inscribed
within Cha’s language. These images combine with words and voids to create a
representational system that manifests absence and dislocation.

Cha begins DICTEE with an invocation from Sappho, that reads, “May I write words
more naked than flesh, stronger than bone, more resilient than sinew, sensitive than
nerve.” I demonstrate how Cha’s use of images does indeed allow her to write words
that are more than words, to express more than pure text can - but still the
representation of herself as a subject cannot be more than fragmented.

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Participants
Participants

Keynote Speakers
Gabriele Schwab University of California at Irvine Chancellor’s Professor
Leland de la Durantaye Harvard University Associate Professor

Moderators

Hannes Bergthaller National Chung-hsing University Associate Professor

Guy Beauregard National Taiwan University Associate Professor

National Taipei University of


Kurt Cline Assistant Professor
Technology
National Taipei University of
John Lance Griffith Associate Professor
Technology

Joel J. Janicki Soochow University Associate Professor

J. B. Rollins National Chung Cheng University Professor

Rudolphus Teeuwen National Sun Yat-sen University Associate Professor

National Taipei University of


Thomas Carl Wall Associate Professor
Technology
Sheng-yen Yu National Taipei University of
Associate Professor
余盛延 Technology

Presenters

Gretchen Busl University of Notre Dame Ph.D. candidate

Hannes Bergthaller National Chung-hsing University Associate Professor

Jonathan Butler Kainan University Assistant Professor

Irenna Ya-hui Chang


Tunghai University Assistant Professor
張雅惠
Osmond Chien-ming
National Chung Cheng University Postgraduate
Chang

Yu-wei Chang National Sun Yat-sen University Ph.D. student

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Huang-hua Chen
National Tsing Hua University Assistant Professor
陳皇華
National Taiwan Normal
Li-ping Chen M.A. student
University
Maxine Tzu-Jung Chen
National Chung Cheng University Postgraduate
陳咨蓉

Duncan Chesney National Taiwan University Assistant Professor

National Taipei University of


Kurt Cline Assistant Professor
Technology

Fu-Ju Chiang National Taiwan University M.A. student

Chao-lan Chou
National Taiwan University Ph.D. student
周兆蘭
Po-Hsien Chu National Kaohsiung Normal
M.A. student
朱柏憲 University
Di-feng Chueh
The University of Manchester, UK Ph.D. student
闕帝丰
Yue-Hsin Fan National Taiwan Normal
M.A. student
樊玉心 University

R. Dustin Florence National Cheng Kung University M.A. student

National Taipei University of


John Lance Griffith Associate Professor
Technology

Herbert Hanreich I-Shou University Assistant professor

Shu-ping Huang
National Sun Yat-sen University M.A. student
黃舒屏
Vinia Ju-ying Huang National Taipei University of
Associate Professor
黃如瑩 Technology

Joel J. Janicki Soochow University Associate Professor

Hans-Rudolf Kantor Huafan University Associate Professor

Liang-yuan Ko
Fortune Institute of Technology Associate Professor
柯量元
Jane Weijen Liang Project Assistant
National Cheng Kung University
梁唯真 Professor

84
Participants

Hsin-Ying Lin
National Chung Cheng University Assistant Professor
林欣瑩

David Yi-Ting Liu National Chung Cheng University Postgraduate

Sandie Yi-jou Lo Wenzao Ursuline College of


Assistant Professor
羅宜柔 Languages
The Chinese University of Hong
Michael O'Sullivan Assistant Professor
Kong
Chun-Wei Peng
National Chengchi University M.A. student
彭俊維

J. B. Rollins National Chung Cheng University Professor

Claudia Kuo-Ping Tai


Hsuan Chuang University Assistant Professor
戴國平

Eddie Tay Chinese University of Hong Kong Assistant Professor

Rudolphus Teeuwen National Sun Yat-sen University Associate Professor

Robert Tindol Shantou University Associate Professor

G. Benjamin White TransWorld University Instructor

National Taipei University of


Thomas Carl Wall Associate Professor
Technology
Yu-miao Yang
I-Shou University Assistant Professor
楊玉妙
Yuan-ming Yeh
National Chung Cheng University M.A. student
葉原銘
Ai Chun Yen
National Dong Hwa University Assistant Professor
嚴愛群
Mindy Yuan National Kaohsiung Normal
M.A. student
袁民慧 University
Sheng-yen Yu National Taipei University of
Associate Professor
余盛延 Technology

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The Conference Organizers
The Conference Organizers

The Organizing Committee


Chair & Associate Professor
Yun-hua Yang
Dept. of English, National Taipei University of Technology

Distinguished Research Fellow


Yu-cheng Lee
Institute of European and America Studies, Academia Sinica

Associate Professor
Hannes Bergthaller
Dept. of Foreign Languages and Literatures, National Chung Hsing University

Associate Professor
Su-Feng Chou
Dept. of English, National Taipei University of Technology

Associate Professor
Sheng-Yen Yu
Dept. of English, National Taipei University of Technology

Associate Professor
Thomas Carl Wall
Dept. of English, National Taipei University of Technology

Associate Professor
John Lance Griffith
Dept. of English, National Taipei University of Technology

Assistants
Assistant to the Organizing Committee
Eva Chen
Organizes and executes plans proposed by the Organizing Committee

Assistant to the NTUT Dept. of English


Hui-shan Wei
Logistics & promotion support

Assistant to the NTUT Dept. of English


Hsuihui Hsu
Classroom management

Assistant to the NTUT Dept. of English


Denise Lee
Logistics support

Assistant to the NTUT Dept. of English


John Chen
Design support

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