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DumbstruckA Cultural History of Ventriloquism$
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Steven Connor

Print publication date: 2000

Print ISBN-13: 9780198184331

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198184331.001.0001

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Writing the Voice

Writing the Voice

(p.306) 14 Writing the Voice

Steven Connor

Oxford University Press

Alexandre Vattemare’s corporeal performance escapes all attempts to do justice to it in words, but relies upon the supplement of words for the disclosure of this transcendence of words. The more overblown the poems discussed in this chapter are, the closer they nudge towards parody of their own extravagance. The poems appear to take revenge on Monsieur Alexandre for evoking the desire to take him as seriously as the poems evidence. This slight wavering of tone is the mark of that ambivalence which this chapter suggests would go on to characterize ventriloquism up to this day, in which the very ludicrousness of ventriloquism as a spectacle may be in part what allows us to hope that there might really be such a thing as ventriloquism, as opposed to the pretence of it, that there might be in actuality an art to correspond to our imperious, infantile fantasies of ventriloquial power.

Keywords:   Alexandre Vattemare, transcendence, words, poems, ventriloquism, spectacle

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