<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >


who were your lovers? who were they who wrestled foryou in the dust?

which was the vessel of your lust? what leman hadyou, every day?


did giant lizards come and crouch before you on thereedy banks?

did gryphons with great metal flanks leap on you inyour trampled couch?


did monstrous hippopotami come sidling toward you inthe mist?

did gilt-scaled dragons writhe and twist withpassion as you passed them by ?


.... or did you love the god of flies who plagued thehebrew and was splashed

with wine unto the waist ? or pasht, who had greenberyls for her eyes?


or that young god, the tyrian, who was more amorousthan the dove

of ashtaroth? or did you love the god of theassyrian...


These questions are a virtual index of nineteenth- century Orientalist mythology. Yet here they only point up the " songless tongueless " condition of the sphinx and draw our attention to the massive ironythat, for all the breadth of the Orientalist pseudo-knowledge employed by the speaker, the sphinx finally remains as silent and unknown as at the beginning.The monologue’s speaker proceeds on the assumption that if he employs the right hermeneutic, the sphinx will finally yield its truth. Like the practical critiche is, he assumes that the sphinx contains its own meanings and can be glossed (both in the sense of having its truth revealed by way of attached commentary, and in the more medieval sense of glozed or "peered into"). But these assumptions only lead to his intellectual and psychological breakdown(" get hence, you loathsome mystery!.../ you make my creed a barren sham, you wake fouldreams of sensual life "); the excesses of Orientalist myth, projected onto thesphinx as " poisonous melodies, " are finally no match for the " steadfast gaze " and " sullen ways " of the object he faces. So the sphinx remains as much a" loathsome mystery " at the poem's end, at which point superstition has usurpedthe speaker’s will to knowledge, as it was at the beginning.

At this level, the poem can be read as about archaeological knowledge itself, at least as put to use within a late-VictorianOrientalist context. The sphinx then represents the absolute object faced by the archaeologist (the "relic"), ultimately indifferent to the scholar’s naiveattempts to appropriate it to a mythologically inflected historicism. The breakdown faced by the poem's speaker, according to this account, represents thecollapse faced by Orientalist knowledge itself, and it must have been one with which many nineteenth-century Egyptologists and Orientalists werefamiliar.

But as Henley’s review of the poem demonstrates, the processes of reading also frequently break down when readers of The Sphinx misconstrue the striking format of the 1894 book. And just as the speaker’s imagined resuscitation of the sphinxinvolves a willful blindness to its somnolence or “ statuesque ” objectivity, a certain deafness to its unyielding silence, so reading the poem involves acertain blindness to the material and visual “distractions” offered by the book’s illustrations, decorations, type-design and paper. For these featuresdeclare their parity or integrity with the poem itself, at every turn of the page, without ever threatening to overwhelm it. They embody what Jerome McGannwould call the poem’s “textual condition.” When we take these features into account, the book enacts an archaeological problematic very similar to the one played out at the poem’s semantic level. Just as the silent curio in the dimcorner of the speaker’s room points up all the more sharply the “excess” implicit in his mythic constructions of it, so the book’s decorations short-circuit the customary processes of reading, making self-conscious our desire to consume or to interpret the poem, as if the poem were somehow conscious of thehistorical problem posed by the event of its own reading. In this sense, The Sphinx constructs itself as a relic even as its archaeological “referent” recedes from view.

Questions & Answers

are nano particles real
Missy Reply
yeah
Joseph
Hello, if I study Physics teacher in bachelor, can I study Nanotechnology in master?
Lale Reply
no can't
Lohitha
where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
nanopartical of organic/inorganic / physical chemistry , pdf / thesis / review
Ali
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
learn
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
learn
Google
da
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Bhagvanji
hey
Giriraj
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
revolt
da
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
has a lot of application modern world
Kamaluddeen
yes
narayan
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
ya I also want to know the raman spectra
Bhagvanji
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
Alexandre
nanocopper obvius
Alexandre
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
if virus is killing to make ARTIFICIAL DNA OF GRAPHENE FOR KILLED THE VIRUS .THIS IS OUR ASSUMPTION
Anam
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Anam
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
Hafiz
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
Got questions? Join the online conversation and get instant answers!
Jobilize.com Reply

Get Jobilize Job Search Mobile App in your pocket Now!

Get it on Google Play Download on the App Store Now




Source:  OpenStax, The sphinx. OpenStax CNX. Apr 11, 2010 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11196/1.2
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'The sphinx' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask