Sound-Image Relationships in Literature

In contrast to music and the visual arts, literature always has to struggle with the disadvantage that it is tied to meanings. A relationship of text, sound, and image can therefore only be established on the boundaries of the linguistic: either the structure of the text seeks to break the boundaries of the discursive with imitations of polyphony or with lyrical interludes, or it attempts to sublate but at the same time accentuate the difference between the linguistic medium and the visual or acoustic medium by quoting musical notation or including visual representations. The price is an esthetic loss that can only be recovered in endlessly repeated topoi of the inexpressible. An equality of all these levels can only result when the semantic dimension is just one dimension among others—in concrete poetry or graphic notation, for example.