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Talking the Walk & Walking the Talk


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Table of Contents

CHAPTER ONE: STARTING OUT 1. Prologue & Preamble 2. Talking & Walking 3. Rhythm & Meter 4. Scansion & Breathing (Caesura, Beat, Walking Poems) 5. Kinesiology & Prosody (Canine Walkies, Galloping Verse, Lame Metrics) 6. Writing & Dancing 7. Letting the Ducks Out CHAPTER TWO: WALKING VOICES 1. "And God went, 'Where are you'?" in the Bible's In The Beginning 2. The Walking Bass in Monteverdi's My Foot Slips Again [1624] 3. "I can Scarcely Move or Draw my Breath" in Purcell's King Arthur [1691] CHAPTER THREE: TRIPS OF THE TONGUE IN HAMLET [1600] 1. Crawl 2. Pause 3. Mobility 4. Claudication 5. Will he Nill he 6. Triplex CHAPTER FOUR: TALKING CURES 1. "Walking and Talking at the Same Time": Wordsworth's Dilation (Pedestrianism, Bumming, Hopping & Ambling) 2. "Slips of the Tongue": Freud's Hinking (Hysterical Narratives, Limping Iambics) CHAPTER FIVE: WALKIE TALKIES 1. Tin Man's "Can Can Can" in The Wizard of Oz [1939] 2. Foghorn Leghorn's "Walkie Talkie" in Walky Talky Hawky [1946] 3. Lina Lamont's "Pipes and Stems" in Singin' in the Rain [1952] 4. L.B. Jeffries' "Totter" in Rear Window [1954] CHAPTER SIX: MARCHING & HEILING IN THE GREAT DICTATOR [1940] 1. Powerful Crowds 2. Goose Steps 3. Macaronic Speeches 4. Anatine Quacks 5. Mind the Music CHAPTER SEVEN: SIGN LANGUAGES 1. Ma Bell's "Let your Fingers do the Walking" in The Yellow Pages [1962] 2. Dorothy Miles' Body-Sign Language in Gestures [1976] CHAPTER EIGHT: POSTAMBLE & EPILOGUE 1. Reduplication 2. Talking the Walk & Walking the Talk 3. The Finish Line 4. A Walking Solution BACK MATTER 1. Illustrations (List) 2. Abbreviations

Promotional Information

This book argues that we should regard walking and talking in a single rhythmic vision. In doing so, it contributes to the theory of prosody, our understanding of respiration and looking, and, in sum, to the particular links, across the board, between the human characteristics of bipedal walking and meaningful talk.

About the Author

Marc Shell, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow, is Irving Babbitt Professor of Comparative Literature and Professor of English and American Literature and Language at Harvard University. The most recent of his many books are Polio and Its Aftermath: The Paralysis of Culture and Stutter.


"A few paragraphs of Marc Shell, dip in where you will, and you know you're in the presence of one of the profession's small handful of eccentric polymaths and geniuses."-Paul Fry, Yale University

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