ABSTRACT Beginning with negative formulations found in many lyric poems, this essay argues that poetry in general skeptically distances the speaking voice from the authorial perspective, even in poems that have been taken to express direct personal feeling. German Romantic examples (Wilhelm Müller's “Der Neugierige” as set by Franz Schubert, Goethe's “Meeresstille,” and Joseph von Eichendorff's “Mittagsruh”) are featured, with the intent of suggesting a general account of the lyric voice.

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