The essays in this volume explore the persistent struggle of language to overcome its own limitations. Given their scope--from Dante's confrontation with the divine All to Samuel Beckett's obsessive need to speak in the face of Nothing--they expand our notion of the extent to which all speech is an assault on silence, an attempt to articulate what lies beyond the grasp of words. The collection offers the reader, in roughly chronological order, diverse conceptions of the ineffable as either superfluity or absence of reality. It also exposes language in the act of extending its own boundaries, drawing attention to those literary tactics by which speech attempts to suggest what cannot be said. While largely a study of poetry, from medieval to modern, the volume also touches upon drama and a variety of prose, combining close textual readings with broader thematic discussions.