in Medieval literary voices
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The introduction stages the concept of ‘voice’ as a narrative, literary and conceptual topos that is then elaborated across the volume. It considers the fraught nature of voice as an embodied yet fleeting phenomenon that leaves only traces of its existence as a memory, a textual remnant or as a transient sensation of aerial vibrations. Tracing the development of the theoretical debate of voice and what it might constitute from antiquity to modern critical theories, it seeks to showcase its multiplicity, its evasiveness and its potentiality, both as a narrative tool and as a mode of understanding medieval approaches to and perceptions of literature, vocality and aurality. It expands across classical theories on voice, narratology, feminist criticism and interdisciplinary studies on auditory perceptions. Ultimately, it presents the multiple meanings of voice – i.e. the notion of the authorial voice, the implicit or intended aurality of the text and vox as authority or moral imperative, but also, in a Bakhtinian sense, the multiplicity of narrative voices within a text and the aural soundscapes provided by absent, imaginary and actual voices.

Medieval literary voices

Embodiment, materiality and performance


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