Medieval literary voices

Embodiment, materiality and performance

Louise D’Arcens
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Sif Ríkharðsdóttir
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Medieval literary voices explores voice as both a textual remnant and an enlivening communicative presence within medieval texts. Its impressive line-up of essays deepens our understanding of medieval literature by revealing the many ways in which textual voices, far from simply being effects of literariness, are forceful presences that evoke the elusive voices lurking behind and beyond the literary text; they capture the absent authorial voice, the traces of scribal voices and the aural soundscape of the uttered text. The volume considers medieval literary voices across a broad range of texts, from the classical and biblical heritage to post-medieval literary representations. It explores multiple dimensions of medieval voice and vocalisations, also paying attention to the interactions between literary voices and their authorial, scribal and socio-political settings, particularly late medieval English literary production. It contends that, through seeking the voice of the absent or long-gone author, the literary voices contained within the text, and the imaginary and actual voices that shape medieval texts’ receptions, we can begin to understand the ways that medieval voices mediate or proclaim an embodied selfhood or material presence, how they dictate or contest moral conventions and how they create and sustain narrative soundscapes.

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