VOX MEDIA: Sound in Literature
Editors: Osvaldo Manuel Silvestre (University of Coimbra)
Felipe Cussen (University of Santiago de Chile)
Call for Papers
The easiness by which the idea of literature translates into the idea of text and the latter into “letters printed on paper” is probably to blame for the one-sided version both common sense and critical belief constantly show of the relation between readers and books: literature is something that we read in silence. Better still, literature is a text that becomes a book by means of an inscription process that becomes invisible itself, since the materiality of the text is annulled as a result of what is being transmitted by the former: ideas, meaning, in a word, contents.
And yet, there is no literature without a material inscription process which turns each verbal sign into a thing belonging to the phenomenal world, to be seen before being read and to be read in silence – or not. Or else, in order to be spoken (another form of material inscription), preceding and dispensing with the writing or coming immediately after it. There are, it is well known, western and non-western literary narratives in which Voice precedes writing. There are, also, some arguments supporting this claim, although one might suspect a mild revisionist tone to some of them. Nevertheless, this is not about searching for a privilege of the Origin for the study of the sound dimension of literary phenomena, but rather about admitting the relevance of such a field to a larger, simultaneously modern and archaic, version of literature.
In the crossing of historical vanguards and changes in communication technologies, literature has opened itself to the materialities of sound, voice and performance. This process was accelerated and dramatized by both mediation and technical reproduction up until the digital revolution, which eventually led to the historical and technological specificity of the post-digital state of affairs. The process further suffered the overlap of massification, thus operating to a large extent on a scene of “re-oralization”, although by then within the historical setting of a “secondary orality”. From the more avant-garde to the more massified environments, from Sound Poetry to the Spoken Word or Slam Poetry, without overlooking the vast intermediary territory of “readings (or recitations) of poetry”, it is safe to admit that the self-awareness that planet literature has is also to encompass those ever-growing dimensions: phonetic poetry, sound poetry, recordings of literary texts (either by its own authors or other readers), setting of poems into music (especially in the cases in which the voice is not turned into singing, thus sabotaging the form of “song”), poetry and narrative live readings, spoken word, slam poetry, rap.
MATLIT’s volume 5 is thus intent on exploring what we call literature as VOX MEDIA: voice as a means for literature and the disturbances suffered by the medium from the combined effect of performance and the technologies for mediation, representation and reproduction. And also other instances, like the tensions between the body and technology, audibility v. inaudibility of text, sound and meaning, physical presence and/or absence of the authors, and so forth. The goal is not only that of generating a catalogue or a compendium of the contemporary effects of VOX MEDIA on the notion of literature, but that of generating an archaeology for VOX MEDIA and for all related phenomena repressed by their historical invisibility.
Submissions must be uploaded before October 31, 2016.
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