Advertisement

“More Reassuring Noise in This Quiet World”: Narrative Intimacy and the Acousmatic Voice of Night Vale

  • Grace Gist
Chapter

Abstract

Being an acousmatic presence—a disembodied voice—Cecil lends himself to an unusual relationship with the listener as often the only voice illustrating the goings-on of the odd desert town of Night Vale. And as this narrator, several things play into his distance from the listener: in-world he is a reporter, but is also an opinionated fallible person; as a narrative device there is audio’s natural and unusual intimacy; and in between those two spheres there is the fact that very little distinction is made between the character Cecil Palmer and his actor Cecil Baldwin. All of these forces shift his narrative distance, and it is through this lens that I illustrate how that distance affects the story and the listener, particularly in the events of Welcome to Night Vale’s second year’s Strex arc.

Keywords

Distance Proximity Sound Voice 

Works Cited

  1. Davis, Eleanor. “Who Needs Friends When You’ve Got Terry Gross?” The New Yorker, 25 March 2014. www.newyorker.com/culture/culture-desk/who-needs-friends-when-youve-got-terry-gross.
  2. Fink, Joseph, and Jeffrey Cranor. The Great Glowing Coils of the Universe: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, Volume 2. Harper Perennial, 2016a.Google Scholar
  3. ———. Mostly Void, Partially Stars: Welcome to Night Vale Episodes, Volume 1. Harper Perennial, 2016b.Google Scholar
  4. Granly, Erik. “Acousmatic Space: Ann Lislegaard’s Sound Projects.” Ann Lislegaard: Science Fiction and Other Worlds. Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, 2007. Accessed February 5, 2018. lislegaard.com/?p=328.
  5. Green, Melanie C., Jeffrey J. Strange, and Timothy C. Brock, eds. Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002.Google Scholar
  6. Nancy, Jean-Luc. Listening. Trans. Charlotte Mandell. Fordham University Press, 2007.Google Scholar
  7. Oatley, Keith. “Emotions and the Story Worlds of Fiction.” In Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations, ed. M.C. Green, J.J. Strange, and T.C. Brock, 39–69. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002.Google Scholar
  8. Peralta, Eyder. “After 5-Decade Career, NPR’s Carl Kasell Will Retire.” NPR. National Public Radio, 4 March 2014. www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2014/03/04/285780588/after-five-decade-career-nprs-carl-kasell-will-retire.
  9. Polichak, James W., and Richard J. Gerrig. “‘Get Up and Win!’: Participatory Responses to Narrative.” In Narrative Impact: Social and Cognitive Foundations, ed. M.C. Green, J.J. Strange, and T.C. Brock, 71–95. Lawrence Erlbaum, 2002.Google Scholar
  10. Verma, Neil. Theater of the Mind: Imagination, Aesthetics, and American Radio Drama. University of Chicago Press, 2012.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Grace Gist
    • 1
  1. 1.Simmons CollegeBostonUSA

Personalised recommendations