This is a book of essays about the values, functions, and paradoxes medieval thinkers attached to the sonorous, human voice, in theory and in practice. The categories of voice and voicelessness were deeply embedded in medieval definitions of the human, as they remain for contemporary thinkers such as Jacques Lacan or Stanley Cavell. For medieval thinkers, as for these and other recent authors, the compelling omnipresence of Voice as a topos in Western traditions frequently rendered elusive the quest to define its precise boundaries and functions. The chapters in this volume confront a series of interlocking questions about how the philosophy, theology, and aesthetics of the voice inhabit and animate the Middle Ages. They ask what it means to “possess a voice”—or be without one—and seek to articulate how the concepts of voice and voicelessness operate within distinct domains of medieval Christian culture as social and legal categories, as aesthetic terms, within theological and political doctrines, or as a site of tension in the negotiation between subjectivity and authority. Together, they demonstrate how our understanding of the Middle Ages can be deepened and enriched through engagement with theological and philosophical debates over voice and voicelessness, whether ancient, medieval, or contemporary.
KeywordsWestern Tradition Human Voice Vocal Sound Book VIII Political Doctrine
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- 4.Aristotle, The History of Animals, Book IV, Part 9; cited from The Complete Works of Aristotle: The Revised Oxford Translation, ed. Jonathan Barnes, vol. 1 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984).Google Scholar
- One pertinent study that unites these strands is J.-L. Labarrière, Langage, vie politique et mouvement des animaux: Etudes aristotéliciennes (Paris: Vrin, 2004).Google Scholar
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- Pierre Courcelle, Recherches sur les Confessions de Saint Augustin (Paris: E. de Boccard, 1950, 2nd. expanded ed. 1968);Google Scholar
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