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Lucía Martínez Valdivia: Audiation, Listening to Writing

Date and Time: 
Friday, November 5, 2021. 02:00 PM
Meeting Location: 
Stanford Humanities Center Board Room
Workshop: 
The Workshop in Poetics
Meeting Description: 

Professor Lucía Martínez Valdivia (Reed College) and 2021-22 Stanford Humanities Fellow will be workshopping her paper “Audiation: Listening to Writing.” The paper is forthcoming in Modern Philology and the basis for her current book project. The discussant will be Professor Roger Mathew Grant, Dean of Arts and Humanities at Wesleyan University. 

Abstract: This essay introduces audiation, a new concept and keyword for literary criticism and sound studies. I take the term from music education, where it is used to describe the faculty by which we “hear” in the mind, either through recall or in response to the cues provided by written notation. This terminology facilitates a focus on the mental soundscapes text can convey, on the range of non-lexical and non-vocal sounds written language can represent and communicate, and on its capacity to create mental experiences of sound that exceed the possibilities of physical speech and even the acoustic worlds available to our physical senses. Attention to audiation, I argue, enables attention to how we hear texts rather than how we speak them. Or, framed differently, audiation is to hearing as interior voice is to speaking: if the concept of speech centers the reader as an active subject and their production of a voice or voices, then attention to audiation offers instead the potential to center that reader as a listener, an auditor, an object addressed or interpellated by a text. Briefly reviewing and reconsidering the sound-related vocabularies that typically attach to descriptions of reading in general, and of reading lyric in particular, I model possible affordances of audiation for literary criticism as well as for sound studies.

This event will be held in a hybrid format. Register here >>

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