References to Voice that I’ve Found over the Years: Peter Elbow 12/15
2/20/84 – Revision loses ‘juice’ of freewriting
Natural syntax. Here’s an example of a piece of writing I did the other night about voice when I got myself steaming along. I think it has more than usual clarity and voice. Or at least I find something characteristic when I try to use it in my real draft. All my efforts to get it clear result in language that is more cramped and unclear and without voice. I noticed it when I was trying to follow it and borrow it and use it my real draft. Suddenly I had a sense that I was losing the juice in it. I even abandoned some of what I’d been writing on WordStar and went to the “.bak” file to retrieve what I’d erased in trying to adapt it.
It sounds like an odd way to talk but really we do it all the time in face-to-face interactions. We listen to someone talk and make judgements about whether they really sound sincere; even people we don’t know –even people on television: It is a common human perception to say: “I think that person is being sincere; or that person sounds genuine/fake.” We know we are liable to be wrong about it–that it’s an inference, but humans seem unwilling to refrain from making the judgement. This shows in cases where someone says, “She’s trying to sound sincere but really she sounds fake.” That is, it seems to be a human quality to listen to discourse and make judgements not only about the meaning of the words but about the relationship between the words and the person uttering them–even though, paradoxically, we are making judgements about the relationship between a and b when we have only a to go on.
You might say that we go on extra-discourse cues. But I doubt it. We can strip away those cues. That is, if we know the person well, we judge on the basis of knowing him in the past. But we do it with people we don’t know (as with strangers, salesmen, future, new spouses of friends &etc. You could say we do it on visual cues, but in fact we do it over the phone and the radio. No visuals. We have tone of voice to judge from, it is true; but tone of voice is nothing but the person’s “way of talking.” When we see nothing but a text we don’t have literal spoken tone of voice, so it is harder, but people still can’t seem to resist doing it.
For even in writing we still make these judgements based on “Way of writing.” Here is the place to talk about increased emphasis on relation of words to writer with interest in voice. This is difference between speaking and writing. In speaking there is a tendency to pay a bit more attention to relation between words/speaker; In writing (since it gets along without a speaker–only the text is present–we may not even know who wrote it) there is a temptation to pay more attention to the words/meaning.
Central question/battle on Authentic Voice
I defend by saying that a sincere voice just fits the conscious mind while authentic voice fits the whole self. Sincerity is tinny because it leaves out parts of the self. But I hear others objecting that some tinny sincerity, especially among the naive or adolescent, may not leave anything out at all. The whole person is thin and clichéd. The only feelings he has are the common, clichéd, public, tinny ones. People are mere puppets; shallow. Is that true? Tempting.
But perhaps it’s a perfect place to join this battle in the most central and radical way. We must decide whether we think that the kids in our classes really are shallow and thin and cannot/do not have complex feelings or perceptions. They certainly look that way sometimes. Only talk in clichés, & etc. But if we look closely at them and much of their lives, we must see that they are complex and rich and subtle. They do not have language yet or means of saying it. Or, they fall into common ruts of language. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t much there — or much complexity.
Marcel Proust, in Contre Sainte Beuve
As soon as I read an author, I quickly make out beneath the words a tune that in each author is different from that of others, and without realizing it I begin to “sing along,” speeding or slowing or interrupting the notes as I read, marking their measures and returns as one does when singing and waiting a certain time, depending on the song’s pace, before finally uttering the end of a word…. And I think that the boy in me who amused himself this way must be the same one who has a sensitive and accurate ear for hearing the subtle harmony that others don’t hear between two impressions or ideas.
Konstantin Fedin’s “Notebook 1”
Style has many components. The difficulty of mastering them is that they are devoid of absolute existence. Rhythm, melody, vocabulary, and composition do not live independent lives of their own; they are interconnected like chess pieces. Just as it is impossible to move a pawn without changing the position of all the other pieces on the board, so it is impossible to “correct” in a literary work the rhythm alone or the vocabulary alone without affecting the other components of style. When I cross out a word, I change the structure of the sentence, its music, its rhythm, its relationship with its environment.
But the basis and the soul of style is language. Language is the King on the chessboard of style. No language — no writer. “If an author has no style, he will never be a writer. But if he has a style, a language of his own, then there’s hope for him as a writer. Then one can discuss the other aspects of his work.” So said Chekhov.
I too would like to write of the joys and despairs of eternal labour on words, on style — the labour of the writer for whom literature is the business of life, an all-demanding and exacting calling. The writer’s obsessive love of words is a source of suffering, but of suffering that he will never regret. (in Maxim Gorky, Vladimir Mayakovski, Alexei Tolstoy, and Konstantin Fedin on the Art and Craft of Writing 256, 257, Alex Miller trans., 1972).
Ethos has seemed to be in general an elusive device. Aristotle thought ethos the most influential of rhetorical appeals, although in Rhetoric he provided only cursory explanation of ethos, unlike logos, pathos, and style (Kinneavy and Warshauer 172). Of this paucity of coverage, S. Michael Halloran ribbed: “Of the three modes of appeal, Aristotle acknowledges ethos to be probably the most important, though he seems to wish that logos were.” (60) Recent discussions of ethos offer a more psychological angle, including the idea that “character, in many instances, is the force of an argument” (Alcorn 4).
Splitting of self is described as central to the experience of black men (DuBois, Johnson), but Johnson relates it even more closely to women. “Janie’s increasing ability to speak grows out of her ability… to assume and articulate the incompatible forces involved in her own division. The sign of an authentic voice is thus not self-identity but self-difference. ” The experience of finding two parts to the self is what’s necessary for voice, not being unified. This seems to me an important essay from a prominent Derridean and poststructuralist. (“Metaphor, Metonymy, and Voice in Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God.” Ed. Mary Ann Caws. Textual Analysis: Some Readers Reading. NY: MLA, 1986: 232-44.)
“[W]e have only the work as evidence for the only kind of sincerity that concerns us: Is the implied author in harmony with himself–that is, are his other choices in harmony with his explicit narrative character?… A great work establishes the “sincerity” of its implied author, regardless of how grossly the man who created that author may belie in his other forms of conduct the values embodied in his work. For all we know, the only sincere moments of his life may have been lived as he wrote his novel.” (75)
Booth brings in the implied reader too. I.e., the critical conversation is getting crowded. Real author, implied author, narrator/persona, characters, implied reader, real reader. But he shows that there are real links between the implied reader and real reader–talking about how because of who he is, he is not able to become the implied reader that Lawrence’s implied author asks for. (Cites Gibson’s “mock reader” as another term.) I.e., the implied reader I become is not me, yet there are limits to the implied readers I can become. (137-39)
“I now see that for some purpose I must make problematic the sharp distinctions I once made between flesh-and-blood authors and implied authors and between the various readers we become as we read and the actual breathing selves we are within our shifting cultures.” (415). And goes on to cite pages in Critical Understanding where he takes that up (esp. 272-318) — see these. (Booth, Wayne. The Rhetoric of Fiction. Chicago UP, 2nd ed. 1983).
Language is always about the situation and about people involved. Regarding pragmatics, “…the utterance does not suffice to itself.” All language is dialogue; all language has a “pragmatic” purpose. (7-8). In language, there are “four cooperative principles: quantity, quality, relation, and manner.” In action, all statements are performatives.
Strictly speaking, the book doesn’t seem about voice at all, but about poems as speech acts. But sentences seem to have more voice to the degree that we think of them as speech acts, as sentences said by one person to another in a context to make something happen.
By violating the rules of speech acts (e.g., exhorting readers to do something they acknowledge as distasteful), “Poetry… often seems to represent a sort of conspicuous futility in language.” 22. Analysis in terms of pragmatics is one of the strongest ways of showing that literary language is often crucially different from “normal language” (which obeys these laws). (R. A. York, The Poem as Utterance, London and NY, Methuen, 1986)
“The ‘clumsiness’ of primitive art is the precondition of its eloquence. What it is saying could never be said with any ready-made skills. For what it is saying was never meant, according to the cultural class system, to be said.”
“The primitive begins alone; he inherits no practice… He does not use the pictorial grammar of the tradition–hence he is ungrammatical. He has not learnt the technical skills which have evolved with the conventions–hence he is clumsy… He knows already that his own lived experience which is forcing him to make art has no place in that tradition.”
“The will of primitives derives from the faith in their own experience and a profound skepticism about society as they have found it. This is true even of such an amiable artist as Grandma Moses.”
The ‘faith’ part applies to children; the skepticism perhaps not–but it applies to adults who like children’s art–liking it for the negative light it casts on the grammar and conventions of culture or professional society. And Berger associates those with class and power. (Berger, John. About Looking. New York: Pantheon, 1980, p. 68)
There is this central experience that Husserl seems to have talked of–and that Derrida objects to: the “experience of hearing oneself speak at the point of utterance creates the impression of absolute self-presence. . . a moment of consciousness in which utterance and thought seem one.” (8-9) Derrida seems to see this as the ur-culprit–the source of our longing for presence. This seems odd to me.
I admit that I have a longing for presence, it is a good for me in writing. But I often don’t have that sense in my speaking. I often feel very much a Derridean gap between my words and my meaning or intention. My longing for presence (however sinful it is) comes from a sense that in some texts and some speaking there is a lot of it–and in some not–by me and by others. In some language we get a sense of the person being in it, behind it; and in some not.
NORRIS/DERRIDA (in course readings book)-29. D. questions Saussure’s “natural bond” between sound and sense. This natural bond is what magic produces–magical bond. Song, lyric, poetry, spell.-Could it be that everything in D. is against the BODY? If so, it must be that it’s against Merleau-Ponty.-D. and I are both cheerleaders for writing. (“Give me a ‘W’!”)-If he did a deconstruction of my interest in voice, he might show that I’m really more interested in writing. Which is true. He thinks the enemy is the feeling or experience of speaking being perfect and natural and carrier of “full meaning”. But that’s not true for me. Speaking characteristically misfires for me and seems less natural–always a gap and a sliding and a deferral–all those things he associates with ‘writing’. When I speak the meaning is always not quite there in the words (except on certain rare occasions).
What I like about writing is that it can often get more presence than speech–get closer to that alleged ideal condition of ‘full speech’.-32-3. Central D quote: “. . . a feared writing must be cancelled because it erases the presence of the self-same (proper) within speech.” (1977a [about Rousseau], p 139.) Yes, writing lacks presence. But it often has the ILLUSION of presence. How does that happen? That’s my project. I.e., so far from taking a mystical, metaphysical, religious slant, I’m trying to be a con-man or sophist. How to trick readers; produce illusions. -Sophist figures out how to make the worst argument appear the better. I’m working at figuring out how to make the absent or fictitious into presence.
-However I do have a non-sophist, Platonic wrinkle to me. My answer to the sophist project is to find the better argument or side; and my voice answer is actually to try to get presence into the words. I have a hunch that it can be done–if you go about putting yourself into the right situation as you write. -33. “Submit to reversal.” Derrida’s project is to make everything submit to reversal. That’s what makes him feel good. (Sexual connotations.)-You can’t mean what you say: a central principle. I guess my premise is that you can mean what you say–but that it’s very hard. It’s not natural. But I guess I do believe that children do it more. (I don’t know about “primitives or natives”.) Connected for me with the unconscious. That if you can hook up with the unconscious, you can INTEND what you say. -I’m curious whether I’m just taking on exactly the Rousseau project–over again?
Or something different. I must read Rousseau on the origins of language–and Derrida’s 1977a on it (where he also talks about Levi-Strauss)-D scorns Rousseau’s interest in accent, melody &c–but as Bollinger shows, those things are literally present in writing to permit it to carry more: writing simply carries more “channels of signification”. And presence, literally conceived, carries still more–that is, actually being there. See Bakhtin on being in room and hearing someone say “well.”-D associates (with Levi-Strauss) writing with violence. Ong, interestingly enough associates it with the irenic. Orality is more adversarial and agonistic.-”Proper name”–propre–belongs to the thing/person. Apply this to my thinking on magic: how names have special ability to carry magic. See this in D on Levi-Strauss. (my magic chapter).
DERRIDA HATES OR DISAPPROVES OF OR DOESN’T BELIEVE IN–BAD WORDS: natural, nostalgia, longing for origins, myth of origins, presence, self-presence, meaning what you say, romantic illusion, authenticity, voice, full speech, phonocentrism,DERRIDA LOVES: deferral, absence, lack, violence, rending the veil, wildness, writing, arche-writing, grammatology (a linguistics based on writing), sliding (meaning always sliding)
Erika 10/18 has good metaphor naked/clothes. “. . . voice as you present it concentrates and values nakedness (which is why you like “I am prejudice towards men” so much). In effect you say, “If only you can get down to the naked self, that bare voice, then you’ll have power.” The social constructivist, on the other hand, concentrates on and values clothing: “Let’s look at what you’re wearing–where did you get these clothes?–let’s see which are of use to you and which are hindering you, then you’ll have power.” Both approaches want to empower but… individual alone … individual in context.”
I WRITE IN RESPONSE: But you know, I’m not trying to deny the social constructivist or Bakhtinian point: I’m prepared to say that we only get voices from the outside–we never make up words. But he talks about “making them one’s own” (Discourse in the Novel). Also–(and perhaps here I do want to take issue)–there is the question of which voices we make most ourselves; or, put differently, there is the matter of even small infants having strong character–such that you can talk about the difference between behavior (or proto-speech) that is whole heartedly meant–and that which is ambivalent or half-hearted.
me 10/24 Possible model for resonance–authentic voice. Intention and meaning: (a) when the words are 100% meaning, all meaning and no static–all the meanings cohere and work together; (b) when the words are 100% intended; not “sincere” except in the larger sense of calling on the whole self, whole organism. No meanings spilling off to the side. (This doesn’t cut out ambivalence or irony–but it must be ambivalence and irony that are fully “realized”–that all work and don’t undermine.)
Main Dilemma: is it just that the words fit me? Yes, that would be a condition for our perception of resonance (most often). And so unless we are good readers we might miss certain special or odd kinds of resonance; and we might think resonance is there when it’s not there if the not-so-resonant words touch off strong vibrations in us. But that complication and difficulty doesn’t mean that we have to rule out the possibility of resonance actually inhering more in some texts than others.
Polanyi (January 3, 1989)-”the tacit act by which we invest words with meaning” (Polanyi) is a mystery. Perhaps voice is the way we do it. Voice is a measure of to what degree words “have” meaning. Bodily roots of knowing: 147-8; 183-5.
proliferate levels of voice–instead of just 3: audible, intonation, dramatic, distinctive, sounding like person, having authority–and then “je ne sais quoi.” All are real. But don’t deny 3rd just cause first two are real.
three sources of MAGIC–je ne sais quoi–resonance–: words’ fit with writer, reader, subject.~ Words “sounding like their meaning.” That is essence of magic: ‘cat’ has catness in it. (What about historical dimension of voice–and barfield: words used to function that way. Magic was felt more.) Words sounding like meaning could come from match with subject, writer, or reader. Linklater talks about that as her goal: to say them in such a way that they sound like what they mean. Obvious example is “angry speech”–but it also happens with more impersonal language.
Betsy and I–could be central core for MLA essay. Being reader/being writer–her distinction: contrast between coming at things as READER and as WRITER: –privileging readers stance in literary critical theory–indeed in the profession. (Deconstruction on voice). What would happen if people saw selves as writers. Notice the difference tween MFAs and PhDs)–interests of reader: challenge ownership of author; take charge of text; kill off author; meaning is fluid; no presence; absence; no voice–interest of writer; right of ownership; presence; voice is how we create meaning; and reach readers
me–main thing about use of voice in teaching (what I forgot to stress at Bard): the quickest way to the source of good writing: getting the self behind words, not holding back, bringing whole heft to bear. This finesses the theoretical, literary questions: is there a self and how many do we have? and how can readers judge whether resonance comes from a good fit with writer or just a good fit with himself as reader. It’s a practical question from the writer’s point of view (and good readers can see it): sometimes the writer holds back and is in a somewhat fishy or sour-sounding relation to the words.
BUTBUTBUT. This leads to dangers. Feedback that is intrusive and inappropriate and condescending or pretentious. “That’s not the real you; you sound fake here; you haven’t suffered enough” (what did the workshop say to Dori Ostermiller?).
me–SAFETY / COURAGE. Crucial dialectic. Kristin and Carol (Gillig) felt there was too much emphasis on safety, not enough on courage. How to work on courage? (Make more readings, more public, push people.) Also, see Ed Federenko’s terrific little 1-page essay of 10/31/90.
me–BREATHE LIFE INTO WORDS train of thought. Read something aloud. Speak so there is meaning/intention in it. Write it so that it has “meaning” in it. See my notes for that train of thought. Explore opposites: reading/speaking/writing so that your intention is not there. One model of “presence” or “life”.
Bard voice conference, 11/90–What did I learn, think? -voice is link tween mind and body: two pieces of flesh rubbing together with air passing between them–and shaped by the nature of the hollow it goes through–and the medium that it causes to vibrate.-safety/courage. Safety isn’t the only source of voice breaking out; also courage. What are ways to promote it. (Problem of “too much safety.” It’s not really too much safety, but too much fear, too much feeling of “oh dear, I would die if I ever read this out loud.” In a way that’s a problem of not enough safety. But still Kristin and Carol are right about the need for more courage. Read-arounds are examples of pushing courage.)-Kristin on the dominance of writing/silence. (Also earnest sincerity.) She embodies the opposite:-lots of talk that I don’t pay enough attention to audience: voice is partly in relation. But what about when you write in despite of the audience–write words that they won’t like or even that they won’t get?-breathe life into words. We do it when we hear; read; speak; write
Hoffman, Eva. Lost in Translation: A Life in a New Language. Penguin, 1989.Marguerite Lentz reports on it. Has the best extended (275-6) personal description I’ve seen of the idea that we have some kind of primal or individual voice down underneath everything. But she identifies it with silence! And yet even in saying this, she also does justice to the other idea of multiple voices–and the need and reality of them. Be sure to use it as paradigm description of person having “own voice.” “I am writing a story in my journal . . . . I make my way through layers of acquired voices, silly voices, sententious voices, voices that are too cool and too overheated. Then they all quiet down, and I reach what I’m searching for: silence. I hold still to steady myself in it. This is the white bland center, the level ground that was there before Babel was built, that is always there before the Babel of our multiple selves is constructed. From this white plenitude, a voice begins to emerge: it’s an even voice, and it’s capable of saying things straight, without exaggeration or triviality. As the story progresses, the voice grows and diverges into different tonalities and timbres; sometimes, spontaneously, the force of feeling or of thought compresses language into metaphor, or an image, in which words and consciousness are magically fused. But the voice always returns to its point of departure, to ground zero.” (275-6 I think). Lentz goes on to talk about this voice as “the only voice that can control all the others,” the “voice of my self connected”–and also “my voice when I am fully engaged with whatever activity I am doing” (p 7, final paper).
Woolf Good functional definition of voice. “Directly, that is to say, I took my pen in my hand to review that novel by a famous young man, she slipped behind me and whispered, ‘My dear, you are a young woman. You are writing about a book that has been written by a man. Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the arts and wiles of our sex. Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own . . . ‘ And she made as if to guide my pen. . . . she would have plucked the heart out of my writing.” what lecture from? (it’s in Between ourselves: Letters, mothers, daughters, ed Karen Payne, Houghton, 83) Voice is what you lose if you pretend you don’t have a mind of your own–or try to fit the words to the needs of the audience–if the audience is not one that respects you.
Brande, Dorothea. Becoming a Writer (John Gardner intro–new edition).“born writer” “can put his unconscious completely at the service of his reasonable intention” (48). Wholly intended; heft of life; resonance. She relates that to “duplicity of writers”–i.e., the unconscious.
Children and voice Children have a special connection to natural/resonant voice–voice with heft. Or that voice is a good word for the quality of power that children have. See TIMES handout with bits of children’s letters. My piece of Benjy in first voice handout.
Alter-ego. Voice through role-playing–taking on “other” voice See how Carolyn Heilbrun talks about her biggest space-making process was not through taking on different writing identity (Amanda cross) but through the character Kate that she invented. Alter ego?–literally?
Bakhtin (noted from Federenko’s review–”Discourse and the Novel.” Which is in Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Michael Holquist, ed. Caryl Emerson trans. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981. see pp 324-55. 348: “The importance of struggling with another’s discourse, its influence in the history of an individual’s coming to ideological consciousness, is enormous. One’s own discourse and one’s own voice, although born of another or dynamically stimulated by another, will sooner or later begin to liberate themselves from the authority of the other’s discourse.” He has a model of how human beings come to be–are shaped: assimilation of voices outside ourselves. (Like Meade.) “The ideological becoming of a human being, in this view, is the process of selectively assimilating the word of others.” (p?) A person becomes a person by assimilating voices–making them one’s own.
Fold in here his quotations about the externally authoritative word and internally persuasive word–making the voices of others into one’s own voice. “The fundamental condition, that which makes a novel a novel, that which is responsible for its stylistic uniqueness, is the speaking person and his discourse” (332). “externally authoritative” and “internally persuasive” i.e. “retelling a text in one’s own words, with one’s own accents, gestures, and modifications” (424) Remarkably concrete gloss of this process with MIKE NICHOLS & METHOD ACTING: Actor is saying Kerouac lines and not making them work. He asks the actor to tell about a time when HE was betrayed. “’Now’, Mr. Nichols says, ‘tell us the story you’ve just told us, but use the words of Kerouac.’” He’s making the Kerouac words more into literally his own intonations and voice. (Mervyn Rothstein. NY Times 5/14/91 C1–to C20)
more Bakhtin: INTONATION “Discourse in Life and in Art.” It’s all about intonation. Get quotes from Peggy Wolper’s paper. Good ones. (p 114). Also, “In intonation, discourse comes directly into contact with life . . . It is especially sensitive to all the vibrations in the social atmosphere surrounding the speaker” (102). Two dimensions, then: the aural literal intonation in speech that writing cannot capture; and the bits of intonation that writing CAN capture. (Is Bakhtin talking about writing or both speaking and writing?) Intonation depends on support–indeed “choral support.” Also “A creatively productive, assured and rich intonation is possible only on the basis of presupposed ‘choral support.’ Where such support is lacking, the voice falters and its intonational richness is reduced . . . The commonness of assumed basic value judgments constitutes the canvas upon which living human speech embroiders the designs of intonation” (103). But still, I want to say that we sometimes get intonation into our speech even we don’t have support.
YES: USE INTONATION RATHER THAN AUDIBILITY AS CRITICAL TERM. SOME SPEECH DOESN’T HAVE MUCH INTONATION–WHEREAS ALL SPEECH IS AUDIBLE. INTONATION IS LIFE AND JUICE AND ENERGY–NOT JUST SOUND. USE BAKHTIN. WOULD GIVE CLOUT. AND EVERYTHING I WANT TO SAY IS THERE. Intonation of voice reflects who one’s “own group” is–internalized in one’s voice. In absence of that, more effect of external reader. (I.e., academic discourse: if you are alienated, you mimic more the voice of authoritative reader.) Also, “The more a poet is cut off from the social unity of her group, the more likely she is to take into account the external demands of a particular reading public. Only a social group alien to the poet can determine her creative work from the outside. One’s own group needs no such external definition: It exists in the poet’s voice, in the basic tone and intonation of that voice–whether the poet her? Himself intends this or not” (114) [check out emphases and genders].
my point about speech having more channels of communicationexample:I started to write “Your connection between academic work and “accumulation” and how much we should read and write is particularly interesting.” Reading over I could feel how “unsayable” it is and made a simple change: “I am particularly interested in your connection between academic work and “accumulation” and how much we should read and write.” There are various ways to explain the improvement–in terms of grammar and distance tween subject and verb and nominalization. But what I’d say is simply that the revision is more like what we would say. Starting with “I” rather than an abstraction or idea adds to that effect. And to the extent that it tricks the ear into hearing the words–with a rhythm, intonation, melody, emphasis, &c–the mind will have the sense of getting a richer input of meanings. Like having more speakers on the floor coming to the ear. Bakhtin on intonation (Discourse in Life) fits here: he shows how much meaning is conveyed in intonation.
Metaphor for Bakhtin’s point: The actor is reciting someone else’s words. The actor’s job is to make them her own. This is also metaphor for writing. Breathing life into words
deafness. Oliver Sacks. Seeing Voices: A Journey into the World of the Deaf. New York: Harper, 1990. ?more voice in sign? [parag] “One has only to watch two people signing to see that signing has a playful quality, a style quite different from that of speech. Signers tend to improvise, to play with signs, to bring all their humor, their imaginativeness, their personality, into their signing, so that signing is not just the manipulation of symbols according to grammatical rules, [though Sacks spends most of his time demonstrating that sign is that–is not at all a pantomime language, but a “fully formalized and grammaticized” (122), left-hemisphere language] but, irreducibly, the voice of the signer–a voice given a special force, because it utters itself, so immediately, with the body. One can have or imagine disembodied speech, but one cannot have disembodied Sign. The body and soul of the signer, his unique human identity, are continually expressed in the act of signing.” (This sounds romantic, so it’s crucial to convey how much Sacks works at the other side of things.) 121-2. See him, 123.
Child raised by deaf/signing parents talks about reading “voice”: “[H]e became extremely sensitive to intentions and meanings which can be communicated through expressions on the face. . . . Like his [deaf] father, he was particularly sensitive to people’s faces and could make good judgments about the intentions and sincerity of those with whom he was engaged in business . . [he] felt that in ordinary business negotiations he had a serious advantage over his opposite numbers.” Quoted p 102, Sacks, Oliver. It’s from Arlow, J. A. “Communication and Character: A Clinical Study of a Man Raised by Deaf-Mute Parents.” The Psychoanalytic Study of the Child 31 (1976): 139-63.
class discussion–Todd Ostrowski’s paper Go and look at it. Good examples. Also the girl. My train of thought important. It’s fake and empty whether it’s tongue-tied male or fluent female. Feed in resistance. Unless the words hook to the deeper parts of the self, they are limp and dead. “Good” student writing comes from words essentially leaving out deeper parts. “Soundings/Whale” girl does it; also “Male flesh” girl too. Girls trained to leave out angry nasty sides of self. A train of thought from my notes that came to attach itself to your metaphor interest: Bring my “snake/prose” point into voice discussion. (WWPOWER, 17-19)
Voice is the kind of resistance in language– language that fights back in your hands a bit. And that fighting comes from it’s hooking into parts of yourself that you are BY DEFINITION not in touch with. (Unconscious is by definition, not conscious.) Maybe this is the secret of metaphor: when we make a metaphor we haven’t made before, we are always jumping off a bit of a ledge, doing a piece of bushwhacking through language where there is no path–and therefore we are, almost inevitably, picking up some burrs that stick to us from the unconscious. To speak literally is to have control over language–never to stray off the path. To make a metaphor is to stray off the path–and therefore it creates a bit of a vacuum for wisps of stuff from the unconscious to attach to. My own experience as opposite to fluent girls. Never being able to get control over language–always fighting back too much. One of the reasons it’s hard to get good writing in general and in schools in particular is because we have structures that DISCOURAGE people who have that kind of resistant language–and we reward people detaching selves from sources of resistance; fluency. We need to reward snakes.
VOICE/CONFLICT; Stacy Tibbets has good point about how voice grows out of conflict. He’s thinking in the larger cultural context–about how strong voice of new journalism emerges when there’s no longer a moral and cultural consensus: people can no longer write “for everyone” in “our voice”–where it can all be taken for granted. Perhaps that explains why academic discourse is breaking down now: it used to be possible to speak for a consensus: we all agree on who we are and how we talk. Now that’s no longer true–and so voices have to define themselves; and there are stronger flavors of voice. But the same thing is true on the individual level: and this is a good antidote to my “safety” emphasis. I guess we need safety for our voices to come out (and Bakhtin agrees); but “voices get raised” when there’s a fight. People speak out strongly when they are mad or disagree or have to fight to establish themselves. It may be that one of the main things we need to help us make and find powerful voices for ourselves is situations of CONFLICT and disagreement. (We need just enough not to shut us off/down/up.) See Stacy’s final paper. (He has some good quotes in there.)
CHRISTIANSON AND SENTENCE Check out Christianson’s essay (“generative sentence? in Graves anthology) for examples of how a certain kind of syntax makes for liveliness and voice.
NEXT TIME I TEACH: get stronger voices in there in reading: sports columns; tom Wolfe/hunter Thompson &c &c. More extreme voices. -Read “Discourse in Novel”–or all of DIALOGIC IMAGINATION (BUY IT) -read Lanham and Weathers on alternative prose -read Wm James letters
EXAMPLES-”[put in another plain sentence here] Other students talked (OK, complained) about how it takes more time for collaborative learning.” (taken from Erika’s draft)
DESERT ISLAND DISCOURSE AND VOICE–TALKING TO YOURSELF IN YOUR HEAD–THIS HELPS PEOPLE BE MOST THEMSELVES; AND IT TENDS TO LEAD TO VERY VOICE-FUL WRITING AND A KIND OF SOLID, RICH CENTERED BUT UNRIGID SENSE OF IDENTITY.
This is train of thought in response to Erika Scheurer’s draft, 12/90. She points out how collaborative writing makes it harder for people to use their “gut voice”–or “personal voice” or “personally connected voice. So: Those figure whom she associates with the open kind of essay (Montaigne, White, Anderson, &c &c)–the “musers” and “deep explorers”–tend to have very deep and idiosyncratic and strong interesting personal or gut voices. I guess I connect this to the fact that having a dialogue with yourself is the MOST personal thing in the world to do–and that people who learn how to do it become MORE THEMSELVES. (Desert Island discourse.) My point is that it’s a wonderful and deeply human thing to be able to do–to learn to talk to yourself as though you were on a desert island–and that it makes you more yourself. This is a good angle on the disputes about voice and self. That we get to be more ourself and feel ourself more our self–the more we can have conversations with ourself–allow voices in our head. (Notice Marguerite’s paper: exactly about this.)
DIRECT ADDRESS TO READER as in Camus’ The Fall. (Or Eliz Tan’s paper: “But you know what I mean. or “Anyways.)(This is deliberate violation of how writing is supposed to work. Speech is almost always directly TO a listener. Writing is almost always NOT that way; always kind of as though not TO anyone in particular. How to describe the form of “address” typical in writing?)
can I ever mean exactly what I say? Kurt Wildermuth puts the question that way–usefully. A way of talking about deeper voice.
Dix’s draft: problem of HEARING VOICE, not making voice Here we are spending all semester worrying about the PROBLEM of how to MAKE voice (worrying about the polluting role of the reader/listener in that question). We need to pick up an equally interesting PROBLEM: how to HEAR VOICE (when we get deadened). (This merges with a seemingly different thought: if we are good hearer/listener–we can be the cause of more voice coming out of the speaker. And not by way of illusion–”seeing it” but actually more voice being there because the speaker speaks out more when someone is listening well.) Dix’s image of problem of hearing voice: “I’ve been trying to recall times when I really heard voices in texts. . . .
With a long line-up of texts waiting for my attention, I feel like the guy who sits in the complaint office of a store whose job is not to be in tune with the emotional timbre of those who speak to him. He must in fact screen this out and pay attention only to those aspects of the customer’s message that have a bearing on what the store may be liable for, may be obligated to do. It is precisely the circumstance of his official role that keeps him from hearing the voice as someone else would. Because he has interests to protect, an official agenda, he has to filter out the emotion in the buyer’s voice. However, when the unhappy customer comes back home and moans to his wife that it is the store’s policy not to give a cash refund, his wife is he is feeling kindly will hear in his voice the very range of things that the store man had to keep at bay” (draft, p2).
voice not the same as “good writing” There are lots of ways for text to work other than voice–and metaphor is probably one of the main ones. We’re in trouble if we drift into letting voice mean any kind of good writing. Anytime a word comes to mean “everything good/bad” or some such thing, it no longer means anything concrete or useful–is no longer a machine for distinguishing between instances–but becomes merely a rallying cry for praising and blaming.
speech act theory. Explore it. Related to metadiscourse–which always? serves to call attention to the speech act being performed.
“I want to hear you, not your voice.” Iris Warren, in Linklater, p 3. This is about authentic voice, perhaps. That it’s often quiet; serves as a carrying medium; has to do with how well the writer has poured herself into what she is writing about–connected. (Basho quote: go to the pine).
READ BURKE, RHETORIC OF RELIGION–FOR MAGIC
Freire and Buber–from Pat Perry’s dissertation Buber. Between Man and Man. “. . . the life of dialogue is no privilege of intellectual activity like dialectic . . . dialogue begins no higher than where humanity begins. There are no gifted and ungifted here, only those who give themselves and those who withhold themselves” (35).
Freire and Macedo, “Literacy” in Reading the Word and the World. “The students’ language is the only means by which they can develop their own voice, a prerequisite to the development of a positive sense of self-worth” (151). “Educators should never allow the students’ voice to be silenced by a distorted legitimation of the standard language. The students’ voice should never be sacrificed, since it is the only means through which they make sense of their own experience of the world” (152).
Freire. The Politics of Education. As an event calling forth the critical reflection of both the learners and educators, the literacy process must relate speaking the word to transforming reality and to man’s role in this transformation. Perceiving the significance of that relationship is indispensable for those learning to read and write if we are really committed to liberation. Such perception will lead the learners to recognize that, as men, they have a right to have a voice” 51.
Irigaray: example of personal writing–and voice.Irigaray, Luce. “And One Doesn’t Stir Without the Other” Trans Helene Wenzel. Signs 7.1 (1981): 56-67. Personal writing–mother/daughter monologue.
“Why Doesn’t This Feel Empowering: Working Through the Repressive Myths of Critical Pedagogy.” Harvard ER 59.3 (Aug 89): 297-304. She’s bothered at talk of “empowerment.” Unpleasantly alienated writing. But see her references to WALKERDINE on silence/speech, p 301; and on emotions, 305. Good passage on 312 on person having multiple voices: concrete examples of conflicting voices in one.
Ellie Long on magic. Recommends Merleau Ponty’s The Prose of the World–phenomenological (almost poetic) description of shaping effects of language. Also R. Hacforth in commentary on Plato’s Phaedrus discusses the magical effects of Socrates’ myth of the soul (246A-247C).
Good tiny essay by Susan Griffith (given me by Susan Johnson) should be paired with Charles Olson’s “Projective Verse.” Terrific idea to analyze them both for voice.
Supposedly: No juice in language unless there is choral support. –language always allegedly as partly sanctioned and empowered by an audience. But notice how Abby and Ben sometimes speak out with most juice when they are feeling no support at all, fighting back, completely angry and hurt. Lashing out. (Perhaps you could say that they don’t do this unless they feel support from us for being this way. But actually I think submission and not speaking back are learned. Babies and small children of unsupportive parents do cry and shout without choral support. Only gradually do they get to be silent and unable to give vent.
Eva Hoffman, LOST IN TRANSLATION, 273 ff. Wonderful passages that illuminate Bakhtinian view; how we are made of various voices, languages. With her its literal: different languages make her up. She describes it vividly. She’s very good on the nature of self: something that’s left over in addition to the languages that make one up: the part of the self that is troubled by the gaps or bad fit among languages of the self. Talks about a central self.
VOICE (ENERGY, YOUR STAMP AND INTONATION) COMING FROM NOT KNOWING WHAT WORD YOU’RE GOING TO SAY NEXT. Yes, I think so, but why should that be? Example: MIKE NICHOLS & METHOD ACTING: Actor is saying Kerouac lines and not making them work. He asks the actor to tell about a time when HE was betrayed. “’Now’, Mr. Nichols says, ‘tell us the story you’ve just told us, but use the words of Kerouac.’” He’s making the Kerouac words more into literally his own intonations and voice. Goal is Strasberg one of “animating the text with one’s own thoughts and associations.” Nicholls says, “’When you were telling us your story you didn’t know what you were going to say next.’” (C20). (Mervyn Rothstein. NY Times 5/14/91 C1–to C20) Freewriting. Why does not knowing what’s next, not planning, make for voice? And what else does it make for? A kind of drama: thinking going on rather than a record of past thinking.
AUTHENTICITY tends to imply single and unchanging essential self. How much do I want to go along with that? On the one hand I want to concede a lot: not single or unchanging. SELF AS COMMITTEE. Multiple and changing or shifting over time–and different in different circumstances. But in truth, I think I see core that remains. Not a rigidly unchanging thing–rod of steel–but a core recognizability WITHIN something that changes. (I.e., someone has changed deeply over 20 years, yet we still see a sense of them being the same person. Two pathologies of self–that make people less able to function well in the world are two variations: rigid steel unchanging quality; or no center, nothing but a web of voices or selves that nothing holds together–nothing
BUT different people in different settings with no pressure or discomfort trying to experience continuity between them. My sense of self is deeply connected to DIALOGUES IN MY HEAD–frequent conversation in my mind, sometimes struggle. But there is a sense of a site for that conversation that is my self. Or rather when I’m being wholer and functioning better there is that site. Definition of poorer functioning is when it’s not there: just pinballing between being different people on different days with no sense of them talking to each other–just continual metamorphosing; or singleness of only hearing/being one voice and being completely out of touch with other sides of self, other voices–not showing up EITHER in internal voices in head OR behavior (except “Freudian” behavior–slips and mistakes).
Bonhoeffer, Dietrich says that true speech comes out of silence (true silence out of speech). Mentioned in Lacey’s Pendle Hill Pamphlet 278, p29–but doesn’t cite source.
**ZORA NEAL HURSTON, Their Eyes Were Watching God. New York: Harper, 1990 (first published 1937). For talk about voice, See Mary Helen Washington’s forward (xii-iii): does Janie have a voice or not? And Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s afterward (188, 93): Hurston vs. Wright–getting voice and getting squashed (see my initial thoughts about Wright and voice); and on DuBois’ double-voicing notion (in Hurston). PERHAPS TALK ABOUT VOICE IN WRIGHT AND HURSTON?
Paradigm voice quote–feminism. Judith Fetterly calls feminist criticism the “discovery/recovery of a . . . unique and uniquely powerful voice” (xxiii-xxiv). The Resisting Reader: A feminist Approach to American Fiction. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1978.
TWAIN on how his dictated material (in autobiography) was better than writing: “And you will be astonished (& charmed) to see how like talk it is, & how real it sounds, & how well & compactly & sequentially it constructs itself, & what a darling & worshipful absence of the signs of starch, & flatiron, & labor & fuss & the other artificialities…” (xxxii) (in Gibbon’s dissertation).
ANNIE DILLARD. “The reader’s ear must adjust down from loud life to the subtle, imaginary sounds of the written word. An ordinary reader picking up a book can’t yet hear a thing; it will take half an hour to pick up the writing’s soft modulations, its ups and downs and louds and softs.” (17) ?Writer’s life?) (in Gibbon dissertation).
GEERTZ opening, p 5ff WORKS AND LIVES. When anthropological writing works it’s because writer convinces us of off-stage mirror–that he’s really “been there”–and we can’t check on it. Same with voice. Is it the same as “really means it?” Sincerity? 2 levels of sincerity: feeling it, pulling in unconscious and whole self.
William James has good language/writing for voice. Quotes are in Stuart Hampshire essay/review in NYRB. when? Also EMERSON
EXPERIMENTS: SEEING HUMANS IN TEXTS. Constructing the author in a text. 4C’s 91 Boston John Hayes. They gave college entrance essays to readers (admissions officers?). There was high agreement on personality traits (modest, arrogant &c &c. And experimenters found textual features and learned to manipulate, change responses. (And these were very important in admissions decisions.) Bill Smith, (Pitt). Placement testing. Had readers read to ask, does this student belong “in my course” or not. When they talk about “in my course essays” they talk about the student; when they talk about a “not in my course essay” they talk about the essay.
Old Testament is always full of voices; always quotes embedded in quotes. A lot in the psalms. So it’s hard sometimes to keep track of who’s talking. It carries over into new testament; Paul.
SELF AS COMMITTEE, COMMUNITY. Bakhtinian.-helps with Fish problem of how we stand outside self and change mind. Bakhtinian. If we can take on various roles, voices, we can take rides on various parts of self.-Maybe “real voice” and resonance isn’t just one voice–sincerity; that’s what is tinny. Power comes from voice that conveys the multiplicity and conflicted and multivocal nature of self.
Buber; I-thou; someone there in text
The Authentic I: A Theory of Expressive Discourse. Andres, Laura Gay. Dissertation. Purdue, 1987.
Moffett, Universe: “Lest this seem to slight the powers of the individual, let me add, perhaps paradoxically, that the more speech of other people one takes in, the more original will be his permutations and the freer will he be of any limited set of voices. Liberation is a matter of hearing out the world.”
Woolf, ROOM OF OWN, near end. Talks of Shakespeare (and Austen) “pervading” everything they write. And she equates that with them not putting themselves “locally”–their character or wants or needs–into the text. Indeed, that it’s necessary to be not too upset or bothered; otherwise you get too much of your needs or life or self into your text. (Talks later of ?Bronte writing too much of her self and not enough of other things.)
JANE FLAX. I have crucial article in which she argues for need of an I–for feminist politics.
OCTAVIO PAZ, Poetry and free market, in Sunday Times book review, 12/7/91 (I have it). Talks of how poetry is always voice from inside, voice of the other. Such a simple thought, but quite compellingly put.
ACADEMIC EDITORS: CHANGES THEY MAKE ARE GOOD EXAMPLE OF ACADEMIC DISCOURSE. see editing of my ADE “student evaluation of teachers” paper; also the ADE review of Goswami book; also the Jossey Bass articles; examples in my AD essay (does that folder have any more examples?)
Schueller, Malini Johar. The Politics of Voice: Liberalism and Social Criticism from Franklin to Kingston. SUNY press 1991.
Role-play always brings out voice. “Enabling constraint.” It’s a Winnicot-like transitional space. Seitz on “fragments” in CE 11/91, p 823.)
START WITH SIMPLEST FACT ABOUT VOICE IN TEXTS. We always hear language as voiced/oral–that is our first and our most enduring and pervasive experience with language. Therefore, it’s virtually impossible NOT to hear and read in this kind of voicing when we see a text. In short, writing always has a voice unless it is so arranged as to ACTIVELY PREVENT US from hearing sounds. Hearing sounds is the norm.
Techniques for rendering speech on paper (rhythm, intonation, &c): Gumperz, John. Discourse Strategies. Cambridge UP, 1982. Also his “Contextualization and Understanding” in Rethinking Context. Ed, Duranti A. Cambridge UP, 1992. (This latter might have more quicker.)
“In the oral tradition, there is always someone telling the tale–the narrator is never “implied,” but is always present.” Charlie Huschle, “The Progeny of Midnight’s Children” 2.
VOICE BODY. Voice is the eruption of the body into pure language, pure semiology, pure system, pure abstraction. Kristeva writes about it in semiotic vs symbolic. Gallop (THINKING THROUGH THE BODY, 13) writes about Barthes’ distinction between “STYLE” and “WRITING”. Style is consistent, writing is insistent. Style is even, connected, coherent. Writing is disconnected, broken, erupted &c–breakings through of what is outside language. Ironically, however: even though the body is eruptive and not so neat as “style”–there IS consistency in the body’s eruption and in voice–a different kind of consistency; rougher; but still elegant and fine-grained. (Like voice prints and finger prints.) The literal consistency of the body (cells, DNA, fingerprints, voice prints) is really more coherent than the conscious mind is capable of. “The body is enigmatic because it is not a creation of the mind.” (18). Crucial and simple point. The body has a “mind of its own”.
Simple pragmatic definition from the point of view of simply learning a 2nd language: Earl Stevick: “ . . . other things being equal, the ‘deeper’ the source of a sentence within the student’s personality, the more lasting value it has for learning the language.” Stevick, E. W. Memory, Meaning, and Method: Some Psychological Perspectives on Language Learning. Rowley, MA: Newbury House, 1976. 109-110, his emphasis. Cited in Mlyarczyk, Rebecca. “Is There a Difference Between Personal and Academic Writing?” TESOL Journal, Autumn 1991: 17-20.
Willa Cather. “It’s the heat under the simple words that counts.” 48. Presumably from letter (not cited, but it’s an article talking about letters. Lee, Hermione, “Willa Cather: A Hidden Voice.” (11 July 13): 46-49.
###HIRSCHMAN, EXIT, VOICE, AND LOYALTY. This from review of bio of H, by Gladwell.The Gift of Doubt: Albert O. Hirschman and the power of failure.BY MALCOLM GLADWELL NEW Yorker, June 24, 2013.
“The closest Hirschman ever came to explaining his motives was in his most famous work, “Exit, Voice, and Loyalty,” and even then it was only by implication. Hirschman was interested in contrasting the two strategies that people have for dealing with badly performing organizations and institutions. “Exit” is voting with your feet, expressing your displeasure by taking your business elsewhere. “Voice” is staying put and speaking up, choosing to fight for reform from within. There is no denying where his heart lay.
Early in the book, Hirschman quoted the conservative economist Milton Friedman, who argued that school vouchers should replace the current public-school system. “Parents could express their views about schools directly, by withdrawing their children from one school and sending them to another, to a much greater extent than is now possible,” Friedman wrote. “In general they can now take this step only by changing their place of residence. For the rest, they can express their views only through cumbrous political channels.”
This was, Hirschman wrote, a “near perfect example of the economist’s bias in favor of exit and against voice”:
In the first place, Friedman considers withdrawal or exit as the “direct” way of expressing one’s unfavorable views of an organization. A person less well trained in economics might naively suggest that the direct way of expressing views is to express them! Secondly, the decision to voice one’s views and efforts to make them prevail are contemptuously referred to by Friedman as a resort to “cumbrous political channels.” But what else is the political, and indeed the democratic, process than the digging, the use, and hopefully the slow improvement of these very channels?
Hirschman pointed out the ways in which “exit” failed to send a useful message to underperformers. Weren’t there cases where monopolists were relieved when their critics left? “Those who hold power in the lazy monopoly may actually have an interest in creating some limited opportunities for exit on the part of those whose voice might be uncomfortable,” he wrote. The worst thing that ever happened to incompetent public-school districts was the growth of private schools: they siphoned off the kind of parents who would otherwise have agitated more strongly for reform.
Beneath Hirschman’s elegant sentences, you can hear a deeper argument. Exit is passive. It is silent protest. And silent protest, for him, is too easy. “Proving Hamlet wrong” was about the importance of acting in the face of doubt—but also of acting in the face of fear. Voice was courage. He went to fight Fascism in Spain. It ended in failure. When the Nazis came hunting for the Jews, he tried again. “Expanding the operation meant, increasingly, that Beamish’s work was in the streets, bars, and brothels of Marseilles, expanding the tentacles of the operation,” Adelman writes. “If the operation had a fixer, it was Beamish. It was a role he relished.”
###most recent vox notes–starting 7/10
See Donoghue in my V\linguist for great notes on his “orality” book/essay
SPELL OF THE SENSUOUS Proust As soon as I read an author, I quickly make out beneath the words a tune that in each author is different from that of others, and without realizing it I begin to “sing along,” speeding or slowing or interrupting the notes as I read, marking their measures and returns as one does when singing and waiting a certain time, depending on the song’s pace, before finally uttering the end of a word…. (in Contre Sainte Beuve) from Tom Newkirk
WRITING AS ENACTING MIND IN ACTION VS RECORD OF PAST CONCLUSIONS. The former is characteristic of speech; the latter characteristic of writing. It’s in nature of writing to record past thinking; in the nature of speech to be enacting of the mind as it natters on in to the unknown.
Make sure to read Langer, FEELING AND FORM where she has a chapter called “the living work”–around 141, where she deals explicitly with voice
Varnum’s chap 4 is good and interesting on how Baird’s Amherst course became a course about voice and self–just because of its interest in language. The premise: how you talk says who you are. Worth pursuing. Check out whether there’s a sequence on “true self”–or at least the sequence on personae. It’s in Coles too.
Skip Gates on “Authenticity or the lesson education of little tree”. NYRB 96.1 (Nov 24, 1991).
Good sample from Jamie McDonald. Where some students move from informal to stiff as they revise for publication (can I find examples?) he went the other way. Here he is in midprocess: the opening:Growing up in our culture is a very interesting climb up to adulthood. From reading our collages, I have found that childhood memories that we hold dear are what makes us what we are, and what we are going to be. From the sweet pleasant memories to those of sheer terror, we all hold certain memories close to our hearts. What may be different from other cultures is the process of education, and the social life adjacent to that.
// [next parag] I have noticed that many of the memories were from school, whether it be from the first grade or senior prom. I began to notice the importance of our school system to us. My memories of my fifth grade teacher screaming at me, which echo in my head to this day, happened in school.His final starts:School. We never stop to wonder how valuable our early childhood education was, and is. When asked about fond and vivid memories, we often point our mental memory arrows to our childhood. And reminiscing about those times and those memories leads us to remember that they most likely happened in one place: school. What memory can I think of that didn’t happen in or around school? Is this really better? Probably not more “authentic”? Is it more him? But it’s more flexible and comfortable and pleasing. Though his thought is inherently implausible and unconvincing.
VOICE AND BODY: “AUTHENTIC VOICE” AS MOST PHYSICALLY RESONANT: LINK THIS WILLIAMS QUOTE WITH THE BARTHES QUOTE ABOUT BONES AND PITH. William Carlos Williams. “How to Write” (1936). Ed J. Laughlin. New Directions 50th Anniversary Issue. New Directions Publishing Corp: New York, ®IP0.400IN,0.400IN,0IN¯So poets <have been considered unbalanced creatures (as they often are), madmen very often. But the intrinsic reason for this is seldom understood. They> are in touch with “voices,” but this is the very essence of their power, the voices are the past, the depths of our very beings. It is the deeper <,not “lower” (in the usually silly sense)> portions of the personality speaking, the middle brain, the nerves, the glands, the very muscles and bones of the body itself speaking.It’s perhaps the most fruitful way to talk about resonant or real voice. And voice in general. After all, voice IS something from the body. Quote the Falludi article. This could be focus of Yancey article.
Another way of getting at “authentic voice” that finesses many of the problems–and in particular is good at dealing with questions of “real self” and irony and taking on roles: how much of your self or selves can you get behind these words? Thus it can be oblique or nutty–but lots behind it. Doesn’t have to be “in” the words–but behind them. Example: take the opening pages of Charlie Huschle’s two essays for Walker Gibson. I think one is a bit more “dramatic” or “role playing”–and yet he has more of him behind it. Not “sincere”, not even a “true self”–but more resonance. Thus this fits with my word “resonance.” Also fits with my model that talks about unconscious rather than sincerity: sincerity is only part of self, conscious. Whole self involves unconscious. Even though we don’t know about selves and complexities of voice. We know it’s possible to get more behind. And we can tell when people are faking. Of course exceptions (LITTLE TREE), but they only prove that we are in the habit of noticing this dimension.
Voice is a way to get the unconscious more into writing. This is the corollary of my premise that voice gets at more than sincerity–that voice is the sound of the whole self in all its complexity. (Though perhaps only the whole self BEHIND it–not explicitly IN IT or EXPLICITLY EXPRESSED.) Jeremy Chipman noticed how his more careless, off the cuff writing often captured more of his voice and more of his unconscious.
AUTHENTIC VOICE. It’s a term used by Freire. And I see (from Peckham’s essay) that it has a particular force I’ve been missing. It refers to the speech of someone who is not alienated. Alienation is when someone sees himself through someone else’s eyes–as object–as opposed to from own eyes. (See Peckham, p 5.) Speaking FOR oneself, FROM one’s own point of view. Quote Peckham. Check out Freire. He also mentions Sartre.
Hooking language to anatomy and irrational (French fems): see Jonsberg diss, p 70.
“Nothing is so akin to our own minds as rhythms and words.” Cicero DE ORATORE, III. I[1?]. 197.
6/91. There is this central experience that Husserl seems to have talked of–and that Derrida objects to: the “experience of hearing oneself speak at the point of utterance creates the impression of absolute self-presence. . . a moment of consciousness in which utterance and thought seem one.” (8-9) Derrida seems to see this as the ur-culprit–the source of our longing for presence. Seems odd to me. I admit that I have a longing for presence, it is a good for me in writing. But I often don’t have that sense in my speaking. I often feel very much a Derridean gap between my words and my meaning or intention. My longing for presence (however sinful it is) comes from a sense that in some texts and some speaking there is a lot of it–and in some not–by me and by others. In some language we get a sense of the person being in it, behind it; and in some not.
Woolf Good functional definition of voice. “Directly, that is to say, I took my pen in my hand to review that novel by a famous young man, she slipped behind me and whispered, ‘My dear, you are a young woman. You are writing about a book that has been written by a man. Be sympathetic; be tender; flatter; deceive; use all the arts and wiles of our sex. Never let anybody guess that you have a mind of your own . . . ‘ And she made as if to guide my pen. . . . she would have plucked the heart out of my writing.” what lecture from? (it’s in Between ourselves: Letters, mothers, daughters, ed. Karen Payne, Houghton, 83) Voice is what you lose if you pretend you don’t have a mind of your own–or try to fit the words to the needs of the audience–if the audience is not one that respects you.
Bakhtin (noted from Federenko’s review–”Discourse and the Novel.” Which is in Bakhtin, Mikhail. The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays. Michael Holquist, ed. Caryl Emerson trans. Austin: U of Texas P, 1981. see pp 324-55. 348: “The importance of struggling with another’s discourse, its influence in the history of an individual’s coming to ideological consciousness, is enormous. One’s own discourse and one’s own voice, although born of another or dynamically stimulated by another, will sooner or later begin to liberate themselves from the authority of the other’s discourse.” He has a model of how human beings come to be–are shaped: assimilation of voices outside ourselves. (Like Meade.) “The ideological becoming of a human being, in this view, is the process of selectively assimilating the word of others.” (p?) A person becomes a person by assimilating voices–making them one’s own. Fold in here his quotations about the externally authoritative word and internally persuasive word–making the voices of others into one’s own voice. “The fundamental condition, that which makes a novel a novel, that which is responsible for its stylistic uniqueness, is the speaking person and his discourse” (332). “externally authoritative” and “internally persuasive” i.e. “retelling a text in one’s own words, with one’s own accents, gestures, and modifications” (424)
more Bakhtin: INTONATION “Discourse in Life and in Art.” It’s all about intonation. Get quotes from Peggy Wolpert’s paper. Good ones. (p 114). Also, “In intonation, discourse comes directly into contact with life . . . It is especially sensitive to all the vibrations in the social atmosphere surrounding the speaker” (102). Two dimensions, then: the aural literal intonation in speech that writing cannot capture; and the bits of intonation that writing CAN capture. (Bakhtin is talking about speaking.) Intonation depends on support–indeed “choral support.” Also “A creatively productive, assured and rich intonation is possible only on the basis of presupposed ‘choral support.’ Where such support is lacking, the voice falters and its intonational richness is reduced . . . The commonness of assumed basic value judgments constitutes the canvas upon which living human speech embroiders the designs of intonation” (103). But still, I want to say that we sometimes get intonation into our speech even we don’t have support.
Bakhtin 345 comfortably talks about “one’s own discourse”. Also, see paradigm quote in Joe Harris 87 CE essay on selves (vol 2 I think).
Bakhtin was interested in authorship and intention:Elle: “It occurs to me that maybe the central idea that Bakhtin was always developing, and wanted to show developing, was a theory of authorship and of related concepts such as expression and intention. He could be viewed as the most profound of intentionalists. He saw intention and authorship as much more complex than people usually take them to be. He spent his whole life examining and enriching these neglected or impoverished concepts. From his first essay, “Art and Responsibility,” to his last notes, he was concerned with the nature of expressing and with the relation of inner thought to outer speech. He questioned the extent to which we can be present in our own utterances and investigated our strategies for appropriating languages we have not made in contexts we have not chosen. He saw that we cannot be ourselves, we must cite ourselves.Moi: I accept your summary but not your implicit scientific framework.” This from p 17 of Gary Saul Morson. “Who Speaks for Bakhtin?” Ed. Gary Saul Morson. Bakhtin: Essays and Dialogues on His Work. Chicago: U Chicago P, 1986. 1-19.
SEE SARA JONSBERG’S 4Cs PIECE–AND DISS. Expressive writing is a place where we try out different voices and subject positions–to enlarge our possibilities. Using a deconstructive stance to DEFEND the notion.
See AMHERST/BAIRD assignment series on mask/persona. In Varnum file.
Brower on HerbertFrom G. Herbert’s “The Windows” (see whole thing)Doctrine and life, colours and light, in one When they combine and mingle, bringA strong regard and aw: but speech alone Doth vanish like a flaring thing, And in the eare, not conscience ring.
Herbert is discussed in R. Brower’s The Fields of Light, 59-61. He talks of how sound/voice is affected by how things are arranged in poetry. Good counter example to emphasis on speech. He has an example where he rewrites the stanza above more like we would say it. And it doesn’t have as much audible voice–as much ringing, resonant voice. His rewrite:When doctrine and life, colours and light, combine and mingle in one, they bring a strong regard and aw: but speech alone doth vanish like a flaring thing and doth ring in the eare, not conscience.Clear case where a violation of normal order heightens the sound. Compare: but speech alone Doth vanish like a flaring thing, And in the eare, not conscience ring. andbut speech alone doth vanish like a flaring thing and doth ring in the eare, not conscience.Brower’s whole chapter is about sound. “The Figure of Sound”
Two tones of voice in one short poem: classic example:Donne’s “At the round earths imagin’d corners, blow”–where the octet is shouting and blasting and somewhat formal and rhetorical grand, and the sestet is quiet and conversational and meek.
EXAMPLE OF ME GIVING FBK IN TERMS OF VOICE. I wasn’t doing it very self-consciously; this is tucked in among lots of feedback of other sorts. Though the seminar was about voice. But it’s an example of me just drifting in to talking in terms of voice–not setting out to look at a paper in terms of voice. Lots of the feedback to other papers in the batch didn’t talk about voice. It’s to David Holper’s mid-semester paper/reflections in voice seminar in ?90-2?
That opening where you speak directly to us. I like it. A strong move. Insisting on reaching up off the page (an arm coming out through the TV screen) and grabbing us. (Makes me think of Camus’ THE FALL–which I love.) Oddly, interestingly, I feel a change in voice with the 2nd parag. I can’t see logically why it should sound differently: no reason why you can’t be saying that thing to us just as “loudly” as the first paragraph–but it feels more “to yourself”–more meditative. Not sure it’s a problem; just different; the slight inward/meditative turn makes sense. And then through the body of the piece I don’t feel you talking so directly to me. Moving or drifting to a regular writing voice of telling stories. Not a problem either–just a difference–though in fact I didn’t NOTICE the change–just went along not saying “this is a different voice”: EXCEPT for when I get to the place toward the end where you have a little piece again of speaking loudly, directly to us again.
JUNE JORDAN’S essay: “Willie Jordan” (see Myrtle Beach). Black English speakers surrendering their voice: the sound of how they speak. See p 28 she adds “Isn’t that so?” to her paragraph. Even “isn’t it?” See p. 129, 135: questions of survival.
MISTAKES; UNGRAMMATICAL LANGUAGE: Why are they so attractive and expressive? Because it shows the individual doing it his way–fighting “the system.” Not giving in to the system. Language is, by definition, a corporate system–rules. We have instinct to break out of rules–not be bound by rules.
For middle class whites, black English functions as breaking out of system of what is “proper”–even though it is also rule-bound. It feels freer–and is in fact “wrong” or “rebellion”.
Marj Roemer says this gives support for my thinking about voice and authorial control: Clifford, James. The Predicament of Culture. Cambridge: Harvard UP, 1988.
Fisher, John H. The Importance of Chaucer. Southern Illinois UP, 1992. Has important stuff on authorship and voice (says George Moberg).
see Keith K (Cornell Alexander guy) p 12.
Looker (History at Amherst) is obsessed with voice. Call him and ask him what he knows.
Quote Baird 193: voice helps you get outside yourself: take on new positions
Quote Jane Eyre 410: classic position on self.
Chris Anderson’s simple point: people can usually tell when we are faking. Though not always. And contrast Auden’s TRUEST POETRY…
Frankenstein 127. “There’s something in your words that persuades me you are sincere” says the blind father to the monster who learned the language entirely on his own. Romantic myth?
Gibson, preface to Seeing and Writing vii. “A liberally educated man” is “a man who can change his voice without losing track of himself.” Implies multiple voices but a self.
Clara Park. ADE and Hudson Review pieces.
PSALMS AND OLD TESTAMENT. So much early writing is reporting of speech–voices embedded 2 and 3 deep–so the quotation marks can’t keep up. Can we say it’s writing trying to take on the properties of sound. These long bits where X says what God says or God says what human should say. Lots of ventriloquism or speaking THROUGH someone else.
AUDIBLE VOICE. examples from student. Interestingly, he got more audible voice into his revision. (Do I have this earlier in these notes somewhere?) I think most people will tend to hear the first passage less than the second passage which is a revision of it.
Growing up in our culture is a very interesting climb up to adulthood. From reading our [class] collages, I have found that childhood memories that we hold dear are what makes us what we are, and what we are going to be. From the sweet pleasant memories to those of sheer terror, we all hold certain memories close to our hearts. What may be different from other cultures is the process of education, and the social life adjacent to that. . . . . I have noticed that many of the memories were from school, whether it be from the first grade or senior prom. I began to notice the importance of our school system to us. My memories of my fifth grade teacher screaming at me, which echo in my head to this day, happened in school. [Midprocess draft, opening paragraph]
School. We never stop to wonder how valuable our early childhood education was, and is. When asked about fond and vivid memories, we often point our mental memory arrows to our childhood. And reminiscing about those times and those memories leads us to remember that they most likely happened in one place: school. What memory can I think of that didn’t happen in or around school? [Revision, opening paragraph] The revision has more comfortable and idiomatic rhythms of speech in it. (I’m impressed that he gets more audible voice in a revision when so many of us, students and professionals alike, often revise the audibility out of our prose. The process of revising–tinkering, clarifying, qualifying, having second thoughts–often destroys any sense of human utterance. But this freshman had a good ear and is, in fact, a musician.)
COMPARE TRANSLATIONS OF THE BIBLE for good examples of different voices.
Voice and persuasiveness: answer is more Platonic than Aristotelian: an untrustworthy person may be able to achieve authentic voice as he is, but he cannot achieve trustworthiness (to good ears) without becoming more trustworthy. Merely finding better words won’t do it. That is, authentic or resonant voice is not always persuasive. Authentic voice doesn’t mean we can trust this person–merely that this person really is like what he sounds like (though not in any simple sense: remember Swift and Mailer). Thus, a slippery, shifty-eyed person has authentic voice if he sounds slippery and shifty-eyed, but that’s not a reason for trusting him. (I’m looking for a good example of some well-known real or fictional person with great authenticity of voice because he sounds as slippery and shifty-eyed as he really is. Mailer is a step in that direction. Does Genet work?) Yet the shifty-eyed person cannot be persuasive by simply managing to sound direct and solid–not at least with better readers. The issue is complex–but so is rhetoric. To be persuasive, the slippery, shifty-eyed person would have to find a voice which somehow acknowledges who he is–and then goes on from there somehow to be persuasive, not just seem persuasive.
Freire used “authentic voice” in a more productive way: to refer to the speech of someone who is not alienated–who doesn’t see himself through someone else’s eyes–doesn’t see self as object. Authentic speech is language where someone speaks for himself, from his own point of view. (See Irv Peckham 5. He also quotes Sartre on this.) But actually this fits voice as authoritative–not voice as resonance: for I would say that voice can have resonance or real presence even when alienated or lacking in authority.
ROBERT FROST. Don’t forget his quote that I used before. So important.BUT: this one too:
For a second let me turn aside and say that the beginning of literary form is in some turn given to the sentence in folk speech. Art is the amplification and sophistication of the proverbial turns of speech.” Epigraph to THE VOICE OF FOLK: FOLKLORE AND AMERICAN LITERARY THEORY. Gene Bluestein. U Mass P, 1972.
Roethke, Theodore. Straw for the Fire: From the Notebooks of Theodore Roethke (1943-63). I’ve had few students who can read a fresh page. Reason: this can be taught only by parents. One reason is that the exclamation point and question mark are the only devices we have for inflection . . . . What we ought to teach is the right way to use the voice. Teach them to read with their ears as well as their eyes. . . . We must teach them the sacredness of human communication. -what page. John Boe gave me this; thanks to him.
Barthes, Roland. Talks about loss of “body” in writing. “From Speech to Writing” 1974. “. . . what is lost in transcription is quite simply the body–at least this exterior (contingent) body which, in a dialogue, flings toward another body, just as fragile (or frantic) as itself, messages that are intellectually empty, the only function of which is in a way to hook the Other (even in the prostitution sense of the term) and to keep it in its state of partnership” (5).
SPEECH ACT THEORY AND MOST MODERN THEORIES IMPLY THE BODY/PERSON: That you can’t remove utterance from the conditions or circumstances of its production. Petrey in speech act:, lower 36: lower 48; also 65
COVER LETTER/ANALYSIS/INTRODUCTION TO PORTFOLIO:Good example of constructing self or ethos with language. Coming on as naive student (baffled or not knowing as much as teacher) or sucking up; or taking professional competent voice. Nedrea Reynolds presentation at 10/92 PORTFOLIO CONFERENCE at Miami U.
“LOCATION” INSTEAD OF “VOICE”. Edwina Hilton at Miami U 92 Portfolio conference: gender, race, class: “Where you are coming from.”
HAVING THE RIGHT SELF:Teachers say “be yourself”–but some kids have the right self and some don’t. This is the argument against “resonance.” Middle class &c &c. But I’d argue that a good reader appreciates “being self” even when it is “the wrong self.”
PORTFOLIO is good location for exploring different voices and selves. And a good place to look for different voices.
INTENTION: PRESENCE. Part of what I mean by voice is that we read and listen to language to hear what the “person” really “means or intends.” Petrey (for Austin) is very adamant that intention is irrelevant. 79-80 of SPEECH ACTS AND LITERARY THEORY. Austin says the view is “quite mistaken” that words are “uttered as (merely) the outward and visible sing, for convenience or other record or for information, of an inward and spiritual act.” (‘62 p 9) I.e., words are outward signs of what’s inward intention or meaning. He wants to say it’s all outward and convention: what they do is what the community lets or rules them to do. “The force of promises and best commits even liars and welshers.” But my reply is that even though this is true in a legal sense, when humans use language they are INTERESTED IN INTENTION.
Interested in whether someone is lying or welshing: in fact we need to know for practical reasons whether someone is lying or welshing. It makes a huge difference. But my main point is psychological and social: people are interested in what is inner; people habitually read the outer speech for the inner intention. It’s just a fact. Perhaps we have a dichotomy here: on the one hand people read speech for intention and presence; on the other hand, people/society get to treat language as they treat it–convention rules apart from any inner intention or meaning or presence.
MOMENT OF KNOWING–AH HA–SPECIAL CONNECTION WITH OBJECT OR KNOWING. Greg Coleman talks of these as creating voice. (Bard anniversary conference, 11/92). Excitement, full investment. (This is where my “voice” meets my “experience into words”.
John Kirwan, UC Riverside (candidate for our job 12/92) writes about Auricular confession in Newman: language for private experience. (See my Dewey experience notes.)
bell hooks: TALKING BACK, 11:When I became a student in college creative writing classes, I learned a notion of “voice” as embodying the distinctive expression of an individual writer. Our efforts to become poets were to be realized in this coming into awareness and expression of one’s voice. In all of my writing classes, I was the only black student. Whenever I read a poem written in the particular dialect of southern black speech, the teacher and fellow students would praise me for using my “true,” authentic voice, and encourage me to develop this “voice,” to write more of these poems. From the onset this troubled me. Such comments seemed to mask racial biases about what my authentic voice would or should be.
Here’s a point to make to people who stress only that we should teach students academic discourse:“…inauthentic voice a la Freire: inauthentic voice is the voice of the oppressed (read student) speaking the language (and, obviously, thoughts) of the oppressor (read teacher). Macrorie got at this a long time ago. So did Moffett when he talked about pseudo essays (and, yes, Britton). So did you. I wouldn’t give the phrase up. I sure as hell know the difference between authentic and inauthentic voice when I read student essays.” Irv Peckham, letter 8/28/92. being able to name the world
EL DUENDE. “It means the spirit behind the action, the passion inside the gesture. It is often used to describe a flamenco dancer or a guitar player. In storytelling, it is the ability to be in the midst of what you are saying, to experience it.” Clarissa Pinkola Estes (author of WOMEN WHO RUN WIHT THE WOLVES: MYTHS AND STORIES OF THE WILD WOMAN ARCHETYPE). Quoted in NYTIMES, Wed 1/20/93, C22. See especially Lorca, Federico Garcia. “The Duende: Theory and Divertissement.” The Poet’s Work: 29 Masters of 20th Century Poetry on the Origins and Practice of Their Art. Ed. Reginald Gibbons. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1979: 28-41. GET IT AND READ IT–FROM AMHERST LIBRARY
See Eva Hoffman on silence at the deepest level of self where most powerful voice comes from. In \NTS\SILENCE.NTS
Belenky et al, 18. Wonderful quote about the fact that people spontaneously use the term ‘voice’ for talking about self, development, and growth, and power.
SIMPLE EXAMPLE OF VOICE/SPEECH AS IMPROVEMENT TO WRITING–AND DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WRITING THAT LISTENS TO VOICE AND WRITING THAT LOOKS ONLY AT TEXT/SPACE/LOGIC. Believe (or pretend to believe) everything I have written. Believe everything I have written–or at least pretend to believe it. THE FIRST ONE IS MORE LOGICALLY EFFICIENT–IN SPACE; USES ONLY “BELIEVE” ONLY ONCE; IS ONLY ONE STATEMENT WITH A LOGICAL VARIATION &C &C. BUT NO ONE WOULD EVER SAY IT THIS WAY, AND IT IS HARDER TO PROCESS. PERHAPS THIS IS TOO SHORT AN EXAMPLE; IN FACT IT’S EASY TO PROCESS THE NONVOICE ONE–THOUGH IT’S MORE UNGAINLY. WITH LONGER EXAMPLE, YOU RUN INTO GENUINE DIFFICULTIES IN PROCESSING. OTHER EXAMPLES?ALSO WITH “FORMER/LATTER”. I ALWAYS HAVE DIFFICULTY. IT’S A MATTER OF LOGIC AND WORKS ON THE PAGE, IN SPACE. BUT IN TIME, IN HEARING (READING) IT DOESN’T WORK.
SHAME IS VISUAL, GUILT ORAL. “With shame, the internalized other is a watcher (thus, primitively, it is shameful to be seen naked, but not to be naked); with guilt, the internalized other can be imagined as a voice, speaking as victim or judge.” Jenkyns, Richard. “How Homeric Are We.” Review of Shame and Necessity” by Bernard Williams and The Oldest Dead White European Males by Bernard Knox. NY Times Book Review, Apr 25 1993: 3.
WORDSWORTH’S LANGUAGE: “ORDINARY LANGUAGE”: GETTING PEOPLE TO HAVE DIALOGUE WITH SELF. See note on Fischer’s SOUNDINGS essay in EXPRESSIVE/FEELINGS file or 4C/DEWEY [EXPERIENCE] file
DICTATION and relation to writing/voice. See ?recent article by Jean Halpers and Sarah Liggett, in ?Computers and Writing (now 5/93)
Romano, Tom. “Crafting Authentic Voice.” Voices from the Middle 3.2 (April 1996): 5-9. He gets authenticity by carefully consciously “crafting” his prose style–active verbs &c &c.
READING VOICES, Garrett Stewart, U Cal, 90. Looks crucial; at Erikson’s.
SEMIOTICS. Understand it. Am I right that it is text-oriented and opposed to voice-oriented? See Martin Esslin, THE FIELD OF THEATER for, evidently, a good semiotics approach to theater.
David Porter, Dickinson: The Modern Idiom, Harvard UP 1981, 141 talks about Dickinson as purely textual; not voice–singularly textual art. (See Erika’s 3rd chapter–on her Poetics.)
Brita Lindberg-Seyersted, The Voice of the Poet: Aspects of Style in the Poetry of Emily Dickinson (214-234) Harvar UP, 1968. Talks about informal, conversation qualities in her poetry; “intimacy signals” such as “you know” “well”.
Yeager, Patricia. Afterward. Feminism, Bakhtin and the Dialogue. Ed. Dale Bauer and — McKinstry.
SOUND IS SOCIAL–MORE SOCIAL THAN TEXT–WHICH IS PRIVATE We always talk in the presence of others; presence. Writing and reading are more often in the absence of others. Less sense of presence of others, of sociality of language. “Intonation clearly registers the other’s presence, creating a kind of portrait in sound of the addressee to whom the speaker imagines he or she is speaking” Michael Holquist, Dialogism: Bakhtin and his World, NY: Routledge 1990. (61) Katz. “in deciding how prose should sound [the writer or reader] must choose a relationship with the audience and continually recreate the text for them.” He cites Lanham 100-102 for this point. Note 1 for Katz’s chap 4 (MS 292). Katz says that “Havelock and Ong and others have recognized the oral basis of social rhetoric” (same note)
KATZ has lots of good stuff. Re-read his 4. Also-Cicero on how all humans judge rhythmic quality of language naturally De Orator III 195; rhythm is most akin to mind-111 (revised MS) quote Katz’ profound sentence.-p 289, note: quote Halloran and ?-I can cite/quote Katz for the idea of Plato emphasizing visible forms and Cicero the bodily/aural foundation of knowledge and language; though there are some paradoxes about Plato (see note, mid p 291)-Check his bibliography; particularly: Sloan & Stewart;; Lanier; Croll
LANGER, SUZANNE read her about language as sensuous form; as sound and performed. (FEELING AND FORM, p 35 & V
Read Betsy Bowen on Chaucer; Bollinger
Chaim Perelman, REALM OF RHETORIC, on presence! 31-5.
Dictée, Theresa Hak Kyung Cha. Obscure press. Eliz Contafio is supposed to send me Xerox; I can contact Susan Lytel if she doesn’t, U Penn.
Gloria Anzaldua, Border…. ?”Black and Red” about ritual/body in language
Francis Bailey has diss about voice at Ed school
RHETORIC REVIEW VOICE ESSAY. Arguing for social view of voice. Good stuff from Bakhtin. Consult it. Here’s a thought in response: I actually don’t think I disagree with anything you are saying here. But I do “disagree” in a sense in that I want, in addition, to do more justice to something that an individual seems to bring to voice. I’m struck with the quote you pick out from Bakhtin, (6) “everything that pertains to me enters my consciousness . . . from the external world through the mouths of others”. That’s a large claim (and I don’t think Bakhtin’s position is all that simple either). But though I don’t believe in a “essentialist, idealist, metaphysical” self (as you ascribe to me without evidence), I am interested in trying to do justice to two tricky phenomena: the strong sense of voice and character that turn up in tiny babies; and the striking permanence that persists in a person’s voice/character over time. In my researches; spend a lot of time looking at babies and character.
VYGOTSKY see is passage from Dostoyevsky (143, my edition) for example of how the same word has all these different intonations and thus meanings says inner speech has “musical, expressive, intonational qualities” that we find in oral speech (THOUGHT & LANG 181, new edition–one cited in RR essay). Though I noticed on my 145 that he talks about how sound is reduced and inner speech works with semantics, not phonetics.
“HEFT” in Adrienne Rich’s “Poetry III”: MINI CASE STUDY. When I first read it I heard new England workmen’s speech; farmers and workers I’d worked with as a boy; tough, slangy, earthy. Then after knowing this poem, I read a bunch of Emily Dickinson and found the word important there. I’ll bet that’s where Rich got it. A different feel; more delicate, feminine (though also very New England–i.e., Dickinson and the farmers were getting it from the same soil).
Bakhtin. “expressive intonation is a constitutive marker of the utterance” SPEECH GENRES AND OTHER LATE ESSAYS, 85 Bakhtin: point of intersection is PERSONAL. He’s interested in the personal. Erika has great quotes from Bakhtin in her last chapter; epigraph; and later one from “Answerability” about inhabiting one’s body; not being outside it or thinking too much about how others see.
See my \FBK\VOICE.RR file (response to Rhetoric Review essay) for good thoughts about voice and my reactions. That essay has lots of good stuff from Bakhtin. It’s in a folder in voice drawer called “RR essay”
Derrida writes about Emmanuel Levinas–who evidently argues for the literally face-to-face, human, bodily dimension of writing. Bob Broad told me of it.
TWAIN/GIBBONS. See wonderful quotes from Twain on p 66-7 of her diss; about difference tween speech and writing. He makes fun of how awful “dead carcass” of text is; though in other quote he talks about getting writing to be live.
NABAKOV/gibbons-diss. See whole Gibbons chapter on him; and his PALE FIRE autobiography; see the passage she picks out about summer soomerki–wonderful rhythms and incantations. Good example of language as creating magic and incantation.
NABAKOV/gibbons-diss. Metadiscourse. Nabokov is always stepping out and speaking to reader; kind of gamey; playful; ironic. Likes to play with conventions. Wonderful example (gibbons-diss 147): “I am now going to do something quite difficult, a kind of double somersault with a Welsh waggle (old acrobats will know what I mean), and I want complete silence please” (204). Also where he speaks to printers about spelling (see gibbons-diss earlier page). (Chaucer asking copiers not to make a mistake). (note his asking for “silence” in a text).
Derrida denies voice but uses metaphor of voice to do so. gibbons-diss p 7.
de Man. That text conceals the person just as the body conceals the person. But really the body does reveal–just as the text reveals. (Though of course the fit is not perfect; sometimes it conceals; and we often have experience of body as not-me. But note that his metaphor implies an inner, nonphysical “me” that is kind of essential. gibbons-diss p 8. deMan. “The Rhetoric of Temporality.” Dan Latimer, ed. Contemporary Critical Theory. Orlando FL: Harcourt 1989. Argument for allegory over symbolism (i.e., anti romantics): Allegory appears “at the most original and profound moments in the works, when an authentic voice becomes available.” do I want Gary Saul Morson. “Bakhtin, Genres, and Temporality.” New Literary History 22 (1991): 1071-92.
Iser: reader as performer of text, as musician. Gibbons-diss 15.
Booth: reads for communication with writer. Gibbons-diss, 18.
Check out Stitzel in Gibbons-diss bib–as someone who uses tapes a lot in writing.
p 20: “complex entity we infer as writer.” See Gibbon’s letter (before 5/93). Good on the fact that we really do KNOW people we read.
SELF: even if the self is not unified; the body is: a single coherent organism, but it has many members–in the new testament image:
LACAN. A way in for me. See Caryl Emerson’s CI essay on Vygotsky/Bakhtin, p 31. Lacan retains the unconscious but submits Freud to Bakhtin’s “semiotic reinterpretation” of Freud. Focus attention on the dialogic word. Encourages rereading of Freud in which the social element (dynamics tween doctor and patient) is crucial. See his “The Empty Word and the Full Word” in his Speech and Language (in) Psychoanalysis (1981). Emerson says that for Lacan, the “acoustic image is defined as the repressor of the concept (36). Mirror stage is discovery of subjectivity, doubleness Je/moi. Always pain. Requires repression. Dialogue tween inner and outer is problem for Lacan; is goal and good for Bakhtin. BE SURE TO READ CARYL EMERSON’S ESSAY
WHERE IS MY NOTE ON DOROTHY SAYERS BOOK ABOUT WRITER AND SELF? CHRISTINA GIBBONS KNOWS IT
Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble. About performativity and gender.
Ha, Trin Min. Voice. ethnic women’s voice–as non-unitary I. Book title ends with “Other”.
Erika is good on how we can say one thing with words but something different with voice. Say cheerful/friendly but sound angry; say happy but sound sad. Quote her on middle p 7.
Who wrote the essay about soliloquy and letter in 18th stuff; it’s about learning to talk to yourself. I think she submitted something to my MLA panel but I turned it down. She published in CE or CCC.
DERRIDA Of Grammatology 11-12. Associates voice with “the heritage of that logocentrism which is also a phonocentrism: absolute proximity of voice and being, of voice and the meaning of being, of voice and the ideality of meaning”. Also the “strange privilege of sound”. This from Erika S, p 21. I need to do Laurence’s homework on Derrida.
Earliest Greek writing often in 1st person, giving voice to inanimate things. See Sherri Vanden Akker quoting Ros. Thomas book on Greek orality/…
VOICE ON-LINE ON COMPUTER/ E-MAIL/ Networks &C. Powerful illustrative locus for voice. See Charlie’s “Writing ourselves OnLine”; 2 in Mindweave Davie and Feenberg: R. Mason & Kaye. (Which edited book and which wrote articles?) Also Wahlstrom B and Jobst, “Unser Responses to varying persona in CAI” in COLLEGIATE MICROCOMPUTER 9,3 (1991): 153-58.
Montaigne. Essais. Ed. Alfred Thibaudet. Paris: Galimard, 1950. p 883. “Je parle au papier comme je parle au premier que je rencontre.” (I talk to (on) the paper just as I talk to the first person I run into.” ??TITLE OF ESSAY?? Bill Moebius.
TAKING RESPONSIBILITY as function of voice. Words with voice have the person there; the body on the line. Taking responsibility for what you say. Not pretending that no one says it (passive voice is the extreme). Not saying “this is only inscribed” or “only the culture”. There is a self who is doing these things. Voice is the sign of the self; of a person. No evasion of personal responsibility. “I say this” “I did this.” Bakhtin is good about emphasizing “making words one’s own” even if they came from others’ mouths.
FERN TAVALIN’S STORIES ABOUT VOICE FROM HER RESEARCH GROUP OF WOMEN. Dynamite stories that illuminate the deep psychological ramifications of voice. They could be very good to quote from.
MELVILLE and silence/voice. So many. Bartleby, Billy Budd, Benito Cerino. (Notice that they’re all “B”s–and Babo is the person in Benito Cerino. Ba-ba-ba? (Babel)
Stitzel, Judith. “Hearing Voices: Oral History as an Aid to Reading.” Hoffmann, Lenore and Margo Culley eds. Women’s Personal Narratives. NY: MLA, 1985: 139-143. Students learn to read better if they start off listening to tapes. (I have a 1p summary by Christina Gibbon). Hearing the person behind the text. Brings out the moral dimension of reading: mutual responsibility of writer and reader. “accessibility is not a quality inherent in a work but rather a name for the place where readers and work [writer] meet each other” But it suggests to me paradoxical disadvantages of too complete a reliance on voice over text. That is, if I listen to a tape of the writer I may be won over, but on the other hand, I may be put off by his/her voice: wimp, snobby accent, pompous, lower class, bad accent, mistakes. Voice as body. If I SEE writer on stage or TV, I may be put off by his body–somehow the kind of person I don’t like. Whereas if I just read text that didn’t have too much “voice” or “personality” I could just respond to the content–to the ideas. I don’t have to be affected so much by the “package” that the ideas come in. VOICE INCREASES PROPORTION OF PACKAGING TO CONTENTS. TEXT IS CLOSER TO PURE CONTENT. (Though opposite too: if the writing is hard and I’m not a good reader, I can have an easier time if the author reads it to me–for the intonation and voice can reinforce the meaning–the contents.) This is tricky paradoxical business.
Giroux, Henry. Talks about “pedagogy of voice” (p101 and around there) in Postmodern Education. U Minn P, 91.
Paul Goodman, in Making Do. Experience of hearing your own voice from the outside. His character (sort of himself) is on an academic panel and it gets to be his turn. “And next I could hear my own voice speaking. I was not speaking it, but my habits were excellent. I was the Enlightenment–reasonable, outrageous, not without a certain persuasive passion for the reasonable. I hated my voice. I was so tired of making sense! . . . In a trance of the eighteenth century, I heard myself developing the anthropology of the Happy Primitive. I was appalled at my idiocy. I sat down trembling.” (p 40) NY: New American Library, Signet Books, 1964.
Don Gallaher has 3 kinds of self/stance that work well for voice too: public, personal, timeless. 27-36 in his MS. His transition to “timeless” fits my “real voice” and Barthes in “grain of voice” getting beyond the personal.
In academic community (especially composition) there’s strong resistance or allergy or irritation to any talk about what is internal, private, personal, expressive &c. Why? Any discussion that even smells of these things raises hackles and sets off alarms in many scholarly readers. Even if you celebrate the social or collaborative dimension of what is private, personal, feeling. At heart, it’s an emotive reaction in them. Bugs them. They are reacting to something. failure of 60’s, of feelings? Some kind of disappointment?
The premise of the seminar is twofold. On the one hand we know that language nothing but is a system of arbitrary signs; only children and primitives think that “cat” is the name for cats because it has “catness” in it; verbal signs have no inherent or natural relation either to signifiers or objects. But on the other hand, language sometimes seems to function as though it carried some of the juice or essence or spirit of what it stands for; or at least we sometimes respond to language as though it did this. Poetry is a prime case. (But I suspect we see some of the same thing every time an academic writer uses the totemic phrase “always already.”)
cite Chomsky in JAC: if we were studying adolescence, we would look to biology. Something peculiar in our refusing to look at role of biology when we study language.
even speech is getting more speech like. That is, news broadcasters and commentators for National Public Radio are strikingly more informal and “speech like” than speakers on other stations and networks in their “on air voice”–and have contributed to a general trend toward more oral styles of speaking on radio and TV. The difference is obvious when listening to old broadcasts.) THIS MIGHT UNDERMINE MY CASE: COULD ARGUE THAT I’M USING A PECULIAR AND LOCAL DEFINITION OF “SPEECH”. AFTER ALL, EVEN GABRIEL HEATER OR WALTER WINCHELL WERE “COMPLETELY ORAL”–JUST A DIFFERENT STYLE OF ORAL–MORE RHETORICAL AND CICERONIAN.
Yet having said that, I acknowledge that I do assume a kind of coherence or connectedness among the various sides of our self. When the roles and voices that constitute us lack any coherence or center that holds them together, we tend to experience ourselves as falling apart. When we get to know someone well, we can usually see some coherence to the very disparate and even conflicting roles and voices that they have. Similarly, we also change through the years, but we notice a coherence and pattern and continuity among those changes. When that continuity isn’t there, it feels peculiar. In the same way, our body changes over the years, but we see a coherence and continuity through the changes. We have a physical coherence, even down to the genetic level. It would seem surprising if there weren’t some mental and characterological coherence too. And though the role of culture and convention is powerful in determining our self and voice, research is tending to bolster what so many parents notice, namely that even young babies seem to have a discernible and coherent character. (Babies even have recognizable cries.) In short, this approach to voice is perfectly consonant with a self that is changing and multiform–but it does suggest nevertheless a self that is coherent.
See Walters in RIGHT TO LITERACY writing about “great divide” issue in oral/literate–and how the oral tends to be devalued in literate culture.
Rorty wants to joint with Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and Dewey in arguing against visual metaphors in Western Philosophy that picture mind as mirror of nature and knowledge, and knowing as seeing. (See intro to PHIL AND MIRROR OF NATURE; 8; 13). Text-based approach to language helps with that bias toward seeing and space; voice-based approach helps us see language more as “stories people tell”–language that goes back and forth between people (rather than as pictures of things). RORTY: FROM MIRROR TO CONVERSATION–vision to voice nice: voice/conversation connects humans; vision/text/mirror separates them
SLIPPERY MYSTERIOUS DISTINCTION between ADOPTING A POINT OF VIEW and actually (TRYING TO) BE SOMEONE–taking on or ENTERING INTO a role. I think this is crucial and very interesting–however messy. I think it leads to play theory–and the human capacity to “be.” Has to do with what we mean by imagination. Also with the bodily dimension: somehow we do better at “being” someone else when we put our bodies into it. It also has to do with the nature of “experience” and what it means to “experience” something as opposed just to “think” it. That’s why I’m getting interested in Dewey and experience (and tried to give a paper on it at last year’s 4cs.
Good voice as moral/good; good voice as simply sounding like real you (resonance). Morality vs. Resonance. Plato/me. Slippery distinction between two different oppositions to sophisticated idea of voice: voice as moral and voice as real. Plato: you persuade because you are moral; me: you persuade because you sound like yourself. In both cases there is an emphasis on the real self showing through. Plato says the self has to be good, I’m simply struck if it DOES show through. Plato implies that it always does show through; I imply that it’s an accomplishment to let it show through. Though I agree that–at some level–it’s always there for the discerning reader.
Distinction: understanding or even entering into someone’s point of view vs. BEING that person or point of view. Explaining or entertaining point of view and playing a role. Mysterious. What it is to enter a role. Has to do with play; with experience. When you actually role play, you HAVE EXPERIENCES of that person/view. It becomes you–you it. It’s what we mean by having a view at an experiential level, not just a cognitive or conceptual level. VOICE may be pivotal. To take on voice is perhaps the main way to get yourself to take on a role or enter in–to create this mysterious experience. IE: relation tween VOICE/ROLE/EXPERIENCE (play)
TIME-FORM vs SPATIAL-FORM. From Tao 41. “The greatest form has no shape.” (Lao Tsu. Tao Te Ching. Trans Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English; Vintage 89)
Wayne Booth seems to imply my idea of “whole self” — “mastering all of oneself” as what creates a “reliable narrator.” p 83 of RHET FICT first edition; quoted by Cherry in ethos.
Chapter on time and structure in book. Bring in all good stuff from speech/writing. Time/space. Voice/text. Richard Haswell. Gaining Ground in College Writing. SMU 91. Has good stuff. To be interested in time is to be interested in dimension of narrative and history. He cites a bunch of people who say these are crucial and have been devalued. Burke. Marxist. Brodky and others. I said it in WWP: time is left out. Gets us out of dilemmas of pure logic; solves paradoxes. Things happen in time. Gets us out of bite of dichotomous thinking. Too much space leads to essentializing. See also Derrida in “force.”
WRITING LACKS SEMANTIC CHANNELS OF SPEECH. Walker Gibson made the point a while ago and very clearly. “The key problem that all writers face could be put this way. It is the problem of overcoming the loss of kinesics. The trouble with the written word is that it comes to us without kinesics–no voice-box, no eyebrows. And the writer’s task is to so surround his words with other words on the page that his reader may infer the quality of the desired speaking voice.” “The ‘Speaking Voice’ and the Teaching of Composition.” College Entrance Examination Board, NY. Filmed in 1963; published in 1965. pp 6-7 Kinescope produced by the Commission on English of the CEEB.
M. H. ABRAMS talks about voice in his GLOSSARY in terms I like. Tavalin says he’s been doing it since 1968.
TRICKY DEFINITIONS OF VOICE:VOICE AS INHERENTLY SOCIAL–ONLY A 2-WAY STREET
Tavalin gives good example of insisting on social dimension of voice so much that it excludes too much; example of being swayed by the force of treating voice as a POSITIVE term. (Like “community”: “it’s always good”–but is it; claustrophobia.) She (or one of her participants in her study) treats voice as what happens when someone talks in such a way that the other person is invited to participate.
There’s a tone I certainly recognize–and I would call that voice–when I’m talking with people and I feel like in what they’re saying, they’re inviting me to be part of the conversation if only as a listener . . . . [In contrast] When I hear some people speak, I feel like my job is to sit down, shut up, and listen.” Tavalin; draft, IV, 29.She’s saying that the latter dictatorial way of speaking isn’t voice because it is unpleasant and dehumanizing. I agree it’s bad, but must we trim and tailor the word voice so that it only means the kind of language we like or feel to be healthful or good? Surely not. That latter is surely a kind of voice. Indeed, voice seems a particularly good word for describing exactly that quality of language that makes someone feel they have to sit down, shut up and listen.”
VOICE/IDENTITY: Why does “voice” seem to be used so often as a word that stands for one’s most innermost part? Why, then, does one’s actual voice feel so often deeply related to real self. Something about the fact that it’s a part of the body over which we have so little control; one’s self SHOWS so much through voice. Like blushing; like penis for a man. We have no power over it. We can control even our facial expression better than our voice. It’s simply a fact–and curious and needs explaining. Tavalin has good quotes illustrating it. “Voice and vulnerability” on IV, 30 of 10/93 draft.
IDENTITY CRUX. Who knows what’s correct about identity: correct definition; is there a core self or multiple & c &c. But what is factually true is that many people experience the difference between producing discourse that feels like it is “theirs” and “not theirs.” Some poststructuralists, might say there is no “theirs” there–no real self–only roles. But plenty of people have the experience not only of feeling alienated from their language; but also the opposite felt sense that “these are my words; this is my voice; this is really me talking.” Quote from Tavalin’s diss the woman who said she had a little ghost writer inside who wrote her papers for her; it wasn’t her. Quote WOMEN’S WAYS on the same issue.
Basic writers suffer from ORALITY–not yet LITERATE. Farrell, Thomas J. “Open Admissions, Orality, and Literacy.” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 3 (1974): 247-60. Also I think Lunsford makes the point–?in what I cite in my Speech/write essay?
LANGUAGE/MEANING. Is there meaning apart from language? Caryl Emerson said that ?Bakhtin (?Vygotsky) took strong position no: no meaning apart from language. Strong statement in the other direction from Anne Dalke in her essay about modernist women celebrating silence as site of meaning NOT in language. Also, of course, Gendling. The anti-position tends to be stated as an assumption that is not argued (e.g., Min-Zhan Lu in “Conflict and Struggle in Basic Writing” in CE 54.9 (Dec 92): 887-913. She disparaged DuBois for assuming that you can have meaning apart from language. 903. (But her larger argument is of course strong: that language is often a site of political and cultural struggle.)
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. New York: Bantam Books, 1969. “words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with the shades of deeper meaning” (82). (This is Mrs. Flowers, talking to Angelou as a girl who had retreated into silence.)
DOUBLING/SPLITTING. Robert Jay Lifton on Nazi’s in death camps. “Doubling is a means of keeping the self intact under extreme conditions, thereby avoiding further breakdown of the self, which some Nazi doctors came close to.” 219. (avoidance of guilt; fear) Says that splitting is psychoanalytic literature “implies a piece of the self being sequestered from the rest of the self or from consciousness, whereas doubling implies a holistic self, a portion of self functioning as a whole self” (218). “Doubling: The Acts of the Second Self.” A Mosaic of Victims: Non-Jews Persecuted and Murdered by the Nazis. Ed Michael Berenbaum. New York: NYUP, 1990. pp 216-21.
DERRIDA, OF GRAMMATOLOGY (49) “The thing itself is a sign.” He’s arguing that we never get to the thing itself; no signs are rooted in the thing itself. There are nothing but sings. We think only in signs. in language we are never in the presence of or get the presence of the thing itself, My reply. Yes, this is the case when we think about single signs: there’s always that arbitrary relation. But when we get lots of signs, lots of language, a whole string of signs, sometimes we get presence. We get precisely what he makes fun of: “the thing signified may be allowed to glow finally in the luminosity of its presence” (49). (It’s like single atom: can’t make predictions or claims about it; but about groups of atoms we can make predictions and claims.) Main problem. He wants to talk about language as all/none, either/or situation. What I’m interested in is how some language behaves as he says and some does not. (Barthes has the grace and flexibility and sophistication to talk about how we can look at discourse as text or as work. Different aspects.)
Teaching: making students better. Voice interest tends to go along with the idea not only that you can empower students (by giving them access to their own feelings and convictions–and a voice to make them more effective in the world); but also to make students better people, more virtuous, less sexist and racist, whatever. Quintilian: “the first essential for such an orator is that he should be a good man; and consequently, we demand of him not merely the possession of exceptional gifts of speech, but of all the excellence of character as well” (i,9). Johnson: “Moral character can be learned, Quintilian insists, and the education of the good man should be the ‘first and greatest’ aim of education. . . . Quintilian shares Plato’s view that the orator must develop ‘loftiness of soul’ in order ‘to speak out truly’ and that edification in the ‘way to virtue’ is the aim of oratory” (104).
EXPERIENCE/SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION. Gilligan, 93, xxi, finally has the courage, insight to talk about “social construction of reality that is at odds with their experience.” She’s talking about women/girls discovering this. Crucial point for me. My faith that there is agency; that people can, if they really consult experience, discover some things that are different from how they are supposed to be.
Freire, Paolo. The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation. (Cited by Freisinger). pp 50,51. Literacy process “must relate speaking the word to transforming reality, and to man’s role in this transformation” . . . . [Such learners] will ultimately recognize a much greater right than that of being literate. They will recognize that . . . they have the right to have a voice.” (51). See 50 also. This belongs as central text in my category of voice as authority to speak. (Also Giroux). (see Freire. My pamphlet, “literacy in 30 hours.” )
I-YOU RELATIONSHIP. This is characteristic of voice. Language reaching out off the page and trying to button hole us, grab our lapel, talk to us. We’re not just overhearing a voice speaking to self or to others–it’s louder, talking to us. Most obvious is use of the second person directly. **Not just transmitting relationship, but establishing a relationship with us. The difference between “The cat is on the mat” and “Come here, you.” (Speech acts heighten sense of I-you; certain speech acts. but Palacas shows how his paragrammatic parentheticals also give a SENSE of an I-you relationship. But note that this is only ONE KIND of voice. Resonant voice needn’t establish any kind of relationship with the reader. This is personal voice–the sense of the writer talking TO me. I wonder whether “personal voice” is different from the 4 categories I have.
Spoken words carry their own interpretation. It’s a critical commonplace that texts have multiple and often competing interpretations; deconstructive stance puts it most extremely. We must note, however, that this applies more strongly to texts than to spoken language. Disembodied, unvoiced signs have maximum play of interpretation or meaning. Spoken words–as long as they are spoken in good faith and without the attempt to be mysterious or ambiguous–tend to carry embedded/embodied in them their interpretation. This is not absolute: plenty of spoken discourses have led to legitimate dispute as to their import. But the degree of openness to varying interpretation is radically smaller in speech than in writing.
Students won’t read. Voice/rendering/performing as cure. Obvious; make my own case. But this fact is explicitly observed to occur in a classroom observation with weak high school students: June. Raymond. “Reading and Its Discontents.” Democratic Culture 2.2 (Fall 1993): 20-21.
visual/verbal. Plato privileges visual nature of thought; Isocrates the linguistic nature. See Nienkamp MS 41. Ihde makes same point about Plato.
Voiced/oral language is has more juice. What does this mean? One answer is in Vygotsky’s description of features of INNER SPEECH, e.g., that it’s more saturated with sense (and 2 other points). This is what makes language powerful. He could be describing poetry. (Tannen too says at end of her essay that good writing has MORE voice qualities, not less.). For this point, see Vygotsky T&L 244-7; and summary by Nienkamp, 189.
Ursula LeGuin is particularly clear and eloquent on “father tongue” and “mother tongue” in her “Bryn Mawr Commencement Address.” Dancing at the Edge of the World. NY 1989. Father: “the dialect of the father tongue that you and I learned best in college is a written one . . . many believe this dialect –the expository and particularly the scientific discourse–is the highest form of language, the true language, of which all other uses of words are primitive vestiges. I do not say it is the language of rational thought. Reason is a faculty far larger than mere objective thought.” 148
When it claims a privileged relationship to reality [the father tongue] becomes dangerous and potentially destructive.” 149
Mother tongue “is the other . . . . It’s . . . the vulgar tongue, common, . . . spoken or written . . . . It is conversation, a word the root of which means “turning together.” The mother tongue is language not as mere communication but as relation, relationship. It connects.” 149
“People crave objectivity because to be subjective is to be embodied, to be a body, vulnerable, violable. Men especially aren’t used to that; they’re trained not to offer but to attack.” 151
John Simon, theater and language critic and prissy about precision in language uses “voice” very overtly as the last and prominent word in the opening paragraph of a book review: “With Barkto and Stravinsky, Braque and Picasso, Rilke and Valéry, Borges and Proust, among others, he is one of the fertile and seminal masters, an artist of many modes and one, unique voice.” Rev. of “Images: My Life in Film” by Ingmar Bergman. New York Times Book Review 30 Jan 1994: 7-8. In the same review, he points to Bergman’s insistence on the link between film and music. How people have tended to compare film to painting because of the prominence of the visual, but that really it’s more music; Bergman is always thinking about music not painting; and it’s the link with time and experience.
Rée, Jonathan. “Funny Voices: Stories, Punctuation, and Personal Identity.” New Literary History, 1990, 24: 1039-58. interesting, even brilliant study of how voice is used in writing. Fine-grained, detailed. How writers do what we do in speech: leave words half-in and half-out of quotation marks–get the sound of someone else in the words. Powerful refutation of some of the anti-voice people. –identity problem formulated by Locke: how do we know we are the same person from moment to moment. An Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1690) ed. Peter Nidditch, Oxford, 1975. II, Ch. 27. text as script for performance. Herrnstein Smith: “the relation between a poem and its text” is “analogous to the relation between a musical work and its score or between a dramatic work and its script” p5 On the Margins of Discourse: The Relations of Literature to Language, Chicago 78. Aristotle in Poetics: that a dramatist should “carry out the appropriate gestures as he composes his speeches” p 55 in some translation. Dickens believed it and kept a mirror in writing room and tried out passages. Footnote for this in Ree ft. 18; Hesketh Pearson, Dickens London 1949: 307-8. Quotes Ann Banfield Unspeakable Sentences, 1982.
She’s making ideological case that writing must be seen as nonvoice–case against metaphysics of voice. But he demolishes her. 1050. Wonderful Dickens examples of ungrammatical writing because it is getting voice effects. “The structures of Free Indirect Speech arise not so much from writing sentences that are unspeakable as from speaking sentences which are unwritable.” 1053-54. That we write what goes against “writing” for speech effects. Cites Janacek’s work on speech melody in a late footnote. Dickens too used musical staves. When we try to speak in our “own” “natural voice” we get lost; don’t know what it is; feel awkward. Good quotes. Plato said that direct speech is bad style because it means speaking in someone else’s voice, whereas narrative is better because it means “speaking as oneself” Republic 3; 393a. Article is a celebration of “funny voices”: that we naturally play with our voice and use other voices; written punctuation conventions can’t capture it very well.
And the strict use of quotation marks is the villain here: the attempt to nail down unambiguously who is the speaker/owner of every word–whereas many are inhabited by two voices at once. (Why doesn’t he bring in Bakhtin and Booth and double-voicing here? Seems accepted.) Fades out, cops out at end; can’t quite say what he’s saying. He seems to be saying that our identity comes from having a consistent narrative voice for our lives–but that the narrative voice is a fictional creation–and that it is constantly taking on–or half-taking on–other voices–constantly putting on funny voices. But he implies that there’s a real self there nevertheless. In a way, perhaps it all comes down to Bakhtin. That we do double-voicing all the time. His contribution is to show that this is a technique of SPEECH–and not just writing.
WORKSHOP ACTIVITIES: GILLESPIE; YANCEY–Gillespie; visualizing, embodying voice. Draw it.–Yancey. Take a syllabus and talk about the voice in it.
Bartholomae on voice as authority. “I think that all writers, in order to write, must imagine for themselves the privilege of being ‘insiders’–that is, the privilege of both being inside an established and powerful discourse and of being granted the right to speak.” (Inventing; p 143 in my comp Theo course packet).
FINDING AN EFFECTIVE OR WELL-SITUATED VOICE AND THEN FINDING IT’S NOT YOURS“I did complete a twenty-five-page paper for the teaching seminar entitled ‘Foucault and Productive Conflict in the First-Year Writing Classroom,’ but, ironically, it was a docile and acquiescent piece of writing that posed no questions and probed no problems. It was warmly received by the course instructors, but I felt only disgust with myself for writing it” (397). Nancy Welch, “Resisting the Faith: Conversion, Resistance, and the Training of Teachers.” CE 55.4 (April 93): 387-401.
THANKS TO MARG DAISLEY FOR THIS EXAMPLE: SHE WRITES:In the article, she compares her experience in two different teacher-training, or teaching assistantship programs, and how her views about pedagogy have changed. She characterizes one school’s program as dividing the world “into two kinds of people: those who are with us and those who are against us, the true believers and the damned.” (400). Anyway, it is a good example of a case where someone is being “initiated” into an academic discourse group, adopts the language/voice of that group, and realizes that it’s not her own voice at all, and so rejects it as a stance. Hope it’s useful!
EXAMPLES OF TEXTS TO READ WITH LOTS OF VOICE:Dillard (pilgrim creek); so perky
GOOD QUOTE FROM ME (POWER): I’ve tended to miss it: “words contain not just an explicit message . . . but also some kind of implicit message about the condition of the writer . . . . when the implicit message reinforces the explicit one in some right way, we get resonance and power (180).
METADISCOURSE. See these works in Deborah Brandt’s works cited: Crismore book; Gerald Prince, Narratology; and Vande Kopple, William J. “Some Exploratory Discourse on Metadiscourse.” CCC 36 (1985): 28-93.
EMAIL FROM Carl Glover Mar 26, 94 GLOVER@MSMARY.EDUDear Paula, et al., …voice has always been asubject that I have avoided (style is another), because I don’t know whatit is. Having said that, I’ll offer a thought or too. (Ignorance is noobstacle to “Ask Carl.”) In a previous incarnation, I both studied andtaught voice and worked as a professional singer and choir director. Ithought that would be good training for my career in rhetoric, writingcenters, and short wave radio broadcasting. Currently, in addition tosinging and teaching all kinds of writing courses, I also teach publicspeaking.
One of my main concerns in that course is teaching students howto shape a spoken line, how every sentence has a natural rise and fall, acrescendo and decrescendo, an upbeat and a cadence, a build to a climax. Every sentence is a musical phrase, involving volume, pitch, rhythm andmeter. Song and speech are identical. The written word is no different. In fact, the written word is often the beginning point for both speech andmusic. So people who write must learn to develop their ears as theywrite, because voice is more than style or persona. Voice is music,whether in the ears, in the mind, or on the page.
STUDENT BASHING in Coles, Bartholomae, Baird, Amherst. My Bartholomae example; lots or Coles; Baird/Amherst. Even in HARRIS. 53-54 of his draft of voice essay (in my comp Theo course packet). he takes a bit of student essay (from Sales) and parodies it: sees superficiality there where there might be depth; refuse to read with care. (See feminist care article. The effect of reading with care. ME WRITE ESSAY ON READING WITH CARE; EFFECT ON TEACHING TO DO SO.
FROM MARGARET DAISLEYIn Trimbur’s “Essayist Literacy: The Rhetoric of Deproduction”, he notes that students experience texts as monotonal — i.e. no voice, really. Like Elbow, he notes the separation of orality from literacy. Locates an interesting historical situation – in 1665 – when the Royal Society of London legislated style in essay — basically replacing the “personal authority” of the writer with the “rules and procedures of scientific rationality”. He also notes that a lot of textbooks today are written by committees, distributed by monopolies. Students (through H.S., anyway) do not own the texts they read–have to give them back at the end of the year, without writing or marking in them. They are like *objects* — and objects do not have voices, and can’t be spoken to. His solution: find ways to interrupt the texts, speak them, speak back to them. I think this is what Performing Voices in Texts is all about.
Chazal: “We speak with our lips to explain, with our throats to convince.” Viking Book of Aphorisms. ed. W. H. Auden and Louis Kronenberger. (Harmondsworth, 1981). 15
Daniel C. Dennett uses voice as a model in talking about the ontological status of mind, in Content and Consciousness, NY, 1969, Chap 1, esp. pp 8-18.
Emily Dickinson letter. “A Letter always feels to me like immortality because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend. Indebted in our talk to attitude and accent–there seems a spectral power in thought that walks alone.” Quoted in Thomas H. Johnson, Emily Dickinson: An Interpretive Biography. Cambridge 1955, 51-52.
Plato, dialogues, voice, richness. Burke, Grammar 169: “And the least we can expect of a dialectician, as of a dramatist, is that he speak in several voices.” (Speaking of Marcus Aurelius)
GESTURE. George Herbert Mead talks about language as vocal gesture. In MIND, SELF, AND SOCIETY. Perhaps also in his PHILOSOPHY OF THE ATTITUDE. (He’s also prime person to do justice to dialectic tween self as individual and social. Dialectic.)
Re literal voice. Babies hear voices and sounds well before they are born. Thus our first (and powerful) link with what is outside us comes through sound and voice (before sight even “enters the picture”).
Speech/sound more mysterious than writing. Burrows (in ?SOUND, SPEECH, MUSIC) emphasizes how sound and music have “qualities of temporal liquidity and perfusiveness [and even danger and mystery] characteristic of sound and so of music” –and that written representations of music replace those qualities “with something relatively circumscribed, locatable, and stabilized in time” 106. See too 102,3,4. Same goes for writing over speech. Pure speech is more mysterious and our perception of it more uncontrolled. More control and distance with writing.
SPEECH/WRITING; writing lets you have voice you can’t find in speech. Women academics who “prefer the written to the spoken voice, because in this form they can project authority and influence without engaging in confrontations that raise confusing issues of appropriate response.” From Aisenberg, Nadya and Mona Harrington. Women of Academe. Amherst: U Mass P, 1988. 74. Quoted in Wendy Bishop, “Afterward–Colors of a Different Horse: On Learning to Like Teaching Creative Writing.” In Bishop, Wendy and Hans Ostrom. Colors of a Different Horse: Rethinking Creative Writing Theory and Pedagogy. Urbana: NCTE, 1994: 280-95.
Michelle Cliff. “A Journey into Speech” and “If I Could Write This in Fire, I would Write This in Fire.” pp 57-81. The Greywolf Annual. Latter is great example of collage. See pp 57 and 77 for good statements about needing to find own voice to have power; being stuck with voice of the culture that has power over one. See also her “Notes on Speechlessness” Sinister Wisdom 5.
Example of writing that cries out for voice. “Whatever it is an artifact ‘is’ is here.” You’ve got to say it to get it. Like Gertrude Stein, but here not playful but part of impassioned argument. Elaine Scarry. The Body in Pain 364.
La Rochefoucault. “Nothing so much prevents our being authentic as our efforts to seem so.” Notice that he isn’t denying authenticity; but rather acknowledging its slipperiness. quoted p 77 in Gray, Francine de Plessix. “Forty-eight Years, No Secrets.” Review of Love and Hatred: The Stormy Marriage of Leo and Sonya Tolstoy by William L. Shirer. Simon and Schuster. The New Yorker. 8/8/94: 76-81. passage p 77.
Wilfrid Sheed on James Thurber: “His voice was flat, after the English bird song, but not too flat. Where the English carried modulation to the brink of hysteria, his ups and downs were measured, and a delicate low music came of them.” Quoted in a book review: Lehmann-Haupt, Christopher. “A Book With the Nerve To Use ‘Essays’ in Its Title.” NY Times 26 Feb 1990: C15.
Lessing, Doris. A Small Personal Voice. essays &c.
Beth Baldwin. firstname.lastname@example.org. Our own voice. I guess I’m thinking of this in terms of an aural narcissism more than resonance — an echo. (Interesting that in _Ovid_ there isn’t the story of Narcissus; it’s the story of Narcissus _and_ Echo. Both suffer from types of reflection. Echo reflects upon the sounds of others, a re-voicing of their words).
****ABOUT BARD ANTHOLOGY AND VOICE, 94BOUNDARY TRANSLATION
The seed pearl of this year’s anthology is an essaysuggested by Alice Lesnick called “Nineteen Ways of Lookingat Wang Wei: How a Chinese Poem is Translated,” first 210 lines more (you’ve seen 19%) Message 58/59 From Paul Connolly Page 3
at Wang Wei: How a Chinese Poem is Translated,” firstpublished in Zero: Contemporary Buddhist Thought (1987).Alice has experience teaching this, and suggestions aboutit, says Teresa, but what is first appealing is that theessay presents a Chinese poem, a transliteration, acharacter-by-character translation, various translationsinto English — and, on facing pages, a running reflectionon translation, the point of which is that “translation ismore than a leap from dictionary to dictionary; it is areimagining of the poem.” I think this essay will helpstudents appreciate that texts mean differently to differentreaders, and it will invite them to wonder about translationas a human activity, broadly conceived: About the choicesavailable to us, when we meet another text — or person –and “translate.”
The first nacreous ring around this seed is Chapter 4of Stephen Owen’s Traditional Chinese Poetry and Poetics,given to me this term by Bill Mullen, a Classicist at Bardwho once taught in L&T. The chapter is on “Voice,” and Owenpicks up the conversation begun in the previous text. “Thedistance that separates a modern English reader from aneight-century Chinese poem,” he writes, “can be crossed onlytwo ways — moving the reader or moving the poem. Eitherresettlement must be resolute. We may learn and assimilatea new poetics; or we may remake the Chinese poem to answerthe established literary values of English readers.” As inpoetry, so in life’s other translations: We may move towardanother, or we may move the other toward ourselves.Translation, Owen suggests, is either the most self-effacingor the least self-effacing mode of writing: an act ofdeference or an act of difference.
Owen begins by discussing how and why writing must compensate for the loss of spoken “voice.” He distinguishes“voice” from “style,” explaining why “to identify a voice isnot to recognize it.” And he suggests that “to hear truevoice, we must listen for the irregularities in a text, thetraces of fallibility that subvert our assumption of agoverning plan.” What is so attractive about Owen’s essayis that it “tells all the truth” about voice in writing, yet“tells it slant.” It teaches an enormous amount aboutwriting — without ever replacing the cap of curiosity withthe mortarboard of instruction. Furthermore, looking at thehuman act of translation — literally and metaphorically –would seem to provide a powerfully attractive center for ourreadings, one that crosses all disciplines and invitesstudents to think, from an odd angle, about a centralenterprise of all learning: translation. (How interestingit could be, for example, to consider “translation” of visual and musical texts into verbal responses to them.)
“Voice requires a context,” says Owen. The Wang Weiessay does not stress context in translation, and so when Iexcitedly
told a colleague that we were going to use thisessay, her response fell like ice water on my head. (I haveasked for contrapuntal suggestions.) But the opportunityhere — and the adventure — is not to teach this year’s L&Tstudents how to translate Chinese but to set them thinkingabout the nature of translation, not only as a verbalactivity but as a process integral to our encounter with allthat is different from what we “know.” To think abouttranslation, it seems to me, is to think about knowledge –and life, for that matter.
Moving a little faster, with these two texts we suggestincluding:– Wallace Stevens’ “Thirteen Ways of Looking at A Blackbird”;– “Laughing in English,” an essay that appeared in the AAUP journal Academe (Nov-Dec 1993), by a woman who taught English in Japan’s Kansai Women’s University and thinks about “voice” in laughter and “class” in language;– some of Ezra pound’s “Cathay” poems (1915), “translated” from the Chinese of Rihaku with the help of notes by Ernest Fenollosa (also in previous L&T anthologies)– Thomas Merton’s “ventures in personal and spiritual interpretation” of Chuang Tzu: “readings” that, he says, “grew out of a comparison of four of the best translations of Chuang Tzu from western languages, two English, one French, and one German.”*****END BARD PIECE
Poem by Cavafy, “voices”?; read at Ozzie Klate’s funeral.
“Cixous places écriture féminine close to the voice–”writing and voice . . . are woven together”–but she does not do what Toril Moi claims she does, namely, produce “a full-blown metaphysical account of writing as voice, presence and origin” (Sexual/Textual Politics 119). Her account of a writing close to the voice does not posit a relation between meaning and sound; it does not make meaning(s) its obsession. It is concerned instead with writing and touch. The rhythms of the voice do not have the effect of socialization but simply move us to move with rhythm and sound (cf [Peter] Sloterdijk xviv [Critique of Cynical Reason]). This intimacy between language and the body once again puts into discourse the sense that our deepest relation to language is concrete, material, existential—and rhetorical–not epistemic.” This is Lynn Worsham, p 91 of “Writing against Writing: The Predicament of Écriture Féminine in Composition Studies” in Contending With Words: Composition and Rhetoric in a Postmodern Age. Ed. Patricia Harkin and John Schilb. NY: 1991. 82-104. She is referring to Cixous ’”Castration or Decapitation?” Trans. Annette Kuhn. Signs 7 (1981): 41-55. Worsham writes on the same page that Écriture feminine and Cixous “disturbs the logic of academic language, which depends on a scission between oral speech and written text, by working with the oral otherness of discourse, the nondiscursive possibilities of voice and rhythm that, in discussions of orality, Walter Ong rather abstractly calls ‘the somatic component’ (Orality 67). Cixous calls these possibilities ‘the flesh of language,” which is not a meaning . . . but straightway at the threshold of feelings. There’s tactility in the feminine text, there’s touch, and this touch passes through the ear” (“Castration”).
WORDS THAT HAVE ACTION EMBODIED IN THEM; something going on in present, not just a record of past events. See Palacas for a technical, grammatical way of explaining it. And he has good quote from Coles where he specifies the phenomenon directly. JAPANESE PAINTING THAT EMBODIES ACTION. This from a CD liner/label of Miles Davis record: “There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must pain on a thin stretched parchment with a special brush and black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break through the parchment. Erasures or changes are impossible. These artists must practice a particular discipline, that of allowing the idea to express itself in communication with their hands in such a direct way that deliberation cannot interfere. The resulting pictures lack the complex composition and textures of ordinary painting, but it is said that those who see will find something captured that escapes explanation. This conviction that direct deed is the most meaningful reflection, I believe, has prompted the evolution of the extremely severe and unique disciplines of the jazz or improvising musician.” (from Alex Peary)
Makes me think about the phenomenon of not being able to erase. Notice there are two processes here. 1. The old fashioned, punitive one as when forced to write in ink–or having to give an important oral presentation–as a report or a job interview. The emphasis is on PLANNING: you must think everything out clearly ahead of time; don’t make a mistake. Plan; control. Freewriting and conversational talk are different. Yes, you cannot change, but the emphasis is on “it doesn’t matter”–you can say whatever comes to mind. Maximum spontaneity invited because of minimum consequences. The Japanese process is in the middle. I can’t be planned out entirely ahead of time; there is a desire for some spontaneity and energy; but the stakes are higher; one wants to get it right or good; the paper is expensive, I think. Thus the discipline: not to plan out exactly every smidgen of movement ahead of time, but to “prepare oneself” (and probably plan some?). Thus some preparing and planning–but the paintings don’t work unless there is some flow of physical energy–it can’t be completely steered or controlled. Also, this makes me think of times when I felt oppressed by the computer medium because it makes it TOO easy to erase and change. To move forward, we need an element of given-ness: being stuck with a start to a phrase, sentence, paragraph, or essay–so that the being stuck gives aid in choosing what comes next that follows from the given. If nothing is given, there’s no reason for going on.
SEE \NTS\JORDANJU for quote from June Jordan about everyone getting to say what matters; the truth about perception and feeling; her Poetry for the People course.
Peggy McIntosh on imposter syndrome (Stone House paper). About our sense of when our “authenticity” is violated. Uses it as evidence that we have a kind of authentic self. Get citation. Strong essay. A lot about authenticity. But what would she answer to situation where someone feels dumb and incompetent and so feels inauthentic when someone points out that she’s smart and competent–and she really is. I.e., our “sense of authenticity” is often a construct of what we’ve heard or what the context constructs for us.
Jane Tompkins, “Me…shadow” says, There are two voices but in reality there is no split. (at the end?) Quoted in Frey 508.
Be sure to check out 4c1995 talk–AND NOTES–in VOX subdirectory
History of punctuation is history of moving from breath/voice consideration to text considerations. Punctuation used to be a matter of voice, sound, breath, existing in time. It became a matter of syntactic logic, logical relations, existing out of time in “space” of meaning or relationship.
FAIGLEY VOICE ESSAY (IN HERMAGORAS BOOK)Student essay in Faigley article: how really he and I have the same response to it; but we have different theoretical frameworks. It’s fishy. I call it non-resonant; we can feel something off. I’d say that we can feel that the words are too nice and pretty and don’t fit what’s behind them. Of course we MIGHT be wrong and simply be saying that they don’t fit US–but I doubt it. But Faigley says: she doesn’t look at slums, only at what’s pretty; and she doesn’t examine the constructed nature of the self she is using or projecting. These give her no help in writing about what she wants to write about. They are only saying she should write about something different.
Kristeva: DESIRE IN LANGUAGE, 133-34. Belanoff says its good on how “dissonance” keeps trying to come up into our language.
We can argue as much as we want about the nature of self, but there is a common experience most people have: feeling as though the language and meanings we are putting out are not “us”. Tompkins “Shadow” 173-74 (“feels it is not I who am speaking”); Belanoff 3/5 71 (“working class women).
Dangers of voice/body: disliking the voice/body and not listening to the words. James Merrill liked to operate in Greece and Greek–so that he wasn’t using an accent that betrayed his class. Mentioned, p 57, “Braving the Elements” by J. D. McClatchy. NEW YORKER 3/27/95: 49-61.
Charlie and grad students have paper about their different teaching voices on line–and how they each tend to have different in-person and on-line voices in teaching.
Presence in writing. Interesting essay that has good insights about what presence means. Makes it quite concrete and understandable to broad audience. Doesn’t particularly relate it to voice. It’s an odd, interesting essay. Good insights on presence. But smug and off putting and snotty about students and the personal. Yet sticks up for personal in a certain important sense. Harvey, Gordon. “Presence in the Essay.” College English 36.6 (Oct 1994): 642-54.
2 voices in head. Great example in Fox, 70; also 101.
WOMEN’S WAYS OF KNOWING shows women using AUDITORY metaphors for knowing, rather than visualist ones. (mentioned by Hildy Miller; but no page; no doubt where they talk about voice?)
****VOICE // FELT SENSE. Important link I hadn’t seen before. Resonant voice: the click the READER feels when he senses link tween words and more of writer. Felt sense: the click the WRITER feels when the words match up better to deeper intentions.
Shaughnessy revealed that she believed in felt sense. See Lu’s essay, p 329 in Tate&c,3rd. Lu, of course, hates it–because felt sense implies priority of experience to knowing. Calls it linguistic naiveté.
LOSING VOICE WHEN YOU WRITE CAREFULLY. I was revising my careful draft and looked back at my rough, fast first draft writing and saw that it was better in spots. First the careful writing; then the original, more voiced writing. I’ll stop here with the recognition that high stakes grading is hard. My plan is to look at low stakes grading. This will allow me to circle back, and have some useful help in high stakes grading. BETTER? I’ll stop here for now on high stakes writing and grading. We need it but it makes our life hard. I think I can offer some help. But I have to circle around and come back.
INTENTION AND PERSONALITY OF THE [IMPLIED] AUTHOR–SIGNATUREClassical and renaissance editors need to try to figure out what the author wrote–to reconstruct damaged MSS. Sophocles &c; Shak. Decisions depend on the sense of what is characteristic voice, style, manner of that writer. Bernard Knox. “Author, Author.” NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS 11/16 1995: 16-20.
Mary Rose O’Reilley talks about voice (or being who you are) as disarming the self; nonviolence. Notice convergence of concepts (applying both to writing and teaching). Presence/being present/being there, voice, being yourself, no masks, disarming, nonviolence, silence, attention (caring attention), doing nothing, eventually spirituality/Zen.
The law is based on the premise that we can tell when someone is reliable. Jury members are explicitly told that they can decide when they believe a witness is reliable or unreliable. They get to judge on their perception or judgment.
Barrett Wendell, teaching writing at Harvard in the 19th century, assigned daily themes. “In fact, after several years’ experience with assigning dailies, Wendell wrote that Harvard undergraduates were unable to write with an Inauthentic voice 6 days a week for 8 months: ‘Willingly or not, a daily correspondent must in the long run reveal himself pretty much as he is’ (‘The Harvard Undergraduate’ 2)” (335). Simmons, Sue Carter. “Constructing Writers: Barrett Wendell’s Pedagogy at Harvard.” CCC 46.3 (Oct 95): 327-52.
Susan Griffith is (I think) the person who wrote about Earl of Shaftsbury and soliloquy; speaking to self; and ethos. ?And also about using letters as a form for pedagogy? (But also a man wrote an article about that).
Hemingway, in FAREWELL TO ARMS. 184-5. Famous passage where he can’t bear to say glorious words–only place names. This is really a good, even exact, description of what I mean by resonance. I.e., it’s not that the words are great; place names are literally meaningless: along the normal dimension of semantic meaning: they “mean” nothing, they only “point” to a singular place. But they are the only words that the speaker/Hemingway can allow himself to say with any conviction or stand behind; or at least the only words he can say without undercutting his sense of meaning; the only words he can say without as it were crossing his fingers behind his back and feeling inside his head, “bullshit, bullshit, meaninglessness”); the only words he can say without self-doubt or cynicism. Passage is quoted in O’Reilley book PEACABLE, p 60.
Gabriel Josipovici. I think he has a book with interesting title. But here are interesting quotations from THE BOOK OF GOD: A RESPONSE TO THE BIBLE, Yale 1988, 307,309: “Perhaps, instead of thinking about the Bible as a book to be deciphered, or a story to be told, we should think of it as a person. We do not decipher people, we encounter them. And the closer we are to a person the more certain we will be that we cannot tell his story. Yet we also know that we will never be likely to confuse that person with anyone else, even a close relative.” [my emphasis–look at that sentence] [speaking of last verse of story of Jacob wrestling with angel GEN 32:31]: “…this last verse is strangely quiet. It strives for nothing. It is certainly not “literature.” But, whatever it is, it is a form of words which, coming where it does, brings us more fully to life.” All this is quoted in a NYRB review of GOD: A BIOGRAPHY by Jack Miles Knopf. “A God’s Life” John Barton, NYRB 11/30/95: 7-9.
THINGS I MIGHT HAVE ADDED TO MY 4CS VOICE PAPER
We can argue as much as we want about the nature of self, but there is a common experience most people have: feeling as though the language and meanings we are putting out are not “us”. Tompkins “Shadow” 173-74 (“feels it is not I who am speaking”); Belanoff 3/5 71 (“working class women).
bring in Barthes “in the grain of the voice” (185)
Jacki Jones Royster. 4C’s Presidential Address, 1995. In effect: I claim all my voices as my own authentic voices. We are hybrid people; not just roles. She insists hybrid condition can be authentic. She talks about the sound of genuine within. (IT’S PUBLISHED IN FEB 96 CCC)
Split consciousness vs role
Juliet Kono Lee in Feb essay for course (3). If the resonant voice is partly unconscious, the difficulty is in defining what the conscious, even unconscious devices or strategies are, that writers resort to in order to facilitate the workings of the unconscious dimension. What I have come to believe is that the intention of a writer rests with the conscious voice; the (un)intention rests with the unconscious or resonant voice. Extending this a bit, intention, then, has much to do with a somewhat “forced” intonation, or an intonation that is constructed. In other words, what a writer intends to write about hinges on his capacity to produce a voice for that intent. The (un)intention of a writer, on the other hand, puts claims on the body and its breath for its intonation, and ultimately calls for more of the writer’s presence in the text.
SEE /NOTES/ file for 790 (voice course at Hawaii) for good feedback to Monica and Judith; some important things there.
Edna Hussey (uh vox sem–Hilgers office) had a quote from Coles that shows he was more preoccupied with relation of text to the actual self of the writer than he was willing to acknowledge openly. Something I’ve always felt. I should send him all my voice stuff and ask him for his thoughts. (I wonder if he’d like to write a dialogue about it?)
Susan Hamilton (uh) pointed out good Bakhtin quote on the 1st page of excerpt from him in my Voice Book: where he talks about lack of choral support NOT just as taking the wind out of sails but of leading to odd and different intonations–and mentions, I think, aggression. This fits my thinking better than I’d realized. I’d overlooked this passage.
I have somewhere a note to myself to see thoughts about voice in files “SELFNTS” AND “FEELNTS”. Renamed now?
(magic? body?). Thinking about Hawaiian chants and Houston wood. How they work differently. The inadequacy of the Saussurean model of language as pure arbitrariness. (Need to go back to “symbol” thinking that sounds corny (some of the old critics? Wilson Knight?)) Words can carry some of the juice of the thing. Or at least can seem to. This is part of “voice”. But the emphasis is not on the link to speaker but link to the “thing.” However you don’t GET that link to the thing unless the SPEAKER is doing the dance right–is in a state of grace, intones the words right, has the right concentration of attention and energy. (See my almost final feedback to Houston?)
I’m getting more voice in my voice. A remark I made in my private writing during a recent (96) workshop I was conducting; as I get more perky in my speech.
PRIMARY PHYSICAL TEXTS. PROFESSION 95 had a series of essays on this topic (“Significance of Primary Records”) and there were interesting passages worth noting.)
— “Texts are inevitably affected by the physical means of their transmission; the physical features of the artifacts conveying texts therefore play an integral role in the attempt to comprehend those texts. For this reason, the concept of a textual source must involve attention to the presentation of the text, not simply to the text as a disembodied group of words. All objects purporting to present the same text–whether finished manuscripts, first editions, later printings, or photocopies–are separate records with their own characteristics; they all carry different information, even if the words and punctuation are indeed identical, since each reflects a different historical moment.” (27). From the “Statement on the Significance of Primary Records”. Statement by “Modern Language Association of America. p27-28.
–”The theoretical content of the “Statement on the Significance of Primary Records,” in short, is that texts and their settings are not separable; that all the characteristics of the artifacts conveying texts are potentially relevant to the act of careful reading; that those characteristics can differ even among copies of individual editions;” p 31. from “Introduction” by G. Thomas Tanselle. 29-32.
–”Not only is the text of the novel caught in the materiality of the book, it is also tied by way of the book’s paper, cardboard, ink, and glue to the historical and economic conditions of its production and distribution” (34). –”AYALA’S ANGEL as an electronic book takes on a new meaning when it is placed in this new context, when it floats in cyberspace. It is detached from its local historical context and becomes a text in the context of an enormous and incoherent abundance of works of all kinds–verbal, pictorial, and auditory–on the internet.” (35) [this is what happens when speech is placed in text] –”[it is difficult] to distinguish between the book as an artifact and the book as the bearer of pure verbal information, data, that might be transcribed unchanged and without loss into any form, including electronic, just as it might be translated, without loss, into another language.” (35). Notice how all these guys wax impassioned more for the relation of words to the physical book than they tend do to for the relation of words to the physical body.
See Henry Louis Gates on EDUCATION OF LITTLE TREE (NY Times Book Review). The fact that we get upset at being fooled perhaps counts as evidence that we often know the difference between fake words and not fake. is this true?
see voxbib(new) for Malinowitz essay, “David and Me.”
Barrett Wendell. “Willingly or not, a daily correspondent must in the long run reveal himself pretty much as he is”. 335. Wendell hated most, the voice of an “indefinite anybody.” 337. These are pp in Simmons essay on Wendell in CCC 46 (10/95). (Coles too wanted specific person, unique–even if it’s not the “real” person.)
At biological level; birds; built in voice–yet variations. “Several features of the whistling chickadees on Martha’s Vineyard are now very clear. Most obvious is the fact that the whistles are strikingly different form the hey-sweetie song of chickadees throughout North America [where there is virtually complete uniformity]. Second, Martha’s Vineyard chickadees seem to have two song forms, one on a high and one on a low frequency, and, unlike mainland birds, they do not shift the frequency of their songs over a continuous range. Third, audibly different dialects occur on different parts of the island, but no such noticeable dialects occur over most of North America (17). “A Song of their Own.” Don Kroodmsa. Living Bird Summer 1996: 10-17. (Kroodsma is scientific ?biologist. This is based on very scrupulous scientific research, not backyard speculation. Big authority in biology of bird song.)
Lad Tobin at UNH 10/96 talks about “what is ‘writing’: is it what’s on the page or what’s behind it? Bly talks about poetry as “inside talking to inside.” (where? Tobin quoted him in UNH 10/96)
See handout from Rob LaPorte in Joe Donohue file for examples of his adjusting sentences to get rid of “to be” verbs–and ruining the voice.
Bartholomae using concept of voice simply and unselfconsciously about his own writing. In his “Inventing” 145: he “would begin papers by sitting down to write literally in the voice–with the syntax and the key words–of the strongest teacher I had met.”
Interest in STYLE = interest in individualism. People trying to show their uniqueness; “find their own unique voice.” This is a point that Jameson makes (using only “style” not “voice” as term). in MARXISM AND FORM 333-4–and Richard Boyd quotes him on 163 of his huge bk MS. BUT for me that’s only one KIND of voice–”own voice”. Not audible or resonant or dramatic. Resonant, for example, NEED NOT BE UNIQUE or individual. Might well be communal or common. Can I think of examples?
COPYEDITING BY PROFESSIONAL COPY-EDITORS to remove voice: (functionaries):–”getting kicked out” to “being dismissed.” in “FW Wheat/Tares”
Fanon, White / black masks ? What is implication there about voice and identity. Gayatri Spivak. “Can the Subaltern Speak in the … voice?” Her answer is no. Homi Baba. The colonized write in the dominant discourse, but in own key; parodic element. He thinks subaltern CAN speak in the .. . but in sly way. Wonders, Magic, Science.
PMLA Oct 96 place of the personal
Leslie? Silko. Classic statement. But I may not have it exact; where’s it from? “Where I come from, the most valued words are unpremeditated from the heart”
THESE ARE FILES AND PASSAGES FROM MY VOICE SEMINARSBUT THIS DOESN’T INCLUDE ALL THE LETTERS I WROTE TO THE CLASS. GO SEE THEM IN: 790 (1996), VOXDISC (date?), OLDVOXP (date?), VOXPER (2000)
SEE ALSO LONG FILE “NOTES” IN \VOXDISC
******PETREY NOTES FROM 92 SEMINAR
Essential dramatic/cognitive movement in Austin: (Petrey calls it deconstructive. He deconstructs the opposition or dichotomy.)There’s dichotomy: constantive/performative–or you’ve figured out that there’s this other kind of language different from regular language; it’s performative; but once you figure that out–get that concept alive–then you realize that in fact ALL language is performative; the constantive disappears. It functions like a ladder up to a new level, and once you’re up there, you pull the earlier lower level all up to your upper level and throw away the ladderIE: once you figure out the new concept or make the dichotomy, then …Linguists like Katz and Benveniste are too chicken to follow: they can’t give up the dichotomy
Same movement belongs, says Petrey, in moving to literary language: there’s a distinction between speech-act language (all normal language) and literary language which is just pretending. But Petrey says Austin chickened out in not moving to the new level: he should have realized that the distinction is wrong: that literary language too is speech act language–is doing things.
Petrey works overtime to leave out intention. I don’t think we need to do that.Indeed, he opens the door to intention in just the right way. The crucial thing is what readers/society does. IF readers want to know about the writer’s intention (and readers, by and large do), then this becomes undeniably part of the equation. In just the way that the REMOVAL OF INTENTION became a social act under the New Critics–as he describes so well on p 80-81. (“becomes part of the social praxis”). People wanting to have a relationship with the writer is “part of the social praxis” with many readers.Same thing with Coriolanus: says that intention doesn’t matter–just going through the motions is enough. But Coriolanus mocks people and says the right thing sarcastically. It’s not good enough. It means that people ARE reading intention.
Crucial distinction. Classic battle between language as referential to reality and language as completely cut adrift–as in deconstruction. Speech act finds a middle way: language isn’t referential in a DESCRIPTIVE way–a picture of facts. But it is tied to world of reality and concreteness in that it is tied to the SOCIAL WORLD OF PEOPLE. Language is sanctioned and supported by social world–and also constitutes or shapes that world. But that world is concrete and real and physical.
CLASS: MORAL FOR THE COURSEI want to say the same thing about this course:–there is a special kind of language or writing: performative: it must be performed to be real; there must be a body; and when you write a play, you’ve got to let it go; –but once we really figure that out, we realize that all language is that way: it must be performed; there must be a body attached. That’s the insight we have to apply to all our writing in this course. And our reading.Central insight: (rule 1A) 85: language can become performative only in collaboration with society. For writing: this means we have to get society (readers) to collaborate with us. How do we get readers to ENTER IN to our texts and perform them (with us).
HOW can I have a really simple concrete exercise to illustrate Petrey and speech act theory: make it simple.
*****PETREY2 FILE, 92 SEMINARTO 891L-ers; FROM Peter; November 18, 1992®IP0.400IN,0.400IN,0IN¯I’m struggling at Petrey with you. I got behind last week. I’m sorry it’s hard and that we’re not managing to help each other with it in class. I think it’s worth it. It might be that I should have picked Austin himself. I was moved by the passages in 8 where Petrey (and Derrida) admire how Austin’s style reproduces a speech act approach–enacts his thinking. I chose Petrey because I had trouble understanding Austin and Petrey seemed to give clear explanations (and didn’t realize how much work Petrey is, in the end); but especially because Austin entirely discounts literary language–saying it is merely parasitic on regular language, and Petrey gives us a rich corrective on that. (Also Petrey gives us some free insights on deconstruction and other theory.)Anyway, let me offer here a couple of insights I’ve worked out that I think are useful and interesting. In a way the book seems to come clearest when Petrey wrestles with deconstruction–because he’s so attracted to it: he makes it clear why he accepts some but rejects some for speech act theory (SAT).A number of things come clearer for me in Chapter 7 (in his treatment of the fascinating Balzac Adieu).
He shows how SAT is midway between realism and deconstruction. Realism says language resembles, reproduces, describes, or names reality. Deconstruction (and semiotic theory [Culler]) says language is cut entirely adrift from reality; the sign is “untethered” from the signifier; reality doesn’t count. SAT is in the middle: it agrees that language doesn’t reproduce or name reality–but it doesn’t throw reality out the window. SAT says that language produces, enacts, performs reality. Reality is there, crucial, determinative. Petrey criticizes deconstructive theorists (like linguists) for turning backs on reality too much. (Good slogan: language can’t reproduce reality, but it produces it.)This productive feature of language is obvious when it comes to performative: “I bet” produces the bet. But not till here with his treatment of realism–and thus more emphasis on constantives or descriptive language–could I get the feel of how this enactive function is also true with constantives or descriptives. Finally he gives me good examples: (in effect) women are more passive or obedient; or life begins at conception.
Comparable examples: men are violent; blacks have rhythm. These, finally, are the most striking examples of the main speech act point about constantives (126): these are cases of words that are pretending to describe when really they are prescribing or performing or enacting. “The constantive is always performative” (127). “Language reveals the will of the collectivity.”We can see these examples so well because they are contested: these are “descriptive” “realistic” statements, constantives, where we can more easily see behind them to see how they are performing the will of some people–are “doing” what they “say.” And Austin’s point is that all constantive or descriptive language does this.(However, I’m confused about how far Petrey and Austin want to take this. Petrey says that the sentence “Life begins at conception” is a “lie” (127) and on the next page says that those sexist problematic “realistic” “descriptive” statements about gender are “invalid.” Thus he seems to imply that we can know when something is a lie or an incorrect description of reality. Does he really mean this–thus showing how he is more committed to an objective reachable “reality” and the possibility of true description? Or are these statements slips of his tongue–and he really means to go as far as Fish and say that there is nothing but the linguistic verdicts of communities of discourse.)***Separate point. He clearly wants to go all the way with Fish and the deconstructives in saying that intention doesn’t count.
He acknowledges that Austin (and Pratt) thought that intention was central for speech to “act” (though he argues that Austin’s emphasis on intention was less central than his emphasis on the conventions of the collectivity. I’m for taking intention seriously–and I think Petrey shows how this makes sense. In the following way. He emphasizes that how texts function depends on the conventions of the community. If a community takes intention seriously, then it has to count. And most readers do. But it doesn’t mean that we have to read texts that way; it’s one way.***Chapter 8 leads me to see even more clearly than ever a fascinating mental operation that is central to Austin and to lots of people–and for my thinking. Some would call it the deconstructive move itself–the act of undoing a construct you have just made. I think of it as the “Hey, wait a minute!” reversal move. Look at these examples:–Austin says that language usually describes reality but some language has no descriptive role at all but rather performs reality (e.g. “I do” “I bet”). But then, “Hey wait a minute”: Even the language that looks like it is just describing is really performing–though we have to look harder (look correctly) to see how it is doing this.–The same thing constitutes the Einstein/relativity move. Most objects behave like billiard balls; but a few things (like electrons &c &c) behave peculiarly, relativistically (e.g., changing their mass when they change their speed). But then, “Hey wait a minute”: in fact all matter behaves relativistically–only it’s hard to see these changes in billiard balls.–I was trying to do this in my “Shifting Relations of Speech/Writing” essay.
Speech functions X and writing Y–but wait a minute, we can find X and Y in both speech and writing–depending on context. –Chapter 8 of Petrey (opening pages) has the best summary I’ve seen of some central stuff in Derrida–and here is this same move. Speech depends on presence; writing on absence. But Hey, wait a minute, if we look carefully at how writing works and describe the mechanism carefully (“iterability” &c.), we see that it is also true of speech. Thus all signifying is more like writing than like what we thought speaking was. Presence is a myth.–My summary in my head of the meaning and moral of this course is a lovely inversion of this same move. Writing has absence, it’s disembodied, dead, tiresome, ineffective. Speech and orality are more juicy and alive and full of presence (thus all the nostalgia), “Hey wait #1”: most writing may be tiresome, dead, absent, but some wonderful writing is alive and juicy and carries presence. “Hey wait #2”: low and behold, all writing has a body attached–if only we look carefully enough at it or take the right view of it. This follows from a truism of most critics, e.g. cultural critics, New Historicists, speech act theory, and common sense: As Petrey put it (36), we mustn’t “remove an utterance from the circumstances of its production. . . .”
That is, just like billiard balls don’t look as though they are acting like electrons at high speed, they really are; so too, most dead dull “disembodied” prose doesn’t look as though it’s embodied (it looks as though it suffers from too little embodiment); but really, when it functions at all, there’s a body there at its birth and there at its reception. So the moral for reading is to listen harder for bodies. And the moral for writing is that we can, in fact make our language more “embodied”–we can get more presence or juice into our language. We only have a few weeks left to write the rules for how to do this. But my sense is that we are on the right track: there’s something about the following things that leads to more presence, juice, embodiment in writing: moving the body–voice work; physical gesture; making noises with the voice; reading and saying things out loud; using writing to actually do things to people in the world (as opposed to just fulfill assignments); having other bodies around us as we write, and writing to them–sometimes in the same room, but certainly in a felt community–feeling a genuine connection to readers as we move our fingers in writing–feeling the body on the other end of the line we are trying to pay out like fishing people–some body heat (in short, non-alienation in writing).
What else? It would be fun to make progress on this question.SAT helps us even with magic language. Our naming poems and cursing poems were little forays into magic. Was it “pretend” or not? Speech act theory explains it. Main principle is the same as magic: saying it makes it true. But only if we remember the main principle that language performs only by virtue of the conventions of the community or the will of the collectivity. Thus magic works when receivers believe it. “I do” or “I bet” or “I divorce you (x3)” all work if the community believes it. (So too with “you are dumb, you are powerless.” Gandhi’s insight was no different from the 18th century philosophes: rule depends on consent or belief of the governed; consent or belief can be removed.Notice, by the way, the congruence between this line of thought and pragmatism. Which means we should be reading Dewey and Rorty. Next year.
****HERE FROM 92 SEMINAR: “THOUGHTS” FILEPERFORMANCE SEM 1992
Winnicott relates magic and play. p 47. –talks about sense of whether someone is present–even when they are in the same room with you. I.e., not only can you have presence in writing, you can have absence when someone is physically present –see his 1958 “The Capacity to be Alone”
WINNICOTT. Good summary on p432 of UMass diary book. Berman Murray Schwartz. CE 36 (‘75): 756. Biography, Adam Phillips; evidently good. Also wrote ON KISSING…which is about W; interesting. Talks about using language to reveal and to conceal.
Role enactment as constrained play (Winnicott). James Seitz. “The paradox of role: production by way of constraint. The caged bird sings. Judith Summerfield and Geoffrey Summerfield call it the “enabling constraint” (Texts and Contexts 6), a limit or restriction that serves, in Ted Hughes’ words to “create a crisis, which rouses the brain’s resources” (qtd in Texts 23). . . . The constraint of roleplay thus manages paradoxically both to discipline and to loosen the range of student writers’ expressiveness, for they begin, in a sense, with “nothing to lose” by way of emotional investment–after all, the roleplay is but a fiction–yet they often find themselves projecting their own experiences and values into the role as they might not if asked to write from what we call the “true self.” Role-enactment seems to create something analogous to what D. W. Winnicott called “transitional Space,” a protected realm wherein the developing child fantasizes and negotiates the perpetual task of keeping inner and outer reality separate yet interrelated” (quoted in Phillips 119, WINNICOTT). Seitz, James. “Roland Barthes, Reading, and Roleplay: Composition’s Misguided Rejection of Fragmentary Texts.” College English 53.7 (Nov 1991): 815-25. 822-23.
THE DIFFICULTY STUDENTS HAVE READING THEIR WRITING OUTLOUD. We did celebratory reading at last class: each person a parag or so from own paper. Good idea. But people copped out and mumbled; I had us go around again and read one sentence really well. It was crucial move. My courage; but somehow making it not horrible. Good discussion. Suggestion for next time: START WITH THE SINGLE SENTENCES. Then the readings will go better. I asked Lyle what was different when he read well. He said he had doubted the truth and value of his writing. Now he had to make himself try to believe it–what he was saying and the value of it. Also breathe deeply. Also enjoy each word. Be proud. Also: opening it to attack, opening vulnerability. “You may not like this sentence, but here it is. Take it or leave it.” The mumbling is keeping it invulnerable to attack.
Especially writing and teaching as play; Winnicott. Whole new image. See the paper and review by Tom Greene.
Boal, THEATER OF THE OPPRESSED“. . . by stages he frees himself from his condition of spectator and takes on that of actor” (126). Main theme of the course–and my larger goals: this is what we want people to do in general in life, and what I want people to do as they write–and in particular what we need to help students do as they read. Relate this to Britton: spectator/participant
TWO TRADITIONS: BRECHT AND STANISLASKI; RITUAL AND RATIONAL. Jenny Spencer. Holy theater. Artaud. Rene Girard. (Christopher Innes). Sacred space. Cosmological theater of cruelty. Primal violence, sacrifice, ritual. Ritual tradition (Turner) gets more at ritual, sacred, trans cultural. Ritual: becoming fused, becoming other. Bacchae is central text. Historical story is arguable–whether drama grew from ritual. Audience: fooled or at least they enter into scene, go out of selves (though that doesn’t necessarily mean they are fooled).Rational theater. has Boal and Brecht and Dario Fo. Political theater. Trying to figure things out; use drama to get at or make conceptual points; understanding; rationality. Rational, keeping identity and thinking and distancing. We need not to lose self in experience but to understand experience. Don’t just play self and use memory, as Stanislavski says; you are always playing your not-self; memory can’t be trusted. Also, audience: shouldn’t lose selves in being viewers, not be tricked; but should be understanders, experts. Model is knowledgeable sports spectator:
JENNY: Other things she talks about I don’t quite know how to fit in this dichotomy: (1) Naturalism, Stanislavski: acting as emotional truth, subjective, personal. (2) Schechner and Turner. Performance. All aspects of life understood in terms of types of performance, rituals, rule-governed spectacle. (Turner is more community focused). (3) Blau. Jenny thinks he’s the best. Hard but repays reading. Performance as the making visible of the invisible, of that which cannot be represented. Links drama to issues of postmodernity. Existentially focused. (4) Feminist. Cixous. Alle a la Mer. Shange’s For Colored Girls. Finley’s Constant State of Desire. What has writing (from/of) the body mean? Performing the body? The body in pain? Notions of healing, ritual, trance, voice and culture; re-envisioning of drama/dialogical/conflict etc. via new forms. Feminists troubled by ritual tradition. If drama is always ritual, that means someone has to die–and it’s always a woman. “Laugh of the Medusa”–upbeat. Karen Finley, body. Now postmoderns want both: to have a politics, not just give self over to ritual and mask; but make use of it.
THEATER AS EDUCATION: big movement in England and Canada. Richard Courtney
: Drama and Intelligence. cognitive theory of learning using theater as central metaphor. too uselessly theoretical. Older book: Uses of Drama, John Hodgson; theoretically naive. Dorothy Heathcote is central figure.
-Language as performance is midway in a continuum running from nonlinguistic performance to nonperformed language. See my visual (yellow sheet) that has things clustered around the central term (language as performance): these items: drama, play, rule-bound behavior; ritual; myth; magic; style; human voice (literal & in text); “expression”–expressing oneself; central genres (rhetoric, poetic, lit, drama, prose, poetry); Note, thus, this is not a course about all performance, it’s about language as performance. Pass out my diagram and explain this–on first day.
-Performance can mean many things. (Means everything–all behavior.) It’s a fuzzy term–and happens to be hot now, fashionable; rubber. Performance for this class focuses on language. (So many are interested in theater; or anthropology). When and how does language function as performance. And I have a very concrete and crude goal: how to make OUR WRITING more like performance, more like magic. how to bring person into word and word into person; as writer/speaker but also reader/listener. Goal of course: learn to make nonperformed, nondramatic silent language have some of the force of performed language (magic). Re-vivify writing and reading.Goal of course: to revivify language: reading and writing. Reading: best interpretation is a performance; writing: best writing gets effect of performance.So many performance people are trying to get away from language. (Grotowski and theater people don’t want language; “pure” performance.) I want language–but a better language, more inhabited. So we make temporary moves away from language to come back better. So we’ll do plenty of reading and writing here–where pure performance person might call it cop out.
Body & spoken voice. They main site of language as performance. Thus moving the body and using voice will be central to the course. Spoken language is more inherently a performance than written. Thus emphasis on oral. Ong.
Oral/written discourse. Performing a discourse can be contrasted in two directions: writing it and reading it. I.e., performance helps with output and input. Thus I can do pure voice exercises (Linklater) and voice/movement exercises. thus, you can perform what you write; and perform what you read
Double connotations of “performance”: performance as more show vs merely script or notes–what is not shown; performance as more real (on the job) vs mere getting ready. Performance as a teacher (real thing) vs. “performance” as a teacher–being showy. All “evaluations” in the workplace are of “performance”;
-traditional (oral) literature is always conceived as performance: Homer, Beowulf, Chaucer, Native American lit, legends and myths,
-PLAY: Ludens. Writing as play–vs communication. WINNICOT. Play is space for forming art and finding self. Poetry as play. making sandcastles. (See closing eyes essay). Koch models; child playing with sounds; concrete poems, found poems, rhyme, meter, all are play. They carry meaning, but…. Social play: clapping hands; red rover &c &c.
-RITUAL AND LITERATURE. Literature tends to bring in or embed RITUAL. Rhyme, meter. Brings in body. In a way, perhaps that’s definition of literature. Both lit and ritual take any old word/action but say, “pay attention, this is special.” Though there’s another kind of ritual that is unnoticed such as in rituals of greeting and in everything we do. But in this case there’s another quality that also pertains to literature: that is has shape, form; and usually it is the body that brings meaning–not ratiocination or articulation. Thus, two kinds of ritual: highlighted/noticed/sanctified and unnoticed ritual. Literature is related more to the first kind: that kind of ritual where it’s central to call attention to itself and mark itself as special. That’s true of literature or art. But only in our late culture: in earlier cultures, stories, poems, chants, earthenware pots, pictures: they were taken for granted, not set off as “art”.ritual is source of much/all literature? all writing (all language?) started as performance; early drama; lyric; epic; myths;Ritual/BODY. Ritual persuades the body first, then the mind and language. When it comes to language, it’s the body that works first: mouth, ear, body-rhythmic center. See Eliot on sound: meaning is burglar’s meat for dog;
performance/social, participatory. Presence of audience or listener makes language a performance.
-As if: make-believe. Inherent in all reading, not just performance. Central to literature–what we do when we read: enter into make believe realm, another world. We can do so naively or sophisticatedly. Naive readers and viewers get fooled (shout “watch out behind you”). Schechner seems to think that pleasure principle is root of all performance. Why is it that this kind of participation in literature/story is, on the one hand, naive and too easy; on the other hand, hard and takes leap and sophistication. All reading is a performance in that sense.
STAGE VS. PAGE. Recent criticism of traditional drama being too tied to script/text–to often assume that the real thing in drama is the text; that performances are just “stagings” or conveyances of the “real thing”–which is the script. (Derrida’s resentment at the assumption that speech is a realer reality that is behind writing–that merely conveys it.) Grotowski important in movement to get away from that. Thus, recently, a prejudice against any text or script at all. EVEN AWAY FROM LANGUAGE AT ALL. ELR has special issue: “stage vs page.”
Feminist (Becky Schneider): language is patriarchal; but women can now try to reinscribe selves–in treating language as ACT. Fits Kristeva: semiotic principle that is eruptive language–physical and disruptive &c; compared to symbolic that is just sign-relationship. Get someone to go out and tell us about Kristeva and French feminists: language as more act.
FROM CHEPAITIS ET AL. About “performance pedagogy.” “To immerse oneself in the text as event on some level creates new conduits for learning, makes available more than one option for how to relate to a text, and puts student-as-writer/writer-as-student in closer contact with the reality that writing is a performance for the audience that will materialize every time a text is read. “Performance discourse, in practical terms, helps students/writers own a greater awareness of the meaning and needs of those amorphous concepts “audience” and “voice.” Students who “draw” and “sing” textual meaning begin to see writing/reading as participatory events, and so begin to structure their own learning as well as their own sense of meaning. Performance is a means of knowing and a means of communicating that knowing.”
BURKE: DRAMATISM &c. should be central. His whole point is to consider language as action–theme of his life’s work. Dramatism. He’s insisting that terms from drama should be applied to all language use: all language is a matter of people doing things with motives and in sciences. Also rhetoric as identification: language as bringing people together vs. keeping them apart. But what to read. His GRAMMAR seems a drag. RHETORIC is much more about doing things to people–really about rhetoric; perhaps more interesting. His “Psychology and Form” in counterstatement is about form as arousing desire/hunger and then satisfying it; itch/scratch. Expectations in audience. I.e., about language as doing, as performance. IE, 3 THEMES ARE ALL FITTING: LANGUAGE AS DOING; LANGUAGE AS COMMUNITY BUILDING; LANGUAGE AS RITUAL DANCE OF AROUSAL AND SATISFACTION
Art/life movement. Not separating them: happenings; Tannen’s piece.
Monologues: texts to be performed
Barthes: text as pleasure; juissance; text as more and more, author dies.
Julia Wagner’s essay; analysis of how magic is like our science; has a lot of references; see her references. Her quote from Erich? Neumann (p 13) has EVERYTHING in it: the generative word: implies speaking, knowing, generating/creating. All happen in speech (like “know” in old testament and magic speaking).
Participation; audience; flow
Saussure, father of “arbitrary sign relations” was in fact obsessed with magic of anagrams; how do I find out about that. Culler’s book on Saussure has some.
Freudian and psychoanalytic theory that notices how language (like dreaming and all behavior) is not just meaningful and symbolic, but where that meaning and symbolism always has a magical component–is never purely rational or merely semiotic.
And of course (perhaps most of all) we will look at our own writing and student writing and try to see the different ways in which language might seem to operates other than purely rationally–ways in which language gives the impression of carrying some of the juice of the person or the thing.
And I will not be able to resist trying to speculate on what goes on in writers (and in communities) to create conditions for language to function this way. My interest is just as much in the implications for the teaching of writing as for simply trying to understand the world of language and rhetoric.
The course will relate to my interest in voice–and perhaps voice ought to be the title. For a fruitful way to talk about voice in writing is to heighten the magical dimension: that is, even though we know
OTHER THOUGHTS-Poetry itself is magical language: trying consciously to get sound and rhythm in–something other than mere semiosis or meaning. Someone said that prose is for communication, poetry for communion.
Maybe the enterprise will be clearer if I tell more about “where I am coming from.” In effect, I am trying to get more leverage in my investigations of voice in writing. Till now I have tended to try to get as clear and precise and rational as I can in talking about voice–especially since I sometimes get accused of being too irrational or obscure. But after doing some writing in the sensible mode, it strikes me that perhaps it would be helpful to grasp the nettle and come at it the other way–and say things like this: When writing has voice, it simply seems magical; it fools you into thinking that it carries some of the essence of the writer or that it is “authentically” related to the core of the real person who wrote it. (Notice the current dispute about the Educational of Little Tree.) We can simply just grab right ahold of that empirical fact about the effects of texts on persons and acknowledge that of course language functions or seems to behave like magic sometimes. Indeed language is always trying~ to burst out of its rational semiotic mode. (An example: much of academic writing is magical or talismanic: people “always already” try to use the phrases and tones and rhythms of the powerful people to latch on to some of their juice.) So we can be perfectly rational and sensible–like anthropologists and linguists and simply try to understand that dimension of language. And, of course, it turns out that people have been thinking about language as magic for a long time and we can see what they have to say. (One prime example, I gather, is Plato’s Cratylus).
Even in academic writing I see traces of writers invoking magical phrases such as “always already” in order to try to conjure up some of the juice of the great deconstructive fathers.]]
BOOKS I SPECIALLY NEED TO READWilshire, Bruce. Role Playing and Identity: the Limits of Theater as Metaphor. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1982. PHENOMENOLOGY. Some Chapters: what is theater, what is phenomenology, theory of enactment. Ask Tim about it.Courtney, Richard. Drama and Intelligence: A Cognitive Theory. McGill-Queen’s UP, 1990. Cognitive theory of learning using theater as central model and metaphor. Theater as therapy. Theory of it. Latest word. (BUT GO FAST; JENNY THINKS ITS TOO FACILE)States, Bert O. Great Reckonings in Little Rooms: On the Phenomenology of Theater. Berkeley: Quantum Books/U Cal P, 1985. Looks intriguing; not long.
Langer. MIND: AN ESSAY ON FEELING. Britton says that PHILOSOPHICAL SKETCHES is foretaste of this. It’s about how feelings are embodied in art; I assume it stresses the role of the body; I think she talks about language as physical gesture
Greek lyrics: always the poem is addressed to someone. Makes it 2nd person. We see it in Tintern Abbey? What makes those lyrics have so much voice? Burke: language as “addressed.” Rhetoric implies another person.
Should read T. S. Eliot on the “impersonality of the poet” (?”Poetry and the Tradition”) as sounding board. Opposite idea of the personal.
PERFORMING WORDS CHANGES THEM. Katy Charles, Miami U of Ohio, 9/29/92, reflecting on what we did in a workshop: But I read my poem and though I try desperately not to look at anyone when I finish, my eye catches the remains of a smile on this face, a nod of encouragement from over there. Not so bad? Maybe not. I read it again, to myself. It sounds different now. It’s been performed, transformed, reformed. Its form–is the same; it’s just “out there” now. But somehow, now it’s more “in here” too. It’s my poem, made more mine by offering it to them.”
RICHARD POIRER. Recent book (?POETRY AND PRAGMATISM?) is all about sound and physicality of words. also PERFORMING SELF.
words/music. 1st chapter of David M. Hertz THE TUNING OF THE WORD (SIUP)
read WITTGENSTEIN about GAMES: in PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS. See good brief intro to it in Fischer, Michael. “Coleridge on Wordsworth: The Authority of Ordinary Language.” Soundings 75.4 (Winter 1992): 555-69.
PLAY. Good example in Oliver Sacks’ piece of autistic Temple Grandin. How he saw little autistic kids going through the motions of play but it wasn’t real play: “. . . as I approached, I had seen some children in the playground, swinging and playing ball. How normal I thought–but when I got closer I saw one child swinging obsessively in terrifying semi-circles, as high as the swing would go; another throwing a small ball monotonously from hand to hand; another spinning on a roundabout, around and around; another not building with bricks but lining them up endlessly, in neat, monotonous rows. All were engaged in solitary, repetitive activities; none was really playing, or playing with any of the others.” 108. “A Neurologist’s Notebook: An Anthropologist on Mars.” The New Yorker LXIX.44 27 Dec 1993/3 Jan 1994: 106-25.
NEGLECTED THINGSPLAY: Herbert Marcuse. Marxist slant on Marx; utopian and play impulseTALK ABOUT writing games we didn’t do last time; pass out handout on them –everyone give word on slip of paper; in hat; write poem using all of them (use quote; and question; and proper name) –put opening lines in a hat; everyone write a short poem using someone else’s opening lineWinnicott: call for examples of transitional objects in our lives try to see how these lead to games; poems; cathedrals; art/cultureBadly neglected drama, ritual, “make-believe”, role-play side of theme; no reading of Brecht, Girard, Turner; also didn’t do Boal and JohnstoneHow about acting out two traditions of drama; asking people to enter in to ritual; vs stay outside. Can Tim help me here?
******NOTES FROM 790, HAWAI’I, 96
NOTES, READING, THINKING
DEFENSE OF NONVOICE IN WRITING. Must I be limited to my physical voice and body. writing as a way to get out of it. suppose I’m wimpy or gay–or horrors, female. people are going to discount my message just cause of the body and tone of voice it comes in. or even accent. poet/Greece. disembodied language.
CONTRAST “VOICE” AND “POINT OF VIEW.” Both literary terms for narration in literature. Unpack metaphors. POV; what kind of person or narrator defined as where you are standing and what you can see and can’t see; standing behind someone; around the corner. Some can see things that others cannot. voice. How you sound; what kind of person you are defined as how you talk. Reliable, unreliable narrator. Omniscient. What is the “view” and what is the “voice” of un/reliability? omniscience? Examples of “view” and “voice” of Huck/Jim/Tom; Hamlet/Laertes. (Certain things that Laertes doesn’t see; doesn’t feel. My hunch is that view isn’t so great a metaphor. Main things are not so much what you can or can’t see; as what you do or don’t know; or what you do or don’t feel depending on your “position”–of relationship. (Hamlet lover of Ophelia; Laertes brother.) How do you sound different when you are in a different position? What do you see differently when you use a different voice. Better yet: given being two different people (Hamlet/Laertes) or same person at two different times (different ages or points in the story): what are the advantages or disadvantages of describing that as different “views” and different “voices.”
STUFF FROM FAIGLEY, COLES, GILLIGAN, PARK. But it gets complicated and paradoxical. For even though Park is fighting for innocence and naiveté, she is making it a kind of ultra-sophistication: she makes the case that she is seeing through “plain sophistication”–seeing that it thinks it’s merely “naturally smarter” and consists of “progress”–whereas she shows that it is a construction with particular historical roots and loyalties–and that being smart or sophisticated doesn’t mean that we have to go along with it. And even though Faigley and Coles want to distrust innocence and naturalness (“the noble savage”)–their goal of not being fooled is the goal of getting to the REAL thing. In effect they are mad at people looking for the “real thing”–not because they are looking but because what they settle for isn’t really real.And I have another question for Coles and Faigley on this score. Coles is mad because Salinger pulls off a “trick”: making a naive inarticulate kid actually smarter and more articulate than his “civilized elders”–when he shouldn’t be so smart given his equipment. What about the definition of art as precisely the activity of playing tricks on readers: tricking them into seeing things as real that are not real. Isn’t that standard? And so the girl essay writer in Faigley: she’s pulling off a kind of illusion (not consciously of course)–and that’s a good trick. It doesn’t work on everyone–but must a work of art be condemned if it doesn’t work on everyone? And yet I have to admit that I can get mad if I feel like someone is being dishonest–is tricking me and trying to pretend they are not. I have this reaction to some movies.
Have I just tied myself up in knots. Anyway. There’s a lot going on this week. If we all try to make sense of it, perhaps we can figure some things out.
DISCOURSE. DISCOURSES INTERPELLATE HUMANS. See Faigley 110, 11, 17, 18. Althusser. Classic summary.
PIDGIN. Could it have voice because it’s primarily oral? Not written? Gilligan talks about Afro Am writers drawing on oral tradition (179).
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTION OF REALITY. Gilligan (181 in my voice book) says reality is socially constructed, but that construction tends not quite to fit our experience of reality. Especially for women (since the socially constructed reality is male or patriarchal). Gilligan (182) talks of having rug of EXPERIENCE pulled out from underneath women.
DIFFERNECE TWEEN CONSTRUCTING AND UTTERING sentences.
***ABOUT FOUCAULT. (see Bizzell intro). He says there is nothing transcendent: not the speaker, not “misty origins” not nature, not experience. But he has to BASE INTERPRETATIONS ON SOMETHING. (Stories of what is going on when people use language.) He says he bases it on “a material discourse in a social order” (i.e., layers of power). So he uses “transcendent” as a negative word, but there are always foundations or bases.My position. I want to base my interpretations–my story of what is going on when people use language–on a combination of all. He seems to want to rule out autonomous or self-steering individual or experience or “things”–nature. I want them all (I’m specially interested in experience–phenomenology); but his are good too. For we ARE clearly steered by discourse and institutions and power. He wants to rule some out. Not me. I’m wishy washy eclectic.So my rule would be this. Try to make the best story we can using all bases. And the rule of thumb is this. No fair ruling out ANY of them–except with great reason. E.g., if someone says, “I am Napoleon” or “I caused the tidal wave with my language spell” we discount him. We even discount him if he says, “I have total power over all my thinking and action”; even if he says, “I experience myself as always humble, never angry–never have an angry feeling.”
DISCOURSE. –Foucault? Discourse on Language? –What’s in the dictionary that Charlie et all put out? –Cindy Cannoy talks about the “discursive position” in Lionel’s text–that the personal narrative only gave him one “discursive position.” Where do people learn to talk in these terms.–Examples? Farber (in Tate &co). “But ‘students’, I would argue, don’t exist till we create them” (227). (Also “teacher”) The discourse creates the reality (like “madman” in Foucault): there isn’t a solid reality. –”creative writing” (expository, academic writing). Institutions, powers, hierarchy. Who is allowed to speak. What is higher. Foucault says the discourse determines what CAN be said. Not persons, but discourse. It’s hard to “say” that “expository writing” is creative. Deploys power and hierarchy. Who has talent, genius. A whole discourse is tangled up in the word. Student too. –Lacoste essay about evaluation is trying to take Foucault as lens. Discourse determines what can be said–not persons. Good example in Lacoste p 21. –Ruth Hsu talks of “discourses of ethnic identity”
RESPONSE TO KATHY C: uncle’s funeral. Bakhtin andBCP ritualized words and personal statement.Discourse v voice.but she complicated it. (BCP entered our discourse)–impersonal BCP is full of great voice (king James); even though impersonal; and even though people don’t speak that way;–good example of Bakhtin’s “externally authoritative” ? voice; vs “internally persuasive”; (see my notes? find good quote to include?) Can “make it one’s own.”bring in more Bakhtin
CRUCIAL STUFF IN THE FBK TO MONICA THAT FOLLOWS; (and also something good in what I wrote to Judith that follows that).February 21, 1996Dear Monica,
I enjoy your paper; but my enjoyment is a kind of chewing kind. I have to confess I find myself wanting to answer and respond–disagreeing. I’ll do that some here. I hope it’s clear that in doing so, I’m not trying to discount the value of it. (This is why I love the grading contract: if I disagree, you don’t have to think it affects the grade at all.)
Overall, I feel you making too huge a disjunction between “individual voice” and community. The starkest moment of this is where you say, “If I’m an individual I’m in a room by myself” — (??and by implication if I am not an individual, don’t have my own voice, I’m with others and therefore not lonely??). Surely this isn’t true; I wonder if you really believe it. That is, I share your goal of not being lonely/isolated–not just being in a room by yourself. But aren’t are most nonisolated/nonlonely/integrated-in-a-community times those times when we feel that we have been able to be ourselves IN a group–that is, have been able to communicate (explicitly or implicitly) who I am and what I see and what I feel. It’s the experience of being “myself”–but being seen and accepted.
The opposite–the vision that you seem to imply (but I wonder if you really mean it) is if I am NOT an individual–I’m just a member; I’m just merely like others; I just fit in. This doesn’t seem so pleasant to me. Yes, I fit, but others don’t have a sense of who I am–nor me of what others are like.
Now I agree that this story/theory you are telling IS true in some (many?) situations–i.e., that the story I am giving you DOES break down in extreme cases. That is, if “being an individual” or “being myself” is so different that the group rejects me or sees me as crazy, then I’m out on my ear and I’m really lonely. Or if my “voice/discourse” for trying to tell others what I see and how I think is SO different from the voice of the community that they can’t understand me or find my voice repellent or threatening–then too I’m rejected by the community and I’m alone. And of course these things happen not infrequently.
But to me that’s no reason to stop holding out the goal that I find preferable and not so hard to achieve: namely “being and individual and NOT just being in a room by myself.” (Of course we all get to go and be by ourselves now and then, but I’m interested in your goal–NOT having to be in a room by myself.)
***Let me say it a different way (and get at different parts of your paper). I see your goals as these: –being a member of a communities–not being in a room by oneself–knowing how to function well in communities–even down to simply writing papers that history teachers like–thus, knowing how to use the discourse of various groups; how to switch discourses.
I share these goals. But you imply that there is a necessary conflict between them and “having one’s own voice”–or “having a resonant voice.” This, I think is the problem. I think you are characterizing “having a resonant voice” in too simple a way–a wrong way; and frankly, as for me, I pretty much reject the goal of “having one’s own voice.” (In my essay. Perhaps not “reject it” but I talk about how creative writers and others often suffer from the “lust to have “your own” voice; how yes, it’s possible and nice (and often just happens) but dangerous to take as a goal.)
The crux point perhaps is where you talk about messy private freewriting as a place where one has “resonant voice.” I wouldn’t say that. I think there may be good flashes of it in that messy writing; but often it’s a mess and fully of junk–and clichés and other voices one uses.
The REAL CRUX for me is that there is NO DIFFERENCE between resonant voice and voice that fits ANY discourse community–even the constraints of a very uptight history teacher. Resonance is when you get yourself BEHIND or UNDERNEATH the language–whatever language. Remember all those places where I say there are NO DESCRIBABLE TEXTUAL CHARACTERISTICS of resonant voice: it is not more “personal” or messy or full of “I” or references to feeling or whatever. It is just resonant.
In other words, again, you are painting an either/or conflict: EITHER I have language that fits a discourse community OR I have my own or resonant voice–I can’t have both. I think that’s wrong; that paints us into a limiting box.
Now I admit that I think we can get to resonant voice quicker (and even audible voice) by inviting private writing, personal writing, messy writing. But these are not the same as the goals. And I think people can make the “click” into the various voices of various discourse communities BETTER as they explore various voices that come out when they just don’t try to fit in. And perhaps more important–or coming at it from the opposite direction: I think it’s useful to practice role-playing and trying to take on various voices of various discourse communities–to try for maximum diversity of voices. Not ONLY for the good practical practice that it is; but even for the goal of fishing for resonance (or–if you want one–fishing for “your own voice”).
In short, I think you are painting a sadder picture than necessary: a picture of the need to ONLY try to write in voices as defined by communities–feeling like that goal will be sabotaged if we give people time to write in different voices or fool-around voices or personal voices–to bring out SIDES of their voices that they feel are left out when they try to FIT their writing to a discourse community.
I’m trying to think things through here and I feel like I can say it better now: I don’t think a personal voice or freewriting voice is INHERENTLY resonant or “one’s own” than, say, an impersonal academic voice. I’m seriously insisting that the most personal and the most impersonal academic voice can be EQUALLY resonant (and perhaps even equally one’s own). BUT THEN WHY ALL THIS OBSESSION WITH FREEWRITING? The reason is this. I think it’s easier and quicker for most people to GET resonance into freewriting than into impersonal academic writing. In other words, I’m looking for people to have the experience of feeling a FIT between their words and themselves. The feeling of resonance. I think I can lead them to that feeling quickest with freewriting and personal writing. But the goal is NOT freewriting and personal writing; it’s the experience of fit. And once they have that fit, then they can move much more quickly to getting the same thing with impersonal academic writing. They can move quicker toward getting the self INTO words–even when the words are impersonal academic words.
Finally, that seems to me clear. I probably haven’t said it so clearly before. I think I have probably been guilty of implying that the goal is freewriting and personal writing. A mistake. BUT not a mistake up to a point. That is, insofar as personal writing is felt as “dumb” and “unintellectual” and “uncognitive”–I will fight for it. But I have to be clearer about that distinction I’ve just made.
Also, I think many people (many teachers) get so EXCITED at the experience of using personal and freewriting and then managing to get themselves INTO it and thus the experience of resonance–the experience of not feeling LEFT OUT OF ONE’S OWN WRITING–that they (we?) have made the mistake of saying that it’s the GENRE or STYLE that is the goal–not the RESONANCE itself–which can occur in any genre or style.
Anyway, Monica, these are the thoughts that your paper led me to have. I’m sorry if it feels like I just turned into a raving maniac. I hope it can be of SOME use to you.
***Final note. I can’t resist asking you–in a quiet voice–about your voice. It’s a touching little story about your learning to have a strong voice. I’m curious whether you would use the phrase “your own voice” for this strong voice. Does it feel to you like it “fits” you completely or not quite? Or do you simply reject my question and say, “there’s no such thing as “my voice”–only various ones–and this is a prominent one.” What I’m asking about is your experience of self and experience of voice.
Thanks for writing a stimulating paper. And let me say that I acknowledge how deeply entrenched (and invested) I am in my train of thought. So I acknowledge how MUCH BAGGAGE I bring to my reading of your paper. But let me stress again that what I’m trying to say in my efforts here (un-revised) is not just “no” but rather, “I embrace your goals (membership in a community; learning to write community discourse)–and I think you have set up overly either/or barriers between those goals and some of these other things (like feeling oneself at home in one’s language, making a mess, freewriting, &c &c)best, Peter
February 21, 1996Dear Judith,
Well, you get tired and cop out at the end (“hey, it’s just magic”), just when you had the ingredients for putting things together into a conclusion that could have been complex and sophistication. But I’m not complaining (just trying to make you feel bad?), cause I enjoy your paper a lot and it seems to me you do a good job–do important work. (In a way it’s even a change of voice and body at the end: where you were sitting forward engage in energetic serious struggle–but also moving around and making little flourishes and having good dollops of irony &c thrown in; you shift to a sitting back, throwing up your hands, and adopting a kind of “Hey, who made the Leviathan buddy?” adaptation of the voice from Job.
(But I’m just having fun here; you can skip all that.)
So many good things here to put together. Your “lack of control” theme is interesting. It’s what they mean, I think, by the Althusser concept of “interpellation”–being called. Really, you are making an extremely sophisticated complex case here: a definition of self as having lots of dimensions; and definitely a socially constructed SIDE to it. So, as you demonstrate right from your first paragraph (but run away from bluntly asserting) you are “socially constructed”–UP TO A POINT. It’s an important admission to make–so we don’t lose ourself in endless either/or games. And so the “social construction” has power over you. And you show how it’s power is most nakedly evident as you enter the role of teacher. A “voice” interpellates you and you talk that way–and “are” that kind of person–(up to a point). Why deny it. (You aren’t in the “showing” part of your essay, on in the “telling” part.)
Also you do such a good job of showing how the self (you) has all these different SIDES or angles. So you can recognize yourself in “Lane”–and recognize your voice to different degrees. And similarities are real and important; but not complete.
But if you would pursue or put together all this precision and incisiveness you have here, you would have a lovely picture/story/theory of self that really does justice to all sides of things. For of course you DO get to choose sometimes. (And one of the main bases of that choosing is to NOTICE when you are being robotized or constructed–when the shoe pinches a bit.) In short, humans can be MORE fully robotized, interpellated–or LESS fully so–and it depends on a lot of things. Choice and attention among other things.
***About your writing–and being unable to “get it exact.” Let me urge you to look again at the Gendlin–and be more conscious in doing “felt sense” exercises in trying to get at these things in your fiction: write a passage–then try to sum up what you are getting at in a phrase or so–and then consult your felt sense asking “is this right”–and listen for a “shift”–and let that move you on to another burst of writing–and do the same thing–until you get to the place where when you consult felt sense, finally you can say, “Yes, that’s it.”
***p4–parag with a star. I now recognize this as characteristic of you. That is, at first I wanted to quarrel with you, “No.” But then I heard/felt that voice of yours: you overstate things with a slight push into FAINT irony or parody–so that the underneath message is saying, “Yes, I know this isn’t really what I mean, but it’s close, and the wrongness is kind of fun too.” This is why people sometimes misinterpret you (extreme case being those class notes that —– wrote about you).
Anyway, thanks. Seems to me that you are doing the important thinking and observing and articulating here; but (if it matters to you on theoretical grounds) you could SUM UP with more precision the results of your thinking and observing and articulating.
“YOUR OWN VOICE” PREVALENT VOICE–RECOGNIZABLE AND EVEN DISTINCTIVE; VS REAL VOICE OR ONE’S OWN VOICE OR RESONANT VOICE.Limiting case. Someone who never used own real voice for whole life. Always timid, for example, always whining. Never strong, never angry, never solid. But there was that strength and anger there all the time. Story of Juliet’s mother. After her husband died, she talked differently–more power or juice than had ever shown. RC theory: a pattern: it’s characteristic, it takes over, it’s recognizable. But it’s not the real person. (Me with angry.) But this is amazing. What is the test of what is real? How can one say that a voice used only 1% of the time is real than a voice used 99% of the time. Partly it’s a question of the speaker/author: does the author feel, “finally this is who I am–even though I’ve never dared use this voice before.” But the speaker can be mistaken. I tend to feel my whining unhappy yucky voice is my “real voice” because I was never allowed to use it and it’s such a relief finally to do so. But now I think that’s not true. So sometimes a really knowledgeable outside observer can know better than the person. In short, there is no definitive test; there will always be arguments. And this leads to BASIC EPISTEMOLOGICAL QUESTION. Does the absence of a definitive test mean there is no right answer? Your answer really depends on your epistemological preference. We have our choice of two models for talking about this situation. Different observers are looking at a bird and they disagree about it. (1) They are arguing about what color it is–but they are each having to look at it through a different screen or filter and they have no way of knowing what filter they have. In short, there is a correct answer as to what color the bird is–but these observers will never know which is right. (2) They are arguing about whether it is beautiful or ugly. In this case there IS no correct answer: it depends on your taste for beauty. POLANYI VS RELATIVISTS
*****NPR SAMPLE OF VOICES (96, HAWAI’I)
A RADIO NEWS STORY
From National Public Radio News in Washington, I’m Corry Flintoff (?). One day after balanced budget talks were put on hold, lawmakers are giving very different assessments for prospects for reaching an agreement. Some are expressing strong doubts that the talks will succeed. NPR’s Peter Kenyon reports:
[Kenyon] Divergent views on the budget cut across party lines. House Speaker Newt Gingrich said the budget stalemate could last till November, sending stock prices tumbling. Soon after, Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole said negative comments aren’t helpful with talks possibly resuming next week.
[Dole] Between now and then, our attitude should be positive. We should be trying to find ways to come together. Maybe we can, maybe we can’t. There are some fundamental differences.
On the prospects for success, Dole said, “Is it doubtful? Probably. Is it possible, yes.” Democrats were not in a positive mood. House minority leader Richard Gephardt said the main impediment to an agreement is the GOP’s insistence on what he called an excessive tax cut for the wealthy. He said too many Republicans would rather have a tax cut than a balanced budget. I’m Peter Kenyon at the capital.
*******THE START OF A LONG FEATURE STORY FROM ALL THINGS CONSIDERED… Music …
[female voice–Linda Wertheimer] The Calgene Tomato. It lasts longer on the shelf, but sales are disappointing. Just ahead on NPR’s All Things Considered…. Music …
This is All Things Considered. I’m Linda Wertheimer.
And I’m Robert Siegal.
The first genetically engineered food for sale in American grocery stores, a variety of tomato that is supposed to stay fresh longer, has so far been a commercial bust. The company that developed it, Calgene of Davis California, has been losing millions of dollars. Analysts say Calgene’s problems should be a lesson for any bio-tech company that wants to get into the agriculture business. NPR’s Dan Charles reports.
From the beginning, Calgene’s tomato attracted a lot of attention. It was the first vegetable in the grocery store that contained a new, artificially created gene, and company executives promised a revolution in the grocery business. They still do. Roger Sallust is Calgene’s chief executive:
We’re not out trying to, you know, sell a million dollars’ worth of this or a million dollars’ worth of that. We’re out trying to change the, the one of the larger industries, uh, in the United States that has so far been immune to the progress of the twentieth, the late 20th century.
Calgene’s idea was this. If they could get a tomato into the grocery store in the winter time that really tasted like a fresh tomato, consumers would spend whatever it cost to get it. Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a place where you can grow tomatoes year round, most tomatoes you find in a store in winter were picked hundreds of miles away, green and rock hard, so they could be shipped all the way to Chicago or Philadelphia. That’s why they taste so awful. Using biotechnology, Calgene’s scientists found a way to make a ripe tomato last longer. They created an artificial gene. They called it the “flavor saver gene” and spliced it into the tomato. . . . [and so on. A very long story. Lasted something like 15 minutes]
***Nancy Sommers talks about voice in academic writing; not either /or. She criticizes earlier essay (“Revision Strategies of Student Writers and Experienced
Adult Writers” _College Composition and Communication_ 31.4 (December1980): 378-88) for having wimpy voice. Does this in “Between the Drafts,” also in _CCC_ (1992)–but page refs. below are from _The Writing Teacher’s Sourcebook_, 4th ed. Ed. Corbett, Myers, and Tate. New York: Oxford, 2000. 279-85.
“I must bring a voice of my own. I must enter the dialogue on my own authority, knowing that other voices have enabled mine, but no longer can I subordinate mine to theirs” (284)She observes the presence of “an inherited academic voice. . . that anemicresearcher, who set herself apart from her most passionate convictions. . . I simply wasn’t there for my own talk” (282). While she acknowledges “allthe voices I embody” and doesn’t want to deny the findings of her earlyresearch, she (like so many other scholars these days) challenges theeither/or proposition in university writing–”Either I be personal *or* Ibe academic” (is this in her essay?) –wants students “not to write in the persona of Everystudent . . . to an audience they think of as Everyteacher. . . butrather to write essays that will change the academy” (284-85). She wantsto help her students negotiate the tricky terrain between citing existingauthority and establishing their own, claiming that “it is in the thrill ofthe pull between someone else’s authority and our own, between submissionand independence, that we must discover how to define ourselves” (285).Vox 7
STARTING June 3, 2000
Brown, Lyn Mikel and Carol Gilligan. Meeting at the Crossroads: Women’s Psychology and Girls’ Development. NY: Ballantine, 1992. Contains their “Listening Guide” about listening to interviews in aural form–four times, listening for different dimensions. Of the various Gilligan books, this might have the most explicitly about voice (except for Gilligan’s intro to the revised In A Different Voice that I’ve printed in my collection, Voice and Writing.) THIS PASSAGE:Voice is central to our way of working–our channel of connection, a pathway that bring the inner psychic world of feelings and thoughts out into the open air of relationship where it can be heard by oneself and by other people. The physicality of voice–its sounds, resonances, vibrations–gives our work its naturalistic grounding . . . . Voice, because it is embodied, connects rather than separates psyche and body; and because voice is in language, it also joins psyche and culture. Voice is inherently relational–one does not require a mirror to hear oneself–yet the sounds of one’ voice change in resonance depending on the relational acoustics: whether one is heard or not heard, how one is responded to (by oneself and by other people). (20)Brown/Gilligan listen to tapes aurally rather than just transcribing. This is a really important point. In methodology for qualitative research, it tends to be doctrine that you are supposed to work from transcripts, not just listen. They are saying listening is better.
IN RESPONSE TO KD MAYNARD’S VOICE SEM PAPER, 6/00. EXAMPLES BELOW–Page 5. This is where I first became conscious of your use of the phrase “I believe” (twice on this page); and not infrequently in subsequent pages. (Also “I maintain” and such like.) I suspect you are aware of these; I somehow sense that you had to make a choice to use these locutions–even that you were a little ambivalent about it. From my reading, they get slightly in the way–though I know that it’s not so easy just to skip them and make pronouncements that it’s hard to be certain of. Nevertheless, I think they add a slight note of hesitancy: a kind of feeling of, “It seems this way to me, but I may be wrong.” But perhaps you intend them with another “sound”: a kind of strong ringing declaration of faith? Interesting issue. For me it’s a very concrete example of something that affects (to my ear) “authoritative voice.” In a strong paper with no lack of authority, these FEEL like little faint weakenings. But, in saying that I want to acknowledge two things:–the subjectivity of one’s hearing. (I’m curious how you and others hear them)–the fact that authoritative voice is not necessarily always the goal. I can imagine you feeling with great conviction: “I refuse to try to sound authoritative and confident in an area where I don’t have those feelings.” (Nevertheless, in writing what I just wrote, a paradox occurs to me: I think it is possible to HAVE authoritative voice in saying, “Damn it, this is NOT a matter for certainty and I REFUSE to pretend to be certain.”)EXAMPLES (P 5). “I believe strongly that voice resides within and emanates from the speaker, but it cannot be considered apart from the partnered entity that is implied.” And later on page: “I believe listening–active listening–plays a role in the detection (and perhaps formation) of voice.”
DOES VOICE JUST A MATTER OF AUDIENCE? CAN WE TALK ABOUT VOICE IN A MESSAGE ONLY IN TERMS OF SENDER–APART FROM RECEIVER? (This passage also from my response to KD Maynard.)–p 5. You raise the important distinction between focusing on the sender or the receiver of words. It’s important and helpful that you do this–and well. Much confusion or disagreement comes from failing to do that. And yet in that very passage there’s a FURTHER distinction that I think is important to make. When you talk about the effect of the receiver or listener, I see two very different issues: (1) The brute question of what the listener can and can’t hear: there is no voice in language for a listener who cannot hear it. This is an issue of “pure” listener. (2) The effect of the listeners stance and supportiveness and empathy BACK on the speaker. In this case, the listener is actually CHANGING the “amount of voice” in the message. In the first case, the listener has no effect at all on what’s actually in the message. I’m quibbling here. You DO mention the difference. But I just talk about it because I think it’s important. Because so many people are troubled by my talk of voice as a function of what’s “in” the message–what the speaker/writer did–apart from readers–they mix up #s 1 and 2 above–thinking that its ONLY speakers that determine voice. I want to say that in the case of #2–even when listeners actually do determine the voice in a message, that nevertheless the voice is IN the message–not just in the listener; and that the SPEAKER/WRITER did create that message and the power of it has to do with the resonance in the speaker/writer–even though a listener played an empowering role.
Joyce, Michael. Othermindedness: The Emergence of Network Culture. Ann Arbor: U of Mich P, 2000. Here is Teresa Stores talking about it in her draft of 6/00. Michael Joyce says that new theories of identity in “our experience of the emergence of network culture” must be grounded in the body. He believes that “the value of our presence as human persons in real place continues as a value not despite but because of the ambiguity of virtual spaces. Our embodiment graces actual and virtual space alike with the occasion for value” (4). (p 9 of stores.)
GIVING TEXT–literally with voice.Hawkes, Voice project (see my bib). Great activity of getting student to recite Shakespeare sonnet in various ways. First plain–and it didn’t work. Then to someone who’d suffered a loss–as consolation; then thinking of a lovely place/memory of own; then look directly at audience and “give it.” I need to work on this more.
RESPECTED CRITIC USING VOICE METAPHOR.“Internally, a bargain had been struck, and as is dependably the case when an artist fixates on a style, various potentialities were lost as well as gained when Wilbur found his lifelong voice.” Later–implying choice: “That Wilbur, in fashioning a voice for himself, chose well and wisely is reaffirmed with the appearance of Mayflies.” Later he speaks of “new variations [that] extend and enrich the old Wilbur music.” Leithauser, Brad. “Gaiety Redeemed.” Rev of Mayflies: New Poems and Translations by Richard Wilbur. New York Review of Books 29 June, 2000: 59-60.
EMILY DICKINSON:“. . . but the power lies in the THROAT–pleading, sovereign, savage–the panther and the dove! (L948)
“for the voice is the Palace of all of us, ‘Near, but remote’ (L 438) taken from Erika S’s essay about her letters and voice
GREEK FOR VOICE: “phoneo” (long horizontal accent over both ‘o’s)
FROM JIM HARTLEYS WORK:–Woolls D and Coulthard R. M. (1998) “Tools for the Trade” FORENSIC linguistics: THE INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF SPEECH LANGUAGE ADN LAW 5 (1): 33-57–Levy C. M. and Randsdell S. (1996) “Writing Signatures.” in Levy C. M. and Ransdell S (eds) THE SCIENCE OF WRITING, Mahwah NJ: Erlbaum: 149-161.–Coulthard R. M. (2000) “Whose Text Is It? On the Linguistic investigation of Authorship.” Paper available from the Author. Pennebaker, James W. and Laura A. King. “Linguistic Styles: Language Use as an Individual Difference.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 77.6 (1999). 1296-1312. It’s about how “language can be shown to be a reliable individual difference”–even across writing instructions and topics. That is, they took lots of writings by different groups–almost freewriting by college students in psych course, published abstracts by eminent psychologists, daily writing by substance abuse inpatients. They ran the writing through complicated machines that record lots and lots of factors that a machine can record–and showed that these measurable factors stayed the same for the same writers: that people’s machine-read prose styles were consistent. Very technical.(Pennebaker is the quantitative white-coated psychologist who did all those experiments showing (conclusively–with careful control groups and many replications) that one or two freewrites about painful emotions had measurable health benefits: improvements in immune system, skin conductance, fewer visits to health centers for 12 months.)
Ivanic, R. (1998). WRITING AND IDENTITY: THE DISCOURSAL CONSTRUCTION OF IDENTITY IN ACADEMIC WRITING. Amsterdam, John Benjamin.
Schmidt, Lee Eric. Hearing Things. About enlightenment movement toward vision–and how hearing was taken more seriously earlier. People believed things they heard. Spirituality.
Frost, Robert. “. . . Getting the Sound of Sense.” Poetry and Prose. Ed. Edward Connery Latham and Lawrence Thompson. NY: Holt, 1972. 258-63.
Croll, Morris W. Style, Rhetoric, and Rhythm. Ed. J. Max Patrick, Robert O. Evans, with John M. Wallace and R. J. Schoeck. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1966, rpt. Woodbridge, CT: Ox Bow, 1989.
Fish, Stanley. “Literature in the Reader: Affective Stylistics.” in IS THERE A TEXT IN THIS CLASS:.
Kristeva, Julia. LA Revolution du Language Peetique. Paris: Editions du Seuil, 1974. Trans Margaret Walker as Revolution in Poetic Language. NY: Columbia UP, 1984.
Foley, John Miles. Ed. Teaching Oral Traditions. MLA 1998.
Mittlefehldt, Pamela Klass. “A Weaponry of Choice: Black American Women Writers and the Essay.” Politics of the Essay: Feminist Perspectives. Eds. Ruth-Ellen Boetcher Joeres and Elizabeth Mittman. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1993. 196-208. Quoted in Comfort, Juanita Rodgers. “Becoming a Writerly Self: College Writers Engaging Black Feminist Essays. CCC 51.4 (June 2000): 540-59. On importance of “edge” and power of voice for black writers.
Goode, David. A World Without Words: The Social Construction of Children Born Deaf and Blind. Temple UP, 1995 (4?). Observing, teaching 2 children deaf blind and retarded.. Argues that humans without language can understand and communicate.
READING ALOUDT.S. Eliot. “Speak the word, speak the word only.” Quoted in Alan Bennett’s WRITING HOME. NY: Random House, 1994. p 354. Bennett goes on. ®IP1IN,1IN¯I think too of services caught by chance, sitting on winter afternoons in the nave of Ely or Lincoln and hearing form the (so-called) loudspeaker a dry, reedy, unfleshed voice taking evensong. And one was grateful that the voice was without feeling–no more emotion than from an announcer giving the times of the departure of trains: the words themselves so powerful that they do not need feeling injected into them, any more than poetry does. Or, as T. S. Eliot said, who had that style of delivery himself, . . . .
A History of Sound in the Arts. MIT.Discourse as Performance, Michale Issacharoff. Routledge, 1999. (161 pp)Space Between Words: The Origins of Silent Reading. Paul Saenger. Routledge, 1997 (500 pp).Analyzing the Different Voice: Feminist Psychological Theory and Literary Texts. Eds. Jerilyn Fisher and Ellen S. Silber. Rowman Littlefield, 1998.Gender Voices. Graddol and — Swan. Treatment of physical voice (men’s deeper) and looks as though it tries to deal with all aspects of voice.
Bartholomae talks about reading out loud as an easy way to fix errors in his “Errors and Expectations” (in Tate & C.)
“Roz Ivanic’s focus on the discoursal construction of self aligns her with social constructionism, but she resists that label, and in fact parts ways with that view in several significant ways.” Tom Batt’s paper, p 10. “Recognizing Personal and Academic Discourses.” 2/01. He quotes her: “The idea of a writer conveying themselves ???–intentionally and not–through their writing is not incompatible with the social constructivist view, but complements it” (97). “Unintentional expressions of identity pervade all human action . . . no writing is ever ‘impersonal’” (100). Ivanic, Roz. Writing and Identity: The Discoursal Construction of Identity in Academic Writing. Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing, 1997. Also “I is for Interpersonal: Discoursal Construction of Writer Identities and the Teaching of Writing.” Linguistics and Education 6. (1994): 3-15.
See also Welch, Nancy. “One Student’s Many Voices: Reading, Writing, and Responding with Bakhtin.” JAC 13 (1993). Rpt. in Landmark Essays on Bakhtin, Rhetoric, and Writing. Ed. Frank Farmer. Hermagoras Press, 1998: 215-224.
NAIVE VIEW HAS BECOME SOPHISTICATED AND MAINSTREAM. NAIVE REALISM IS STANDARD IN PHILOSOPHY. “Naive realism had become and still is, the “sophisticated” view of perception [in philosophy not to mention psychological studies of perception], so it is strange that [Hilary] Putnam goes on as if were a minority view” (71). McGinn, Colin. “Can You Believe It?” Rev. of The Threefold Cord: Mind, Body, and World by Hilary Putnam. New York Review of Books (April 12, 2001): 71-75.
““Viriditas” is a word invented by twelfth-century mystic and visionary, St. Hildegard (also an artist, musician, and composer). It describes the enlivening energy that causes growth, creation, and fertility in all its dimensions.” “Greening” power, according to Cristine Simoneau Hales, modern icon painter. Makes a creation alive and full of energy. How does this relate to voice.
Kelly, U. A. “‘On the Edge of the Eastern Ocean’: Teaching, Marginality and Voice.” In Critical Pedagogy and Cultural Power, ed. D. Henley and J. Young. Winnipeg: U of Manitoba P, 1990.
Dean, Nancy. Voice Lessons–Classroom activities to Teach Detail, Diction, Imagery, Syntax, and Tone. Gainesville FL: Maupin House, 2000.
SAUL BELLOW IS GREAT EXAMPLE FOR STRONG VOICE OF NARRATOR (NOT TO MENTION VOICES OF CHARACTERS). HERE’S HIM ON HERZOG“The description might begin with his wild internal disorder, or even with the fact that he was quivering. And why? Because he let the entire world press upon him. For instance? Well, for instance, what it means to be a man. In a city. In a century. In transition. In a mass. Transformed by science. Under organized power. Subject to tremendous controls. In a condition caused by mechanization. After the late failure of radical hopes. In a society that was no community and devalued the person. Owing to the multiplied power of numbers which made the self negligible. Which spent military billions against foreign enemies but would not pay for order at home. Which permitted savagery and barbarism in its own great cities.” HE’S ACTUALLY “TAKING ON” “SYMPATHETICALLY” THE VOICE OF HIS CHARACTER. “SECOND HAND QUOTING.”GET OTHER EXAMPLES FROM BELLOW.
I HAVE EXCELLENT SHORT SECTION ON VOICE IN MY ESSAY ON STUDENT PUBLICATION FOR CHRIS WEBER, “The Role of Publication in the Democratization of Writing” (01 OR 02). Clear and brief for general reader.
Corder, Jim W. Finding a Voice. 1973. literary anthology.Corder, Jim W. “Hunting for Ethos Where They Say It Can’t Be Found.” Rhetoric Review 7.2 (Spring 1989): 299-316.
“FACE” Explore metaphor of “face” compared to metaphor of “voice.” (“Person” too). Used in sociology. Scollon and Scollon in NARRATIVE, LITERACY, AND FACE IN INTER ETHNIC COMMUNICATION. Ablex 81.
BEN JONSON, in TIMBER. “No glasse renders a mans forme, or likeness, so true as his speech. Nay, it is likened to a man; and as we consider feture, and composition in a man; so words in Language: in the greatnesse, aptness, sound, structur, and harmony of it.” (quoted p 239, in Smith, Bruce R. The Acoustic World of Early Modern England. Chicago, U of Chicago P): 206-45.
SEE MY RESPONS6 (in /SEM01, October 22, 2001) for good analysis of Bakhtin and voice: how Bakhtin’s analysis of intonation leads directly to my point about voice. Good stuff.
Vera John-Steiner book NOTEBOOKS OF THE MIND. About language and ?brain?–talks interestingly about dance and movement and language and thinking.
John Ellsworth’s insights: sem, 10/01Ed Koch restored voice to “no parking.” “Don’t even think about parking here.” Terry Eagleton in his introduction to Literary Theory discusses the “estrangement” which may result from such ambiguity and cites a London street sign reading, “Refuse to be put in this basket.”
Oliver Sacks’ WIFE FROM A HAT. He describes 2 different types of people with different types of brain damage and what this damage does to their ability to understand meaning. The people with aphasia, left-lobe damage, are incapable of understanding words, but still manage to understand most of what’s said to them because of extraverbal cues—the tone of voice, intonation, inflection, gesture, and expression (80). This shows that “utterance” is much more than verbal but is “one’s whole being” (81). Because of aphasiac people’s enhanced ability to grasp expression, you can’t lie to an aphasiac, according to Sacks, because they understand what’s authentic and unauthentic through “false tones and cadences of the voice” (82). I think that this shows that our real self can—and does—come through in our writing, that creating our ethos isn’t everything (but then again, if only aphasiacs know if we’re unauthentic, then maybe creating ethos is everything!). The second people were agnostics, with right-lobe damage and the inability to tell expression. They rely, then, on exactness of words and meaning by word choice and reference, not tone. These people also laughed at the President’s speech because, as Emily D. said, “He is not cogent . . . his improper word use reveals he’s brain damaged or has something to conceal” (84).
BELL HOOKS: voice strongest when she addresses black women; allies. Michele turner’s post on discussion board for Orality and Literacy 10/31/01 is excellent on subtleties of hooks: hooks seems to both celebrate the idea of voice in writing as a powerful/revolutionary force, and at the same time to warn against the assimilation and commodification of that voice into mainstream culture: “…much that is potentially radical is undermined, turned into commodity, fashionable speech as in ‘black women writers are in right now’“(55).
She begins with an account of her own coming of age through poetry at black segregated schools. When she went to college she “learned a notion of ‘voice’ as embodying the distinctive expression of an individual writer” (52). But very quickly she felt the pidgin hole that voice could create. Her professors and fellow students praised her when she read poetry “written in the particular dialect of Southern black speech” saying that she was using her “’true,’ authentic voice…Such comments seemed to mask racial biases about what my authentic voice would or should be”(52). hooks did not like this “static notion of self and identity,” saying that, “We (black students) were as at home in dialect as we were in standard English”(52). She argues that she was never compelled to choose between one voice over another as more “authentic” and she cites Gloria Anzaldua’s “Borderlands: La Frontera” as a work which claims all voices of the self to create an individual self-reality.
hooks talks about the “feminist focus on coming to voice- on moving from silence to speech as revolutionary gesture”(53). “Speaking becomes both a way to engage in active self-transformation and a rite of passage where one moves from being object to being subject”(53). But here hooks again points to the danger of voice as potentially dangerous. “Appropriation of the marginal voice threatens the very core of self-determination and free self-expression for exploited and oppressed peoples”(55). She points to reggae music as being appropriated by young white audiences who do not appreciate its revolutionary voice, and who do not respond to the call and response of “Africa for Africans.” hooks asks, “…who controls production and distribution…” of marginalized voices (55)?
Perhaps the most interesting thing she has to say about voice relates to audience: “I saw that I was trying not only to address each different potential audience- black men, white women, white men, etc.- but that my words were written to explain, to placate, to appease”(55). hooks states that to be true to your voice and sense of self you can not worry about people liking you: “…my desire for approval naive…”(57) Her writing was strongest when she addressed black women (Bakhtin’s choral support). “I confronted my fear of placing myself and other black women at the speaking center”(56).
hooks leaves us with an account of teaching students who are afraid to speak out their opinions in a large class. She seems to recommend chastising: “…I tell them to imagine what it must mean to live in a culture where to speak one risks brutal punishment…I ask them to think about what it means that they lack the courage to speak in a culture where there are few if any consequences. Can their fear be understood solely as shyness or is it an expression of deeply embedded, socially constructed restrictions against speech in a culture of domination, a fear of owning one’s words, of taking a stand”(58)?
While hooks brings up this fascinating question of the social construct of voice and its implications for marginalized students/humans, she provides no suggestions for helping students/people to find and open their voices to the world. I also wonder how much the end of segregated black schools (like the one in which hooks was educated) may have inadvertently led to a lack of confidence in voice that marginalized students may feel in dominate cultural settings.
In the end, she sees voice as a tool of resistance that must not be used for alternative purposes: “It is our responsibility collectively and individually to distinguish between mere speaking that is about self-aggrandizement, exploitation of the exotic ‘other,’ and the coming to voice which is a gesture of resistance, an affirmation of struggle”(58). I find this an ironic pigeonholing of voice for one purpose, as she was earlier slotted as an “authentic” reader of black dialect. What about multiple selves and flexible personas?
RESONANT VOICE: TS ELIOT (3 VOICES): With the third voice (creating a character) the writer must be able to give the character a voice that is not her own—”The personage on the stage must not give the impression of being merely a mouthpiece for the author” (100)—yet she still must infuse life into the character via a personal investment: “I can’t see, myself, any way to make a character live except to have a profound sympathy with that character” (101).
HYPOTACTIC/PARATACTICRoland Barthes, “From Speech to Writing” (1974) “What transcription permits and exploits is a thing repugnant to spoken language and classified by grammar as SUBORDINATION: the sentence becomes hierarchical” (5). NOTE: this is what we discussed in class about hypotactic (subordinations) vs. paratactic (conjunctions).
RESONANCE IS ALL IN THE EAR OF THE BEHOLDER.My phrase. This from my response to Diane chase; 11/01. As you say, I acknowledge this. For I think it serves to isolate the central question–the issue itself (which you zero in on with the Sowin passage). Namely: Yes, of course the OBVIOUS and MOST COMMON reason a reader resonates (feels a passage to be resonant) is if there’s a good fit with the reader. E.g.: if a powerful reader memory is triggered; if the reader has great trust in the writer &c &c. This is the classic position: “RESONANCE IS ALL IN THE EAR OF THE BEHOLDER.” One of your options is to say, “yup, that’s it. Good bye.” But what I love about your analysis is that you point out (correctly, I think), that Sowin’s bird passage was experienced as resonant by most/all of us–even though WE didn’t have your memory of your father on Commonwealth Ave. So that was the issue I posed after acknowledging “ear of the beholder” point: there seem to be SOME cases where texts resonate when they DON’T necessarily “fit” the reader so well. Sometimes a writer can make us resonate to words that we are not so well suited for.
STARTING JANUARY 2002
Karpf, Anne. The Human Voice. Bloomsbury. sounds rich
A Voice and Nothing More. Dolar, Mladen. MIT. 2006.
Plutarch tells the story of a man who plucked a nightingale and finding but little to eat exclaimed: “You are just a voice and nothing more.” Plucking the feathers of meaning that cover the voice, dismantling the body from which the voice seems to emanate, resisting the Sirens’ song of fascination with the voice, concentrating on “the voice and nothing more”: this is the difficult task that philosopher Mladen Dolar relentlessly pursues in this seminal work.The voice did not figure as a major philosophical topic until the 1960s, when Derrida and Lacan separately proposed it as a central theoretical concern. In A Voice and Nothing More Dolar goes beyond Derrida’s idea of “phonocentrism” and revives and develops Lacan’s claim that the voice is one of the paramount embodiments of the psychoanalytic object (objet a). Dolar proposes that, apart from the two commonly understood uses of the voice as a vehicle of meaning and as a source of aesthetic admiration, there is a third level of understanding: the voice as an object that can be seen as the lever of thought. He investigates the object voice on a number of different levels–the linguistics of the voice, the metaphysics of the voice, the ethics of the voice (with the voice of conscience), the paradoxical relation between the voice and the body, the politics of the voice–and he scrutinizes the uses of the voice in Freud and Kafka. With this foundational work, Dolar gives us a philosophically grounded theory of the voice as a Lacanian object-cause.
**Vendler: “the highest poetic achievement is the gaining of an unmistakable, idiosyncratic and formally coherent personal style.” (38). quoted in a review. Benfey, Christopher. “The Art of Consolation.” Rev. of V’s Poets Thinking. NYRB (28 April 2005): 38-40.
One of the most distinguished modern translators (of Russian literature–with his wife Larissa Volokhonsky.) “[Pevear] said that the hardest part of starting a long project like Anna Karenina was ‘getting the voice,’ capturing the narrative tone that will run throughout the book” (107). “The Translation Wars.” The New Yorker (7 Nov 2005): 98-109.
See Paul Matsuda’s feedback and reading suggestions
Was early writing closer to voice and meant to reproduce voice? Clearly not if we look at the VERY earliest “texts.” Runes &c. Mostly for keeping counts and for labeling. But Fowler makes the point that in the middle ages, “Manuscript writing, however, is in some ways closer to orality than to print. For one thing, virtually all manuscript writing was read aloud in antiquity; manuscripts were prompts for utterance of sound.” (But what was the preceding sentence–that required “however” in the first sentence above?) Fowler, Robert M. “How the Secondary Orality of the Electronic Age Can Awaken Us to the Primary Orality of Antiquity.” www2.baldwin3.edu/ÿA~rfowler/pubs/secondoral/hypertext/html#anchor60485. Is this a book?COMPUTER ANALYSIS OF PROSE. Foster, Donald. Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous. ??? 2000? Explains his process. He argued that unattributed funeral elegy of 1612 by W.S. was by Shakespeare. Also identified Joe Klein as author of Primary Colors. He finds “badges”: words and usages and forms that are characteristic of a writer. And when he’s trying to establish authorship or describe the style of a writer–words &c. that are common across texts. Also “flukes”–words &c. that are rare–or appear in one text but not the other. He’s used in legal cases; stylistic forensics. Was brought into the Unabomber case. Argues that a writer cannot help but reveal characteristic usages that provide a kind of signature. (see SMITHSONIAN 9/01)READERS AGREE ON THE PERSONALITY TRAITS CARRIED BY THE TEXT: EXPERIMENT WITH COLLEGE ADMISSIONS ESSAYS–Hatch, Jill A, Charles A. Hill, and John R. Hayes. “When the Messenger is the Message: Readers’ Impressions of Writers’ Personalities.” Written Communication 10.4 (October 1993): 569–97.–Hayes, John R. Jill Hatch, and Charles A. Hill. “Reading the Writer’s Personality: The Functional Impact in Communication.” In. Maat H P & Steehouder M (eds) (1992). STUDIES OF FUNCTIONAL TEXT QUALITY. Amsterdam: ?R[N?]odopi, B.V. 33-46. I think they have another essay somewhere.–Check out: Charles Hill did a diss at Carnegie Mellon on “the effects of personality impressions in the evaluation of arguments.” Sometime after 92.BEING SURPRISED TO EXPERIENCE A NEW VOICE AS ONE’S OWN:“I had never talked this way before. The voice coming out of my mouth was strange to my ears and yet strangely my own.” These are the words of a young woman or late adolescent (in a novel by Jane Smiley) who has led a kind of boxed in childhood and adolescence and meets, for the first time, a rather sophisticated man–and finds herself, in talking to him, saying some tart, ironic things to him. No proof of anything here: merely a good novelist getting at a slightly marginal experience that illustrates something that can happen that illustrates something about voice and self. Smiley, Jane. The All-True Travels and Adventures of Lidia Newton. NY: Knopf, 1998.
“The autobiographical-turn characteristic of discourse in a variety of fields, a turn that is often postmodern feminist in orientation.” Suzanne Fleischman in “Gender, the Personal, and the Voice of Scholarship: A Viewpoint,” for example, describes the widespread attempt in a variety of fields such as law, art history, media studies, anthropology, sociology, women’s studies, literature, and even the hard sciences, to restore to scholarship the person of the scholar. [Flynn, 38-9–in WWELBOW].Fleischman, Suzanne. “Gender, the Personal, and the Voice of Scholarship: A Viewpoint.” Signs 23 (Summer 1998): 975-1016.
DANGERS OF GETTING A VOICE: DASHIELL HAMMETT: “I stopped writing because I was repeating myself,” he said in 1956. “It is the beginning of the end when you discover you have style.” And he did have style, or rather a style–a mannered implement he’d worked up and polished, but an implement very much of its time.” (21). Atwood Margaret. “Mystery Man.” Rev of books by and about Dashiell Hammett. NYRB (14 Feb 2002): 19-21.
VOICE IN Writing Without Teachers: FIND MORE. I TALK ABOUT IT A BIT. HERE’S ONE WHERE I CLEARLY IMPLY VOICE/SELF AS CHANGING: “I can now see that a lot of my stuck situations in writing come from trying to write something that I won’t be able to write for another ten years: trying to avoid the voice and self I now have (47).Gibson, PERSONA. “this persona may or may not bear considerable resemblance to the real author sitting there at his typewriter” (3). TOUGH SWEET: “The writer is not physically present to his reader. He is all words. The writer has no resources at all for dramatizing himself and his message to his reader except those scratches on paper–he has no bulk, no audible voices on the airwaves, no way of introducing himself beyond what he can make his reader ‘see’ by means of abstract written words in various arrangements” (8). All writing “implies self-definition, and flexibility in such self-defining is a desirable quality . . . [therefore, the] larger one’s repertoire of selves, the more wisely one can choose an effective voice in a given situation” (51).MORE PUBLICATION OF INFORMAL VOICE. NEW YORKER EXAMPLE:. . . . There is nothing wrong with cars, TV sets, and running shoes. What’s wrong is the waste–chemicals, heavy metals, CO2–that’s produced when we make them, use them, and, eventually, throw them away. Eliminate that waste, and you eliminate the problem. Right, and why not cure cancer while you’re at it? Last time we checked, waste–landfills, smog, river sludge–was the price we paid for a healthy economy.A column headed “Financial Page” with subtitle “Waste Away.” May 6, 2002, p 56. by James Surowiecki.
See Ihde in general. Particularly p 173 of my VOICE BOOK excerpt: long suspicion against voice in philosophy; Plato and poetry.
INTONATION AND THE PERSON. When hearers misunderstand or misread intonation across dialects, “the confused interlocutors rarely complain directly of misunderstanding as they might with a mispronounced word . . . or a jumbled grammatical construction . . . . The hearer reacts not so much to the utterance as to the speaker, [feeling that the speaker] sounds snippy, or ingratiating, or condescending, or crabby, or cold, or cordial, or reserved, or pushy. (64).Bollinger, Dwight. Intonation and It’s Uses: Melody in Grammar and Discourse. Stanford UP, 1989.
Silence and Voice in the Study of Contentious Politics. Aminzade, Ronald R. et al. Cambridge UP, 2002.
COMMON INSTINCT TO TRY TO GET VOICE DOWN ON THE PAGE–and it’s always called wrong and illiterate:–people overuse “quotation marks”: they are trying to put their vocal stamp on a word or a phrase–people over use underlining and caps &c &c–especially people not so indoctrinated into literacy–like kids and adolescents.
Freire (WHAT SENSE OF VOICE?) “ . . . the fundamental theme of the Third World . . . is the conquest of its right to a voice, of the right to pronounce its word . . . “ (4) Cultural Action for Freedom. (Monograph Series #1). Cambridge MA: Harvard Ed Review and Study for Center of Development and Social Change. 1970.
TO WINI WOOD ABOUT HER LETTER OF THANKS FOR MY WKP (6/14/02) You are kind to write–your generous words and generous offer to pay expenses. (And–an issue of much greater importance!–I thought your voice and stance in your formal letter was impressive. It’s actually a good example to talk about. I would hate to describe the text by saying, “You did a good job of adopting and crafting an effective voice because it was well appropriate for the exigency, aim, and audience.” I would much prefer to say–and more important, I think it’s more ACCURATE to say–your text seemed to me to convey a reality in the writer–that you actually meant it–that you actually had those feelings and thoughts. I could even use the dreaded phrase, “you were sincere,” but it’s part of my analysis to say that sincerity can be surface (only conscious mind) and not resonant–but it seemed as though your sincerity reached deeper–that is, that the vibrations were not damped and muted out by contrary vibrations from the unconscious. Look what I’ve just done with my analysis. I’ve just put you in a position where you either have to agree with my theoretical analysis–or else admit that you didn’t really mean to praise me! We theorists are willing to win with any weapon that comes handy (though my wife would say it’s merely the wiles of a youngest child).
WRITING (ESPECIALLY “ACADEMIC,” “LITERATE”) IS FULL OF USAGES THAT SEEM TO TRY TO AVOID THE SYNTAX OF SPEECH. WHY? IT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE SLANGY OR COLLOQUIAL IN ORDER TO AVOID THESE “RUBBER GLOVES” USAGES. Here’s Ellie Kutz from her chap 3 of book (textbook?) (talking to freshmen!):“To look at your own discourse competence in the ways in which we’ll look at Tana’s you’ll want first to tape record a story of a moment in your experience as you tell it to classmates or to a friend or family member outside of class.” What strikes me most is that little syntax “tic” of “literate writing”: “you’ll want first to tape record”–when she could have written, “First you’ll want to tape record.” Why. Plus, why such a LONG and very “constructed” sentences; simply the length of it goes beyond what one can take in as “utterance.” But it’s not necessary–even to be formal and correct.
Defense of theory of writing that keeps voice, style, difference. “Performing Writing.” In The Ends of Performance Ed Peggy Phelan and Jill Lane. NYU P, 1998: 73-103; p 77.
Legitimizing use of the term “voice.” Gary Olson (“Foreword”) about “resistance” (an equally troublesome word) writes, “Thus, if compositionists fail to come to terms with this important and resonant term, it will float into oblivion, becoming yet another disciplinary cliché devoid of meaning–like ‘process’ or ‘discourse community.’” (xi). Greenbaum, Andrea, ed. Insurrections: Approaches to Resistance in Composition Studies. SUNY Press, 2001. The contributors wrestle with various meanings of resistance (the teacher, the society??) What I don’t understand is why people try to insist that a single word try to do duty, on its own, for all the meanings that they prefer. Why not accept what language philosophers (and Wittgenstein) and students of language accept, that a word means what it means in common use. Thus the word resistance by itself is going to point in millions of directions. And if you want to talk about one particular kind of resistance, you need to use more than one word. E.g., “resistance to what the teacher wants you to do” or “resistance to the larger society” or whatever. I don’t get it. This is what I tried to do with voice: show that it has many meanings–yes, an area of overlap–but use other words to bring out its differing senses. And voice’s meanings are much less wildly opposed compared to resistance.
I SHOULD WRITE ABOUT THE TERMINOLOGICAL ISSUE. “TRUE MEANIGN OF A WORD.” You can look again at the way I handle five sense of voice in that INTO essay. It makes a little case study or extended example. And by the way, it becomes an even better case study because it represents my trying to deal with exactly the problem that the resistance folks keep getting into. That is, in my 1981 stuff about voice (WWP) I talked about voice and “real voice.” A clear example of someone trying to claim or nail down the RIGHT definition of a word–in a way, trying to take it away from other people. Clearly a problematic procedure. So the later intro essay represents me realizing, “hey, no one can claim the “real” meaning–we just have to look at various meanings and be explicit and talk about what we are talking about–instead of mystifying things (and degrading language) by trying to pretend that a word OUGHT to mean what your favorite meaning is.” By the way, there’s a lovely quote near the beginning of CS Lewis STUDY OF WORDS where he says something close to: “Whenever anyone stops to specify the definition of a word, you can be pretty sure he is using it with a meaning that’s different from how it’s usually used.” I can’t seem to lay my hands on exactly that quote (perhaps I’m mis-remembering, but he says virtually the same thing on p 18 and 100.
EXAMPLE, PERHAPS NOT SO RELEVANT. PROBLEMS IN DEFINING THE TERM “RESISTANCE”. It’s been such a problem. Kate Dionne talks about it. It’s all over INSURRECTIONS. Another example. Fox in his good essay is claiming resistance in a special sense: a student of color resisting the larger racist culture by being a good student and doing what the teacher asks in order to learn to think independently and work against forces keeping him down. This is great–comprehensible–but one needs to be very clear about this FORM of resistance. And the focus: the student’s relation to the larger society. In my opening chapter of EVEYRONE CAN WRITE, I make an analysis contrasting resistance and compliance, but my focus is on the classroom and the students relation to the teacher. So I apply the term compliance to the behavior Fox talks about. And even though I don’t talk about race (I do talk about oppression), I’m talking about the tricky bind for students like Fox is talking about–because I talk about the DIFFICULTY of compliance–that there is often a price to be paid to comply–or it can feel bad. And Fox doesn’t talk about the problem that many students of color have (especially AAVE) from feeling like going along with teachers and schools is a cop-out. (Lippi-Green is good on this.) Anyway, the moral of the story is that there’s nothing horribly complicated about applying the both terms “resistance” and “compliance” to his student: you just have to be clear and simply spell out what he is resisting and what he is complying with.
USE Wittgenstein. “language game.” PI # 769-774. 778-79.
COMPUTER ANALYSIS FOR VOICE–Louise Weatherbee Phelps speaks of the VASSAR GUY in her SUSB response.–see articles in HARTLEY folder with JAMES PENNEBAKER who is big on it: Hartley writes: You will see that James Pennebaker has joined the list of authors. he does the most interesting work on computer-based measures of text and how the results relate to individuals’ style and personality. You can mail him at email@example.com and ask for his web site address, or any recent offprints/papers he is working on.–in particular, see the Pennebaker and King, 99–in the Hartley “Speaking vs typing” offprint.
***Knoeller, Christian. Voicing Ourselves: Whose Words We Use When We Talk about Books. Albany: SUNY Press. 1998. Sounds really interesting. Bakhtinian base. Recording voices in a classroom and listening for authors, authorities, and students own and each-others voices. Statistical analysis. Attention to ORAL/WRITING: pp 27-31; and Appendix C.
THE TAINT OF SPEECH. How copy-editors run away from perfectly good constructions and change them–just to avoid the taint of speech.–See recent examples. From my DSP essay? One example there:Sub head: Where is the Crunch? At entrance or exit? Changed to: “Is the Crunch at Entrance or Exit.”–WHERE ARE THE OTHER EXAMPLES? WHAT FILE? CHECK MS? (I have a paper file folder)
BUT: SOUNDS GOOD VS “SPEECH.” HERE’S A CASE OF A SENTENCE THAT WORKS WELL, I THINK, BUT IT’S NOT HOW ANYONE WOULD SAY IT. IT’S A GRACEFUL NICE SOUNDING PHRASE NEVERTHELESS–FITS THE TONGUE AND EAR WELL: “Students will probably be able to think and write better if teachers honor their language by inviting them sometimes to write in it.” Final phrase, “sometimes to write in it” is different from speech, but works well to the tongue.
–People need the experience of continuing to write when they have run out of what’s “in mind.”CHANGED TO: –People need the experience of continuing to write when what’s in mind has run out.
OUTSIDER ART — SELF TAUGHT, VISIONARY, PRIMITIVE, BRUT, FOLK Notes on reading. Anthony Petullo. Self-Taught, Outsider Art: The Anthony Petullo Collection. U of IL, 2001.Children, indigenous, folk, craft, African masks. seems as though it comes more from the center–more archetypal?–more resonant (see the child painting from proctor; and kid paintings from church (on napkin). some kind of power shows through. (The difficulty for “good” product is how to have control and technique and sophistication and still let this come through)Nonacademic and nontaught. (see the technique in ON NOT BEING ABLE TO PAINT–letting the hand swing free). Academics came after the fact to self-taught art. (lots of data in the long intro by Their works have qualities I associate with “resonant voice.”Introduction: “The Collector in Context.” Jane Kallir. 3-20. p5: “Interest in self-taught art was one segment of a much larger anti-academic trend that also encompassed nonwestern exemplars (such as Japanese prints and tribal art), indigenous folk crafts, and the work of children.” (at time of Rousseau) –p 11: academics came in after the fact –12-13. Not meant to be high art in museums. So too, voice in writing not same as good writing–a DIMENSION of a kind of goodness. p 18, for Petullo, quality DOES count. Take it seriously as art. Only the good stuff. –16: “For the Europeans, from Picasso to Dubuffet, the decision was prompted by the conviction that mainstream art had grown stale and that only the untrained were still tapped into the primordial sources of creative expression.” –17: Petullo’s conviction “the right of any individual to make art.” (see June Jordan’s poetry of the people)
“Why does the writing make us chase the writer? Why can’t we leave well alone? Why aren’t the books enough? Flaubert wanted them to be: few writers believed more in the objectivity of the written text and the insignificance of the writer’s personality; yet still we disobediently pursue. . . . What makes us randy for relics? Don’t we believe the words enough? Do we think the leavings of a life contain some ancillary truth? When Robert Louis Stevenson died, his business-minded Scottish nanny quietly began selling hair which she claimed to have cut from the writer’s head forty years earlier. The believers, the seekers, the pursuers bought enough of it to stuff a sofa.” (Flaubert’s Parrot. Julian Barnes. NY: Knopf, 1985, p12.) Narrator is a Dr. who is fascinated by Flaubert and in pursuit of his life–and yet even he stops to make this question of himself. It’s the question of the voice behind the text–and the self behind the voice. I could call a book “R. L. Stevenson’s Hair.”
Many readers cannot help asking whether a piece of writing is true–not made up. Ash makes a careful defense of the difference between true and made up–with great awareness of the diceyness of the case. It’s a case of peering behind the text to see whether we trust the writer. Occasionally we can decide on outside evidence. More often we decide on internal evidence of the voice of the writer. Ash, Timothy Garton. “On the Frontier.” NYRB (7 Nov 2002): 60-1.
Picasso: “I wish I could draw like a child.” Quoted in an interview with Nancy Larson Shapiro in TEACHERS AND WRITERS 34.1 (Sept/Oct 2002): 17-21. p 17.
ALT DIS, P 12.; quotes on p 144. p 61, “being yourself” (fox)
GREAT EXAMPLE of human need to talk about a writer’s real voice–and the difficulties and problems that come from it. About V. S. Naipaul. “His absorption of the country’s history, with its exhausted imperialism, its entrenched class system, only hampered his work; WRITING IN A VOICE THAT WASN’T HIS OWN, Naipaul simply confirmed his difference.” (88). Als, Hilton. “Borrowed Culture: N.S. Naipaul out-Englishes the English.” The New Yorker (3 March 2003): 85-89 (no emphasis in original)
T. S. Eliot speaking of voice: a careful writer but he uses the locution without tiptoeing–assuming it makes perfect sense. (See also his essay on “Three Voices.” Does this fit it?) “The kind of poetry that I needed, to teach me the use of my own voice, did not exist in English at all; it was only to be found in French” [referring to poetry of Gautier and Laforgue]. p30. Alvarez, A. “Making It New.” rev of The Short Sharp Life of T. E. Hulme and Wilfred Owen. NYRB 15 May 2003: 28-30.
CENTRAL QUESTION ABOUT VOICE: DO PEOPLE HAVE DIFFERENT VOICES TO MATCH DIFFERENT MOODS OR SIDES OF THEMSELVES–AND GENRES? OR DOES SOMEONE HAVE “HIS VOICE” ACROSS DIFFERENT OCCASIONS? Here I’m responding to Liz Bryant and I’m arguing that the whole point of the metaphor of voice is to connect the variety of speakings to a single person. Is this right? –Here and with Matt, you’re focusing more on bits and pieces–e.g., mostly vocabulary and a few structural elements. These are one aspect of voice. Bakhtinian bits and pieces of voices from the environment. And this is crucial for your Bakhtinian notion of construction. But I end up curious about a larger picture. I suspect she and Matt have recognizable voices ACROSS all these local variations. And the fact is that the MAIN MEANING of voice as a critical term (as people use it) is a quality that a person has across different uses or registers or situations. Think about it. Think about me talking very slangy and personal and then very formal and then trying to imitate Hamlet and then something else and then something else. Through all those changes, you would be able to hear my own voice. That’s the whole force of the term. A voice spectrograph can infallibly recognize someone’s voice across all kinds of disguising. It’s true that in writing people can disguise their personalities better (and you can’t put a spectrograph to the page), but if all you are interested in is the differences, you would just use the word “style.” The whole force of the term voice is that it establishes a relationship between words on the page and the PERSON–and the person has commonalities across different uses of his or her language.
AUTHENTIC VOICE. Fulfiller gives what could be called paradigm definition. He speaks of his “‘authentic’ public voice”–which he says “in ‘authentic,’ in that it is honest, sincere, and trustworthy, but is self-consciously so.” (“Looking” 219). Fulfiller, Toby. “Looking and Listening for My Voice.” College Composition and Communication. 41 (1990): 214-20. (Is there more stuff in a revision of this essay in the Yancey VOICE BOOK?)
VOICE/BAKHTIN/MULTIVOICES/MULTISELVESBecause I celebrate voice in writing, I am sometimes accused of believing in a simple minded, single dimensional, unchanging, “true self.” But in fact, an interest in voice helps us look not only for commonalities in a person’s voice but also all the different voices that people use–and how natural it is for people to have many conflicting ideas, sides, and personas. When critics argue against the voice metaphor because they think it precludes a self that is complex, multidimensional, changing, and social, they often also champion Bakhtin. In his almost foundational use of the voice metaphor, he showed how it can comfortably generate a rich and complex conception of self. CRUX QUESTION: are the multiple voices we have actually multiple “selves”?
LISA DONOVAN’S QUALIFYING PAPER ON VOICE FOR LESLEY. A LOT OF GOOD STUFF. MAKES LINKLATER CENTRAL. BREATH. CONNECTION BETWEEN PSYCHE/MIND AND BODY.Voice is …our channel of connection, a pathway that brings the inner psychic world of feelings and thoughts out into the open air of relationship where it can be heard by oneself and by other people…Voice, because it is embodied, connects rather than separates psyche and body; because voice is in language, it also joins psyche and culture (Brown & Gilligan, 1992, p. 20).
MARGARET PRICE–FROM SEMINAR PAPER (VOICE):“What if we separated the idea of “voice” from audiology? What if we understood the metaphor of “voice” to refer not merely to the mouth, lungs and throat, but to a variety of bodily sites? Users of ASL could, after all, be said to speak with their hands. What if we separated “voice” from verbality, and opened it to a wider interpretation of meaning and impulses? Perhaps a more flexible understanding of “voice “could help us begin to break down the currently rigid, and destructive, definitions of literacy that operate at present in the academy.”)
CLASSICIST Daniel Mendelsohn. “In Search of Sappho” rev of if Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho. NYRB (Aug 14 2003): 26-29.“A distinctive aspect of Sappho’s verse is that unquantifiable element, voice: in Sappho’s case, forthright and plain, however artful the rhetorical strategies may be” (29).
Ashberry seems to me ALL VOICE — but Wesling (book about voice) call him no voice. Great example of ambiguity about meaning of voice.“What makes Pound unlike any other poet we have is that the voice of his poetry is American, but his landscape seldom is. There’s far more of Britain, Europe, and ancient China in his poetry than the country where we was born.” (14) Simic, Charles. “What Ez Could Do.” NYRB 12/16/03: 8-16.Amir Liberman, Israeli computer whiz developed software that could analyze the human voice, drawing on hundreds of simultaneous measures of sonic variation. When we lie, our speech changes in ways inaudible to the human ear. . . On the market, the “Handy Truster” “personal lie detector” $39.95.) There have been rapid advances to technology: Liberman’s “Vericator” technology (patented)
Biber (book) ?and Finnegan. One of his dimensions is “stance types” “faceless, cautious, secluded from dispute.”
Egyptian hieroglyphics on tomb of King Tut: praises someone “true of voice.” See Vulgar\Robinson notes.
For close analysis of voice: Pritchard on Updike: a book.
COLERIDGE is good source for my sense of resonance–getting whole self/mind into words. BIOG LIT. “The poet, described in ideal perfection, brings the WHOLE WOULD OF MAN INTO ACIVITY, with the subordination of its faculties to each other according to their relative worth and dignity. He diffuses a tone and spirit of unity, that blends, and (as it were) fuses, each into each, by that synthetic and magical power, to which I would exclusively appropriate the name of Imagination. . . “
MYSTERIOUS POWER IN A “TEXT” OR WORK OF ART. Modicgliani portraits. A Danto talks well about it.
The image is the intersection of two consciousnesses–the artist’s and the subject’s–and some of the feelings of both are transmitted in ways it is impossible to explain, but that make us feel we are in the presence not primarily of a painting but of a person. I think of them as having the power of icons, in which the subject–traditionally Jesus or Mary or one of the saints—made themselves mystically present. It was not necessary for the icon to resemble its subject. What mattered was that the subject was somehow present, and could be engaged with. I was overwhelmed by the reality of these presences [Modigliani’s subjects]–of Moise Kisling, or Max Jacob, or Jean Cocteau. And I could not think of another artist who achieved such an illusion, unless Vermeer or perhaps Egon Schielek, although by very different means. [And he ends his essay this way] And if you come up with a better account of his power, I’d like to know about it. I am sure it has to do with light, love and beauty. But my analytical powers carry me only so far.(43)Danto, Arthur C. “Body and Soul.” The Nation. (July 19/26 2004): 40-43.
VOICE/SELF/CHARACTER. Perfect statement of the confusion and dilemma. Swearingen (in “originality”… Xerox from symposium) says: EITHER/OR THINKING.“Do student writers assume that an already-present character is the voice or presence behind what they write, and especially behind their desire to become fluent writers? Do we? Or, do they believe that through the process of becoming fluent writers their character will become improved?” 26. Confusion: we can’t become a “better character” and keep the same “voice or presence.” Can’t sound like the same self even though we are better or grown or changed.
HISTORY OF TALK ABOUT VOICE: RICH HASWELL and COMPPILE. I’m sure you are generally right about the history of the interest in “voice” in the profession. But how to show it=–another matter. On quick way might be to use a nifty feature of CompPile. <http://comppile.tamucc.edu/search.php >. Hits can be arranged chronologically by date with a click. So I just searched for “voice” in the title field and got 547 hits (that would also catch “voices,” but not “voicing”). I clicked the “date” in the menu and got them all arranged by year. Before Walker Gibson (early 1960s), there is hardly anything that sounds like it is discussing “voice” in writing as you and I mean by voice today. Following on down the years, we get just a few hits per year until 1980, when things start picking up. So that is 30 years ago.You can also circumscribe the years for a search. Between 1980-1989 records 116 hits; between 1990-1999 records 402 hits—an exponential rise (“between [date] and [date]” is the formula—use it in the date field with “voice” in the title field).You can also try “voice” in the keyword field—I entered it consistently there with your meaning, but alas quite a few entries in CompPile are not yet keyworded. But that way you will find some stuff covering voice without “voice” in the title. Of course, who knows the bibliography of voice better than you do? I remember that massive bibliography on voice you once sent me.
STYLE (VOICE?). Compare Gospel birth stories: Matthew 1:12-25 and the Luke version. Matthew is straightforward; Luke makes it sound like a fairy story.Voice vs “style.” See how people describe prose style. There’s an OXFORD BOOK OF STYLE.
Over centuries, writer/musicians specify voice on the page more. Musicians, more markings. playwrights. Shaw wrote little essays. ALBEE was compulsive about how folks were to say lines: “From a distance; curiously lighter, higher voice”; “oddly loud, tough” “a bit as if to a child” “dismissive laugh” “shakes her head in admiration” “tiny pause” “small smug triumph” “dogged, but not unpleasant”; “purrs” “weary”; “longer pause, none too pleasant”; “unconcerned”. Exception: Alan Bennett’s History Boys provides almost nothing about setting and voice. It’s like medieval music–just the notes–leaving all to director/performer. from p 77 in profile of him by MacFarquhar, Larissa. “Passion Plays: The Making of Edward Albee.” The New Yorker (4 April 2005): 68-77.
ALBEE AS VOICE GENIUS THEORIST. His stage directions are a catalogue of subtly different voices: “From a distance; curiously lighter, higher voice”; “oddly loud, tough” “a bit as if to a child” “dismissive laugh” “shakes her head in admiration” “tiny pause” “small smug triumph” “dogged, but not unpleasant”; “purrs” “weary”; “longer pause, none too pleasant”; “unconcerned”. from p 77 in profile of him by MacFarquhar, Larissa. “Passion Plays: The Making of Edward Albee.” The New Yorker (4 April 2005): 68-77.
DISCUSSION OF VOICE on the CASLL (inkshed) archive — which is here:>http://listserv.unb.ca/archives/casll.html>– and search for any messages with “voice” in the subject,
Corsello, Andrew. “The Vulgarian in the Choir Loft.” VOICE IN SINGING /WRITING. In Best American Magazine Writing 2004i. Also Louis Menant Intro to Best American Essays 2004–also pushes singing/voice (rather than singing).CUT FROM MY “MUSIC OF FORM.” Many adults–some of them serious critics–notice a certain mysterious force in many children’s drawings and paintings. My hypothesis is that children are often better than adults at harnessing their entire attention and intention as they move a pencil or magic marker across the surface. In this way, they can bring more of the self’s resources to that line. We feel coherence and presence in the line. Art teachers try for the same force when they ask students to do 60 second sketches of a model–never taking your pen off the paper. Changing media, I hear Glen Gould as remarkably able to harness his entire attention and intention as he plays even the simplest sequence of notes. This seems to me the source of “presence” (or “resonant voice”) that so many listeners hear as special in his playing.KROODSMA – BIRDS. No 2 birds sing the same; not even “oscine” (nonsinging birds–who work by genes, not imitation or training).“The Inner Voice,” Harpers, p11, June ’05;
VOICE: METAPHOR/PHYSICAL. When I got more interested in literal speech, it heightened my awareness that when I (and EVERYONE) writes (interminably) about voice in writing they/we are using a metaphor: not enough people recognize this. And yet as I emphasize that it’s a metaphor, it also heightens my sense that it’s a metaphor for a piece of the body (or a function of the body)–for something physical. So I’m trying to emphasize that in all my earlier talk about voice, there’s allusion to the body–but it’s metaphorical. I don’t think people have sufficiently realized (a) that it’s a metaphor or (b) that they are talking about the body. Putting it a different way, when metaphors get too tired, people forget they are metaphors and forget what they are about. “Leg of the table.” People no longer put skirts on their tables to hide the legs cause they forget that “legs” (when they are speaking of tables) have genitals attached.
“The Role of Tone in Improving ITA Communication in the Classroom.” Luch Pickering. TESOL Q 35;2 (summer 2001) (won Malkmes prize)Authoritative literary critic on voice as central: “Gone not just the style, but the voice, which is the temper, the attitude, the inflection of style.” (68) Aciman, Andre. “Proust’s Way?” Rev of new translation of Swanns Way. NYRB Dec 1 2005. 62-68.
VILLANUEVA REVIEW IN RHET REV 25. 3 (2006) p 350. Says “Royster discards any single notion of an authentic voice, arguing that there are many equally authentic selves insofar as all are also constructed selves.” 350. Says Spigelman implies same–and the Elbow/Bartholomae debate implies the same. Also “Even if there were an authentic self, its manifestation on the page is always a construct. And as a rhetorical choice, it’s a rhetorical construct.” There’s a sense in which this is true, but it belies most people’s experience.Spigelman says people have to (or do) “pay their dues” before getting to use “blended form” (academic/personal). Victor rightly points to all the people who do without paying dues (especially of color).“In the academy, empowerment of voice cannot be overstated. (ix).” “Empowerment of voice leads to empowerment for listeners–or in this case readers (xi).” Taylor, Olrando L. Foreword. Jackson, Ronald L II and Elaine B. Richardson (Eds.). Understanding African American Rhetoric: Classical Origins to Contemporary Innovations. NY: Routledge, 2003. Important scholarly collection with a lot of authority.John Lee. Writing from the Body: For Writers, Artists, and Dreamers Who Long to Free Your Voice, with Ceci Miller-Kritsberg, New York: Saint Martin’s Press, 1994. classic example of seeing character and temperament in a text: see p 60 of my tiny oxford edition of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE. Lizzy and Mr. Bennett read slightly differently for voice; Mary skips voice and goes for style.Oscar Wilde. something like “The first duty in life is to assume a pose. What the 2nd duty is, no one knows.” (used in Amherst’s Eng. 1-2 course) In that course, they worked against “sincere.”
Bowden, Darsie. “Voice.” Concepts in Composition: Theory and Practice in the Teaching of Writing. Mahwah NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, 2003. 285-303. (I have paper copy). “A longtime critic of voice, I rail against its use in my courses. Despite this, the term invariably emerges, often sheepishly from one of my students and, more frequently than I’d like to admit, from me as I stumble over my own inability to describe what I mean.” (285) –She argues there too for “network” and “web” to replace voice as metaphor. Ineffectually, I think, that voice doesn’t work for feminist work (that it’s inherently patriarchal–drowning out others). And on the web (the language won’t sit still for it to have a voice.) She argues that style is easier to teach than voice, but it backfires. Her example is a student’s persuasive essay about bad student food that don’t work cause it’s too angry and ranting–and that in order to achieve a more persuasive text, he needs to stop thinking of voice (which is inherently loud and ranting) and think in terms of style or network. But if the student’s task is to find language that doesn’t offend–that gets a neutral or hostile reader to listen and not be put off–their main expertise is with their VOICE. They’ve had to adjust their voice over and over when discovering that it puts off a listener. They are skilled at it. Not skilled at thinking about “written style”. John’s goal, in her words, is “powerful writing” 296) More skilled than in “mak[ing] stylistic choices that would be most effective in getting that audience to buy into his argument.” 297. AUTHENTIC. “Shawn’s writing generates an atmosphere of almost palpable authenticity; one reads the book in a kind of trance of trust, certain that the writer is incapable of pretense and falseness. To learn that he grew up in a household ruled by pretense and falseness is to hear the shoe drop.” (4) Malcolm, Janet. “‘The Not Returning Part of It’” Rev of book by Allen Shawn. NYRB (15 Feb): 4-6. (Shawn is the son of the famous The New Yorker editor, William Shawn.) Malcolm is a sophisticated writer and critic–and psychoanalyst.AUTHENTIC. BY RESPECTED LITERARY CRITIC AND HISTORIAN AND NOVELIST. About Tennessee Williams’ Journal. “It is strange how out of out of all this mostly inchoate and random writing, a sense of a personal vision emerges that would make its way into the very core of Williams’s main character and scenes. These entries capture an authentic voice, an artist alone and deeply fearful and unusually selfish. Many of his most whining entries were written on the very days when he was producing his most glittering work. His whining was not a game or done for effect; it seems, indeed, a rare example of a whining both sincere and heartfelt.” (38-40) Toibin, Colm. “The Shadow of Rose.” (Rev of T. Williams Notebooks). NYRB (20 Dec 2007): 38-44
HERE’S A DRAFT ARGUMENT FOR RESONANCE THAT IVE ABANDONED IN MY REVISIN FOR COLLEGE ENGLIHS ESSAY. some INTERESTING STUFF HERE:
I’ve already made the fairly traditional claim that it’s useful to try to read character or personality in a textual voice–as long as we call it implied author, or ethos, or persona. But should we look to the language of a text for a picture of the character of the actual historical writer? My answer is more or less No; but I will make a tenuous defense for a weak version of this biographical fallacy. I need to work up to it by looking at a range of practices
Identifying people from language (but not trying to read their character). As listeners, we can often identify who is phoning us from their very first “hello.” Similarly, scholars have learned to use computers to analyze texts and identify the writer–showing who the Unabomber was or showing that a newly found poem is by Shakespeare.
Reading character in spoken language? People do it all the time. It’s hard to disguise our mood and even our character in our speech. Still plenty of good actors, swindlers, and psychopaths do it every day.
Reading character in written language? Habit and conditioning being what they are, it would be peculiar if people didn’t try to hear character in written texts since they so habitually do this with speech. Here’s a professional writer, critic, and psychoanalyst reviewing the autobiography of Allan Shawn:
Shawn’s writing generates an atmosphere of almost palpable authenticity; one reads the book in a kind of trance of trust, certain that the writer is incapable of pretense and falseness. To learn that he grew up in a household ruled by pretense and falseness is to hear the shoe drop. (Malcolm 4. Allan Shawn is the son of the famous New Yorker editor, William Shawn.)
But of course even good readers are often wrong. Consider the famous Little Tree hoax: it convinced many good readers that it was the authentic product of an authentic Native American–but turned out to be written by a white member of the Ku Klux Klan. Speech usually has more spontaneous elements than writing does–and spoken intonation contains many more features than writing does. Written language is a less trustworthy window on character. (Handwriting is a fairly spontaneous physical activity–in some ways like speaking. In France, the psychological analysis of handwriting is a professional field.)
So I cannot defend committing the full biographical fallacy of trying to read character in a written voice. And I don’t defend the idea that sincerity makes writing better.Footnote. The need for (the illusion of) sincerity is most obvious in letters to apologize or propose marriage. During the Vietnam War, people who wanted conscientious objector status had to convince their draft boards in writing that their objection was based on a “sincere religious belief.” By law, the content of the belief didn’t matter; only the sincerity mattered. I failed this writing test and would have had to go to Canada or jail–or into the army–if I hadn’t soon enough gotten too old for the draft. It must be admitted that written sincerity helps with not a few teachers of writing.
So what is this weak biographical fallacy that I defend? I find it stated most eloquently in a poem by Auden, “The Truest Poetry Is the Most Feigning.” It tells the following sequence: A poet writes a love poem about his decidedly not-beautiful beloved–but describes her as the most beautiful creature that ever lived; a dictator takes power in a coup and the poet resexes the pronouns to make it a hymn of praise to Il Duce; the poet wealthy and successful in bed rather than in prison; in later years, readers read the ode to the dictator and say “Ah, how fair she must have been.” I read Audent to be saying that good writing need not tell the truth, but it can carry some kind of resonance or presence or authenticity that good readers can detect and appreciate. I prefer the word resonance here–and try to avoid the words authenticity and presence because they are so controversial. Here, then, is a paradoxical model for the biographical dimension of textual voice that explains what the writer of Little Tree was able to achieve. (Frankly–speaking of reading between the lines–I suspect that this was actually the position that the Amherst College actually held–or at least Coles–if they’d had the courage to admit it.)Obviously this is this a tenuous argument. Perhaps it’s a mere suggestion that I throw out only for those who already have a taste for it. But I see two practical applications of it:
For teachers of writing. When we have gotten to know a student somewhat through her writing, or when we are reading a sufficiently long manuscript, we can sometimes notice particular bits of what I want to call resonance: places where I’d say that the writer has gotten a bit more of his or her self behind or underneath the words. Often these are little changes of tone or eruptions or asides or digressions–even lapses of a sort: but I experience them as pieces of added weight, richness, resonance, or presence (even if they are bits of irony, play, metaphor, or even silliness). Some important dimension of perception or thinking or feeling formerly kept out of the writing is now allowed in. (Good musicians often get a bit more of themselves into or underneath the notes.) I’m not calling these places “good writing.” They may even be places where the writing breaks down. That is–except for exceptionally skilled writers–resonant passages are often holes or cracks or disjunctures in structure or voice the writer was trying to use. Often the piece is going to have to get worse before it can realize the potential resonance that is trying to get in. But I think I’ve noticed myself and other writers benefiting from having these passages pointed out. Often the writer can say, “Yeah, I can feel something different was going on as I was writing those passages.” I believe that it helps as writers if someone is good at noticing those passages and then says, “Try for more of that.” This doesn’t necessarily help in revising this piece (especially if the deadline is near), but as a path towards gradual progress as a writer.
Murray implies voice as most important for good writing: “Voice is the quality, more than any other, that allows us to recognize excellent writing.” A Writer Teaches Writing 21)
HAVELOCK’S version of Greek transition from ORALITY TO LITERACY is great picture of movement from believing — (naive belief) to doubting game. Amazingly, it’s all about how VOICE is related to believing. [this note is in both bg notes and voice notes]. Amazing that my two passions are really the same: BG & VOICE(I’m calling on summary/interpretation of this story by Connors, Robert J. “Greek Rhetoric and the Transition from Orality.” Philosophy and Rhetoric 19.1 (1986): 38-65. [I’m reading it in a copy that runs from 91-107–so my page numbers below need to be translated. I have a copy–I’ll keep it in my speech/write piles]
Orality: poetry and rhetoric (Connors is convincing in showing that what Havelock says about the powers and characteristics of oral POETRY also goes for RHETORIC.). It’s a story about the consciousness of listeners in oral culture–and ways of using language by people who appeal to that consciousness. Oral consciousness: passive, communally-oriented, non-critical oral consciousness. “state of total personal involvement and therefore of emotional identification with the substance of the poetized statement . . . .”
WHY CHILDREN’S WRITING HAS STRONG V O I C E–BETTER IDENTIFICATION AND ABSORBTION IN WHAT THEY ARE SAYING. Powers of memory “could be purchased only that the cost of total loss of objectivity . . . make his audience identify almost pathologically and certainly sympathetically with the content of what he is saying.” (Havelock PREFACE TO P. 44-45 (see also 43). Nonabstract; narrative and example and anecdote. This is why Plato objected.
Literate consciousness and way of reading words: Connors describes it as new, critical, individualistic, analytic, rational, detached. What Socrates and Plato were selling. DIALECTIC. Socrates always interrupted: forced them to break hypnotic spell of extended speech; forced them to RESTATE or COMMENT on a point–forcing abstract language to interrupt story or flight of lyric language–prosaic conversational language that loses the magic. This powerful (magic) oratory ruled Greece till then. Powerful men were orators: Alcibiades &c. Socrates tries to deflate the powerful orators (Protagoras, Gorgias) Connors, 96: “Demagogic oratory was the rule in Athenian politics . . . so long as the majority of the population was unable or unwilling to subject oratory to the sort of critical analysis that is the natural literate response to persuasion.”Individualism power: “The many I discount” says Socrates. (citation is in footnote 39–that I lack. I think it’s Gorgias) Connors 103: Socrates (and Plato’s) “conviction that one man’s truth arrived at dialectically is more valuable than the opinions of any number of people swayed by the ‘dream language’ of rhetoric.”BG as TECHNE: how to teach people to play BG. This story shows how: use narrative; extended; not critical questioning; get the group or allies involved; Toni Morrison’s Nobel speech: talks about live/dead language. “A new guitar is like a novice choir: a gathering of disparate parts, held together under pressure, straining to carry the same tune. The more it’s played, the more it settles into its true voice. The neck and body, joins and braces, bridge and fingerboard stop fighting one another and start to sing in unison (85).” Speaking of a great guitar, “It was an instrument that never seemed to lose its voice, that played evenly up and down the neck–a guitar in agreement with itself (93).” Bilger, Burkhard. “Struts and Frets: Building a Better Guitar.” NEW YORKER (14 May 2007): 79-93.Mermin, N. David. “Writing Physics.” Knight Distinguished Lecture in Writing in the Disciplines. Cornell, 4/19/99. I have copy–and it’s on web. GREAT STUFF –VOICE. great passage about how he and coauthor produced a coherent voice that was neither of theirs. p 9
VOICE IN STATE EXAMS. TONS OF THEM. See appendix in chapter by Jill Jeffries in VOX folder–”voice in state exams”–listing and quoting from them all.
VOICE/STYLE. Style mostly at sentence level; voice is a way of talking at larger dimension of a text. People talk about voice but don’t use the word so much. Fahnestock, Jeanne and Marie Secor. “Rhetorical Analysis.” Discourse Studies in Composition. Ed. Ellen Barton and Gail Stygall. Creskill, NJ: Hampton, 2002. 177-200.
Extreme example of 3 voices in same essay–all together: Jane Hindman’s essay in CE: standard restrained distant academic; conversational inner voice “No, no, no. This is not the way to make things clear.” and the voice of a speaker at an AA meeting. “My name’s JaneE and I’m an alcoholic. My sobriety date is January 1, 1987. I’m glad to be her today.” “Making Writing Matter: Using ‘the Personal’ to Recover[y] an Essential[ist] Tension in Academic Discourse.”
Toibin, Colm. “A Great American Visionary” (about hart crane). NYRB (April 17 2008): 36-40.“The poems are full of a primal sense of voice, and the aura of the voice in the rhythms of the poem suggests a relentless desire not to make easy peace with the reader. If some of these poems have the tone of prayers, they are not prayers of comfort or of supplication as much as urgent laments or cries from the depths where the language has been held much against its will or has broken free, and now demands to be heard.” 36.
Menand 2008 NEW YORKER review of EATS SHOOTS is very good on mystery of voice. (I HAVE COPY IN BOOK NOTES)
Menand, Louis. “Bad Comma: Lynne Truss’s Strange Grammar.” New Yorker (28 June 2004):102-04
Frost’s theory: “SENTENCE SOUNDS” poetry gets at speech sounds; intonation. but he doesn’t mean individual speech; he thinks that these intonational sounds existed before and continually; individuals can draw on them; In Mark Richardsons COLLECTED PROSE. “vocal imagination” “sound of sense” . “Make no mistake about the tones of speech I mean. They are the same yesterday, today, and forever. They were before words were–if anything was before anything else. They have merely entranced themselves in words.” (50) quoted in good article. Benfey, Christopher. “The Storm over Robert Frost. NYRB. 12/4: 48-50. (He drew on Sidney Lanier and Herbert Spencer’s theories about voice.?Villanueva essay: “Whose Voice is it Anyway?”
-Ben Franklin in conjunction with D. H. Lawrence. (Question of fakeness with Franklin)-David Laurence’s example of letter by wall street cheater to judge–trying to insist he is cured, repentant. Judge has to judge by voice. (ADE BULLETIN spring 1991)
7/91. Harold Rosen talks about “authentic writing” that “elicits within us a deep and attentive silence that is never found in academic and political discussion.”
He is evidently quoting or citing Labov (what?) but this is on p 81 of his “The Autobiographic Impulse” in Deborah Tannen’s LINGUISTICS IN CONTEXT, Norwood NJ, Ablex, 1988.
–B. Herrnstein Smith, ON THE MARGINS OF DISCOURSE, U Chicago, 1978
-double voicing: Passage from Flannery O’Connor’s “Parker’s Back”
Parker’s wife was sitting on the front porch floor, snapping beans. Parker was sitting on the step, some distance away, watching her sullenly. She was Plain, plain. The skin on her face was thin and drawn as tight as the skin on an onion and her eyes were grey and sharp like the points of two icepicks. Parker understood why he had married her–he couldn’t have got her any other way–but he couldn’t understand why he stayed with her now…