Abstract

Abstract:

Taking issue with the anthropocentric assumptions behind classic and recent work on sound in the novel, this paper draws attention to animal vocalizations in the writings of J. M. Coetzee and Richard Powers. As the nonhuman voices in Disgrace (1999), The Echo Maker (2006), and Orfeo (2014) reveal, novels do not just register the polyphony of human voices made famous by Mikhail Bakhtin, but also hint at a broader ‘polyphony beyond the human.’ Zooming in on a particular set of images, the paper subsequently examines how attentive listening and the idea of music help to connect and disconnect particular sets of humans and other animals. Bearing in mind earlier literary accounts of animal sounds, these contemporary novels combine older features like semiotic confusion with new elements like a preoccupation with biodiversity loss.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1934-1512
Print ISSN
0039-3827
Pages
pp. 364-383
Launched on MUSE
2016-09-17
Open Access
No
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