Sarah Kay poster
Pajus Distinguished Visitor Sarah Kay "Voicing Writing"
4 PM - 5 PM
French Dept Library (4229 Dwinelle)

Our Pajus Distinguished Visitor, Professor Sarah Kay, will give a public seminar on "Voicing Writing." The readings are available at this link:

Description: One of the effects of sound studies on the humanities has been to renew interest in the voice and in the various ways its sounds might be understood to be recorded or conjured in writing. Classical and medieval scholarship lend themselves particularly to this turn, given the importance of rhetoric and oral performance in the cultures they address, but then so do modern audiobooks – the biggest growth area in publishing today – while the sound archives of contemporary or recent writers are the object of increased interest in research.

The three articles proposed for discussion at this seminar have both a practical and a philosophical pulse, and cover a wide chronological range. Porter’s approach to Classical Philology intersects with Noudelmann’s to contemporary philosophy via the figure of Nietzsche, but the two diverge in their ideas about what it might mean to hear a text, and my essay differs from both in using Aristotle to speculate in other terms again how the sight of writing might be heard as voice.


Porter, James I.  “Nietzsche, Rhetoric, Philology.” In Philology and its Histories, ed. Sean Gurd, 164-91. Ohio State UP, 2010.

Kay, Sarah. “Reading impressions. The sound of the sight of Occitan verse.” Forthcoming in The Sound of Writing, edited by Christopher Cannon and Steven Justice. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022.

Noudelmann, François. “What is an acousmatic reading?” Soundings and Soundscapes, edited by Sarah Kay and François Noudelmann. Special issue, Paragraph 41.1 (2018): 110–124. [Also included is the original French text of this article, for those who would prefer to read it in this form.]