Figures of Voice in Early Modern Europe


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation explores theories of vocality in modern and early modern sources and examines the status of voice as a nexus of lyrical expression, affect, and embodiment in Renaissance literature. This project traces a theoretically grounded relation between embodied and figurative voices by connecting ancient and early modern theories of voice and vocality to the perspectives of modern theorists. These theoretical explorations frame case studies of vocal archetypes from classical myth—the Sibyl, Philomela, Echo, and Orpheus—that are taken up as key figures in humanist culture and re-imagined in poetry, music, theater, and court entertainments (including early opera). These figures articulate the relation of voice to body, affect, gender, and subjectivity, not only in the Renaissance, but in our contemporary culture as well.