Echoes of the Nonhuman: Organicism, Biology, and Musical Aesthetics from the Enlightenment to the Present


ACLS Fellowship Program




“Echoes of the Nonhuman” interprets key contributions to the history of Western musical aesthetics as sources of reflection on humanity’s relation to the nonhuman. Not only has music long been felt to appeal to regions of the self that elude the sovereign control of the mind, but it also has appeared at times to issue from an altogether nonhuman realm. The book illuminates both the elation attending music’s capacity to put listeners in contact with a world beyond human subjectivity and the anxiety concerning music’s power to empty the mind and invite animal or even vegetal impulses into its place. This work challenges entrenched divisions between the humanities and the sciences by placing the aesthetic tradition in dialogue with the latest research in biomusicology.