Inside Voices of the English Renaissance


Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowships




This dissertation links the emerging sense of an ordinary speaking voice in sixteenth- and seventeenth-century England with the development of an ideology that privileges the voice as the medium most closely connected to consciousness. It argues that encounters with colonial voices abroad, shifts in devotional and pedagogical practices, and the rise of print and popular literacy produced a new awareness of the voice as a physical phenomenon rather than as a disembodied bearer of discourse. The aura of immediacy that eventually became associated with the spoken word cannot be separated from the historical contingencies that caused certain non-normative voices to be perceived as more bodily and therefore to be excluded from the emergent notion of an English subjectivity.