Thu, 03 Feb|
Cambridge Medieval French Seminar
I will be giving my paper, 'The Problem with Soundscape: a Medieval French Perspective', at the Cambridge Medieval French Seminar Series.
Time & Location
03 Feb 2022, 17:00
Cambridge, King's Parade, Cambridge CB2 1ST, UK
About the Event
Barking dogs, sirens, and screeching mandrakes are creatures that populate medieval soundscapes as they are recorded in texts. But what exactly is a soundscape, drawn from the term landscape? A new question arises as to whether we can interpret medieval acoustic ecologies as soundscapes, which implies both a recording of real sound and a reversal of the traditional hierarchy of the senses that emphasised the sense of sight, rather than sound, as the dominant way of experiencing the world. Drawing on examples from French texts written in medieval England, this paper examines how medieval texts present the sounds of animals for interpretation in ways that encourage readers to reach for understanding, or entendement. It argues that animal sounds are connected to language, but also to music and melody, and to different modes of existence, that require a more diverse set of theoretical tools than the soundscape can provide.