Avid Ears : Medieval Gossips, Sound and the Art of Listening book cover
1st Edition

Avid Ears
Medieval Gossips, Sound and the Art of Listening

ISBN 9781138370449
Published December 19, 2018 by Routledge
224 Pages

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Book Description

Arguing that women’s "silencing" is in part the result of women’s voices being treated as the white noise of history, Avid Ears: Medieval Gossips, Sound, and the Art of Listening explores the historical representation of female voices as actual acoustic phenomena. The volume focuses on English antifeminist satire during the linguistically dynamic late Middle Ages to argue that the resonant gossips’ circle offers a cultural poetics of listening for those attentive to medieval auditory regimes.

Understanding what it means to listen from both medieval and modern perspectives can challenge, so this book argues, the specular logic informing a long satirical tradition that casts the noisy speaking woman as the nemesis who confirms the social authority of the erudite man. Discerning the acoustic preoccupations of the gossips’ circle inevitably hovering behind the shrew, Avid Ears explains why the threat posed by a woman talking back to a man is only exceeded by that of a woman speaking to other women. The first book-length study to use sound studies to explore how gender registers in the medieval literary soundscape, Avid Ears attunes critics to how and what we hear when women speak in literature.

Table of Contents

Introduction: From Unruly Tongues to Avid Ears

Chapter One: The Philosopher and the Shrew

Chapter Two: "Dame, Let Be Thy Din"

Chapter Three: Gathering the Gossips

Chapter Four: Riotous Voices and God’s Ear

Chapter Five: Following Echo

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Professor Christine M. Neufeld, Professor at Eastern Michigan University's Department of English Language and Literature, received her PhD. from McGill University. Her scholarship has appeared in FMLS, Philological Quarterly, Oral Tradition, Arthuriana,The Year's Work in Medievalism, MMLA, as well as several edited collections.