The Matter of Voice

9780823269990: Hardback
Release Date: 2nd May 2016

9780823270002: Paperback
Release Date: 2nd May 2016

9780823270026: PDF
Release Date: 2nd May 2016

9780823270019: EPUB
Release Date: 2nd May 2016

Dimensions: 152.4 x 228.6

Number of Pages: 216

Fordham University Press

The Matter of Voice

Sensual Soundings

Voices are material, somatic, and musical. They are also meaningful—they give body to concepts that cannot exist in abstractions. Through explorations of theology, pedagogy, translation, and more, this book works toward reintegrating our thinking about words as a fleshy combining of meaning and music.
Hardback / £70.00
Paperback / £19.99
PDF / £23.00
EPUB / £23.00

Philosophers for millennia have tried to silence the physical musicality of voice in favor of the purity of ideas without matter, souls without bodies. Nevertheless, voices resonate among bodies, among texts, and across denotation and sound; they are singular, as unique as fingerprints, but irreducibly collective too. They are material, somatic, and musical. But voices are also meaningful—they give body to concepts that cannot exist in abstractions, essential to sense yet in excess of it. They can be neither reduced to neurology nor silenced in abstraction. They complicate the logos of the beginning and emphasize the enfleshing of all words. Through explorations of theology and philosophy, pedagogy, translation, and semiotics, all interwoven with song, The Matter of Voice works toward reintegrating our thinking about both speaking and authorial voice as fleshy combinings of meaning and music.

Karmen MacKendrick is a professor of philosophy and an associate chair of the McDevitt Center for Creativity and Innovation at Le Moyne College. Her work in philosophical theology is entangled with several other disciplines, particularly those involved with words, with flesh, or with the pleasures to be taken in both. These preoccupations appear in several books, most recently Divine Enticement: Theological Seductions (Fordham University Press, 2013).

In this eloquently written and elegantly conceived book, Karmen MacKendrick speaks for voice--and speaks up for it--in much-needed new terms. MacKendrick ask us to recognize that voice matters in part because it is matter. The bodily and musical qualities of voice have rarely, if ever, been given their philosophical due. Moving across a wide span of concerns from literature to theology, The Matter of Voice shows why that gap in our thinking should be filled and proceeds to fill it memorably.

—Lawrence Kramer
Fordham University

The Matter of Voice is a work of philosophical theology in a multidisciplinary and poetic key. Its central organizing insight is that voice and voicing are productive of corporeality and rhythm in language. As MacKendrick shows, at the heart of the voice is 'an irreducible and carnal strangeness' that refuses closure and invites passion back into thinking. The book is a sterling exemplar of the richness that results from attending to the somatic quality of words, yielding a layering of ideas that forms a virtual chorus of multiperspectival thinking.

—Patricia Cox Miller
Syracuse University