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Dramatic Theories of Voice in the Twentieth Century By Andrew Kimbrough ...

Chapter :  Dramatic Theories of Voice: An Introduction
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Dramatic Theories of Voice in the Twentieth Century

Dramatic Theories of Voice

An Introduction

In the twentieth century, the sound of the human voice surfaced in several significant scholarly discourses. In the early decades of the century, the philosophies and human sciences that contributed to the “linguistic turn” in Western thought had come to recognize language as the one medium by which we create and share knowledge. Rather than seeing knowledge as independent of the languages we use to express it, philosophers and theorists interpreted language as intimately bound with, if not determinant of, the contents of our thought. Because languages are based in the sounds of the voice, some believed that the voice had to play a role in the constitution of thought, whereas others sought to negate that role. Complementing the linguistic turn, theorists of communication technology surmised that not only vocalized language but all forms of linguistic mediation, including printing, radio, and sound-synchronized film, shape or determine the contents of thought. Communication technology carries the sounds of voices, reifies the perception of those sounds, and possibly alters our regard of ourselves. In the closing decades of the century, the disciplines that constitute paleoanthropology, or the study of human