Mikko Keskinen


From the article:

I will trace the metaphors of voice in the discourses of feminisms as articulated by Judith Fetterley, Kaja Silverman, Julia Kristeva, and Hélène Cixous. I will analyze the presuppositions of their vocal or sound imagery, paying special attention to the implications of the essentialism/constructivism opposition. It is not my intention to provide a comprehensive account of voice in feminisms, nor to make sweeping generalizations on the basis of a very limited corpus. Moreover, in spite of their differences in cultural background, period, and main area of study, the four theorists to be read are, as it were, within earshot from each other, centering, whether anglo- or francophone, around the phónè, the voice. Such themes as psychoanalysis and problems of literary representation and meaning are shared by the theorists, who, with the exception of Fetterley, could be called post-structuralists.

I will utilize French philosopher Jacques Derrida’s deconstructive critique of phononocentrism as a tentative hearing aid in my itinerary. I will also lend an ear to his critics, who have blamed Derrida’s idea of phonocentrism for both over-hearing and unsound scholarship. For the present purpose, I will coin the neologism gynophonocentrism, by which I mean the insistence of voice, speech, and the auditive in feminist discourses or in texts dealing with femininity, womanhood, or the female gender.

Author Biography

Mikko Keskinen is Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Dr. Keskinen has published, in addition to numerous articles, a book called Response, Resistance, Deconstruction: Reading and Writing in/of Three Novels by John Updike (U of Jyvaskyla Press, 1998). The present article is part of Dr. Keskinen’s work in progress, tentatively entitled “The Audio Book: Readings in Voice, Sound, and Writing.”