Degree Year

2014

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

English

Advisor(s)

DeSales Harrison

Committee Member(s)

Peter V. Swendsen
William Patrick Day

Keywords

William Faulkner, Pierre Schaeffer, Acousmatics, Phenomenology, Sound, Benjy Compson, Musique concrete, Listening

Abstract

The purpose of this project is to examine the perceptive systems and listening practices of Benjy Compson, the first narrator in William Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury," through the lens of acousmatic theory. I will consider Faulkner 's writing and Pierre Schaeffer's theories of sound as critical analogs for one another, in that our engagement with acousmatics opens channels of investigation into sound and aurality in the Benjy section that wouldn't be available otherwise, and vice versa. My main goal is to prove that 1) Benjy's consciousness; 2) Faulkner's structuring of the first section of the novel; and 3) the reader's sonic relationship with Benjy's world are all constructed upon the idea of acousmatic reduction. This investigation will then give way to larger questions about how these techniques might determine our reading of the rest of the novel, as well as how we might use acousmatics to engage with the auditory dimension of any literary work.

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