The discovery of a sonorous written archive prompted Ana María Ochoa Gautier to write this book, which proposes to rethink nineteenth-century histories of personhood, nation building, and the constitution of the relationship between nature and culture. The voice — as “ambiguously located between ‘nature’ and ‘culture’” (p. 3), in Ochoa's terms, or both of the body and easily imagined as separate from it, as other scholars have pointed out — is key. Ochoa argues that for literary figures, politicians, and scientists, among others, the politics of the voice and of listening were central to what it meant to be human. The texts that they produced were replete with inscriptions of sound and endeavored to designate boundaries between the civilized and the modern or the powerful and the marginal. Her methodological decisions have produced a superb model for how to write and think...

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