NeMLA Panel: Resonating Voices from the French Early Modern Period

deadline for submissions: 
September 30, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Lauriane Guihard / University of Pennsylvania
contact email: 

When reading a text, the reader is often confronted with the issue of voice. Who is speaking? Is it an affirmed voice or, on the contrary, a discreet voice? Is it a single or a collective voice? Voice is polymorphous and can take several aspects in the text: speech, shout, whispering, song. The reader must constantly keep in mind these interactions between voice, writing, and silence. In the Early Modern Period, voice can took many forms; In Montaigne’s Essais, we find occurrences of the term “voice” to designate both “word” and “speaking.” In La Rhétorique Française, Fouquelin refers to voice to talk about pronunciation. The coming and development of printing contributed to the multiplication and the spread of voices in the early modern world. As an instrument of expression, voice can be used to serve the author’s interest or can be lent to a third party, whether it be mainstream or underrepresented. Depending on the effect the author wants to produce on the reader, voice can be accentuated and distorted, lyrical or political. The author’s voice might also be hidden behind other voices, or discuss with external voices, intertwined with Ancient, medieval, contemporary or foreign referential texts. How do French early modern authors make use of voices in their texts to convey new ideas or denounce societal behaviors? How were these voices revolutionary, exceptional, rare, or unusual for the time? How were they received by their contemporaries and over time, and what was their impact? We invite contributions related, but not limited to, the following topics: performance, translation/adaptation, transtextuality, dialogism, mediatization, private/public, gender, otherness, religion/politics.


This panel welcomes any papers in French or in English that reflect on challenging or problematic voices in early modern French texts. Abstracts must be uploaded on the NeMLA portal: