Routledge Companion to Literature and Sound

deadline for submissions: 
May 15, 2024
full name / name of organization: 
Maria Engberg / Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen
contact email: 

Call for Contributions to the Routledge Companion to Literature and Sound

Editors: Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen and Maria Engberg

We are seeking proposals for chapter contributions for a new Routledge Companion to Literature and Sound, in contract. The Routledge Companion to Literature and Sound presents key themes and interdisciplinary scholarship devoted to the understanding of the interrelations of sound, literature, and technologies, historically, in contemporary culture, and with suggestions for possible directions for future research in the field. We welcome scholars working in literary studies, sound studies, media studies and beyond to cover topics across narrative and poetic practices, from print literature, live formats, to various kinds of recorded forms, including more recent digital phenomena. This volume emphasizes in particular the role of media technologies in relation to sound, and the role they play in the construction of literature as an institution, as a practice and artform, and as a research field.

Articles should be introductory and should be centrally aimed at upper level undergraduates and graduate students. Each chapter should give a survey of the topic, explaining why the issue or area is important, critically discussing the leading views in the area. Contributors are encouraged to expound their own views on the topic and to engage with the work of others. Chapters should cover: definitions, historical perspectives, critical issues/topics, current contributions and research, main research methods (if relevant), recommendations for future directions, references, further reading.

The volume seeks to broaden the discourse regarding literature and sound. The contemporary digital media landscape invites us to think more broadly about how literary representations and modes of consumption impact the intersection of sound and narrative and poetic forms today. New or remediated audiovisual formats have emerged and gained a strong foothold in literary markets and created new reader communities, such as digital audiobooks and podcasts. These changes are to a wide extent fueled by technological developments, but are also linked to a longer history of oral literary communities and practices, as well as to literature, poetry, and narration connected to earlier media technologies. 

The volume is organized into three sections: IMAGINED, LIVE, and RECORDED, which represent three important but interconnected fields of literary engagements with sound.

IMAGINED includes chapters that explore sound aspects of print literature, meaning non-auditory stylistic features of literary language (e.g. rhythm, voice, melophrasis) as well as thematic depictions of sound in literature. The textually embodied imagined sound in literature has often been focused on modernist literature where sound and music appear as a formal or stylistic influence on the literary text. Modernist literature is of course not alone in inviting sounds, voices and rhythms into the literary text, and this section invites scholars from literary and (inter)mediality studies as well as scholars exploring the relationship between sound and literature from sociological or postcolonial positions. A note: by naming this section imagined, we want to point to literary sound as aesthetic and metaphorical representational practices with their own particularities and importance for how sound is formed and understood, as they are imagined sounds rather than auditorily articulated. 

LIVE focuses on the performative aspects of literature and on live literary performance as a broad phenomenon across various genres and time periods. The chapters explore the potential of live events and what significance “the live” and liveness has for our understanding of the intersection between sound and literature. In this section, the auditory and the articulatory parameters in a performed space are foregrounded and the section includes chapters on for instance poetry readings, poetry slams, rap battles, story slams, author readings, as well as discussions of sound as setting the livescene (situation, atmosphere, ambient sound). The section welcomes historical as well as contemporary examples of live, oral, or performed literary cultures from across the world.

The RECORDED section deals with technologically mediated literary sound phenomena, covering both historical and contemporary notions of the “recorded” or captured through various sound technologies, including the most recent digital phenomena. The section includes chapters on ambient literature, voice actors, audiobooks, podcasts as a literary format, social media phenomena such as book tok, ASMR videos with literary content, audioerotica, and the use of sound to create situated, multisensory, mediated experiences that foreground the poetic or narrative. Under the umbrella term RECORDED we envision contributions that address historical and contemporary examples of literary sound technologies across a broad spectrum, and we see that in the present digital reading condition (Stougaard Pedersen et al 2023), the proliferation of mediations stretch and challenge any preconceived notion of the literary as belonging primarily to the printed page or the oral performance, and the sonic landscapes that are possible both in the LIVE instance and in the RECORDED are at the heart of the contributions of this third and final section.

Together, the contributions in the three sections will provide a substantial, although not complete, landscape of the many relationships between literature and sound. We welcome various scholarly theoretical perspectives and methodologies. Scholars that are interested in the intersection of sound and the literary can be found in many different disciplines, from literary studies and musicology, to media studies, sound studies, digital media and literature, intermediality studies and cultural studies. Our hope is that the contributions to this edited collection will foreground a varied and sophisticated approach to analyzing and understanding sound and audio in a time of digital plenitude (Bolter 2019).

Topics for each of the sections include, but are not limited to, the following:


Silent voices of literature, narrative acoustics, Relations between sound and music in contemporary novels, Postcolonial and decolonial aspects of sound in literature, concrete and visual poetry, rhythm, gesture, literary musicality across history and cultures


Performing poetry, rap flows, poetry in public, poetry slam in various parts of the world, poetry reading communities, community singing, performing computational text, poetry and punk music, author readings, literary festivals, rap and poetry slams across cultures. 


Historical aspects of recorded literary sound,  revisiting the talking book, Recorded audio poetry, poetry and synthetic voice, story-driven podcasts, audioerotica, audio-originals of streaming services, voice actors, Book-Tok, ASMR, Youtube poetry, digital/e-literature, historical literary audio formats and technologies.

 To be considered, please submit an abstract of 800 words describing your proposed topic and approach. Include an author bio of 200 words listing your current professional affiliation, degrees held, as well any relevant previous publications and other qualifications. 

Email your submission to and

Deadline for submission: May 15, 2024

If accepted, first drafts of chapters of 7000 and 8000 words will be submitted in July 2025. We will work with authors to finalize the chapters toward manuscript submission in 2026. Publication is expected in early 2027.

For more information, contact Birgitte ( or Maria (

Birgitte Stougaard Pedersen is Associate Professor at Aesthetics and Culture, Aarhus University. Head of Research Program “Arts, Aesthetics, Communities”. Editor of the international peer-reviewed online journal SoundEffects, co-author of Digital Audiobooks – New Media, Users, and Experiences (Routledge 2016), and The Digital Reading Condition, (Routledge 2023). She has published articles in leading international journals on rhythm, the voice, aesthetics, digital reading, and meaning theory in the interrelationship between literature and music.


Maria Engberg is an Associate Professor of Media Technology at Malmö University. Engberg is the co-author of Reality Media: Augmented and Virtual Reality (MIT Press 2021, with Jay Bolter and Blair MacIntyre) and co-editor of The Digital Reading Condition, (Routledge 2023) and Ubiquitous Computing, Complexity, and Culture (Routledge, 2015). She has published on digital aesthetics, literature, and locative media, including augmented and mixed reality.