Unlike voice and writing, producers of speeches and texts, listening is silent, and the ear is a receptive organ. This talk explores the intense relationship between listening and writing in Brazilian literature. Beyond the orality/literacy divide, frequently addressed in Latin American literary criticism (Cornejo Polar, Alonso, Lienhard), I propose to include a third term: The ear and the act of listening in writing. Hence, the aspects of “belatedness” or “passivity” attributed to listening (and to Latin America in general) receive a positive value of openness while concomitantly dealing with its historical and sociopolitical constraints. How is authorship understood when writers present themselves as objects of reception (like an anthem) rather than subjects of production? How does listening in writing call for a new ethic and a different aesthetic? What relationships does listening in writing establish with silence, echo, and the sounds of the world? This talk discusses these issues from the idea of writing by ear and echo-poetics.
Marília Librandi-Rocha is an assistant professor of Brazilian literature and culture at Stanford University. Librandi-Rocha is the author of Maranhão-Manhattan: Ensaios de Literatura Brasileira (2009), and her current book project, Echopoetics: Writing by Ear in Brazilian Literature, studies the poetics of listening in fictional prose from Machado de Assis to Clarice Lispector. She is co-editor (with Vincent Barletta) of ellipsis, the journal of the American Portuguese Studies Association, and she is editing the volume, “Campos de Paz: Haroldo de Campos and Octavio Paz Transpoetic Exchange and Other Multiversal Dialogues.”
Co-sponsored by Latin American Studies and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese.