Title

Thoreau's sound reasoning

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2017

Publication Title

Nineteenth Century Prose

Publisher

San Diego State University

Volume

44

Issue

2

First page number:

135

Last page number:

154

Abstract

This essay examines Thoreau's theorization of sound and self via his attitude toward music. Thoreau has often been characterized as a careful listener who remained curiously dismissive of Romantic composers such as Beethoven. But how could someone so aesthetically perceptive fail to find any value in concert music? The essay tackles this question first by addressing New England's general hospitality to the musical arts in the antebellum decades, to reveal what opportunities for listening a person like Thoreau had. It then analyzes Thoreau's own comments about music and sonic phenomena to highlight a profound investment in the relationship between self and echo in Thoreau's work - an investment that anticipates the attitudes of modern Continental philosophers.

Language

english


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