Gwynne Fulton's Selected Bibliography:

Voice-in-Cinema:


Voice! That, too, is launching forth and effusion without return.
Exclamation, cry, breathlessness, yell, cough, vomit, music. Voice leaves. Voice loses.
—Helene Cixous


The following bibliography represents my first foray into the study of the voice in cinema. My research has been particularly focused upon examining how recent studies of the voice in cinema are inflected with feminist and psychoanalytic theory. My focus falls specifically upon the asynchronous voix-off, insofar as this alternative acoustic register makes space for an account of feminine subjectivity more or less occluded in cinematic discourse. However, I have attempted to provide ample articles to situate this theme within a broader framework of sound theory. What follows therefore represents a provisional taxonomy of recent studies regarding the role of the voice in cinema. Key issues covered include the problem of the relative perceptual and representational value placed on sound relative to image, the locus and gender of the acoustic subject with regard to the voice, the spatiality and perspectival contribution of sound, the relation of voice to language, speech and discourse, the problem of the body as material origin of vocality, and the textual and ideological implications of synchronization. Whereas studies devoted to voice-off frequently place emphasis on the content of the dialogue and its signification in relation to narrative development, I find those studies that focus on the 'other side' of the voice: its grain, its difference, its non-sense, particularly engaging. The voice is - after all - an intrinsically ambiguous subject. The voice is irreducibly temporal, irreducibly corporeal: it traverses and effects elusively - without being seen.


Essential Reading:


Barthes, Roland. “The Grain of the Voice”. Image-Music-Text. Translated by Linda Coverdale. New York: Hill and Wang, 1985.
Barthes considers the significance or jouissance of music in terms of the body in the voice as it sings.

Chion, Michel. The Voice in Cinema. Trans. Claudia Gorbman. New York: Columbia University, 1999.
An exploration of the power of the human voice - particularly the disembodied voice - as deployed in cinema. Chion analyzes uses of the human voice by directors Lang, Hitchcock, Bresson, Duras, and de Palma. The first part considers the hidden, faceless voice of the accousmetre and its magical powers, particularly as used in Fritz Lang's Testament of Dr. Mabuse.

Vasse, Denis. L’Ombilic et la Voix. Paris: Seuil, 1974.
Vasse re-examines the importance of the voice and the auditory in the psychoanalytic account of the formation of the subject.



Bibliography:


Affron, Charles. “Voice and Space”. Cinema and Sentiment. London: University of Chicago Press, 1982.

Barthes, Roland. “The Grain of the Voice”. Image-Music-Text. Trans. Linda Coverdale. New York: Hill and Wang, 1985.
Barthes considers the significance or jouissance of music in terms of the body in the voice as it sings.

Berg, Carles M. "The Human Voice and Silent Cinema." Journal of Popular Film 4, no2 (1975): 165-77.

Chion, Michel. The Voice in Cinema. Trans. Claudia Gorbman. New York: Columbia University, 1999.
An exploration of the power of the human voice - particularly the disembodied voice - as deployed in cinema. Chion analyzes uses of the human voice by directors Lang, Hitchcock, Bresson, Duras, and de Palma. The first part considers the hidden, faceless voice of the accousmetre and its magical powers, particularly as used in Fritz Lang's Testament of Dr. Mabuse.

Bonitzer, Pascal. Regard et la Voix. Paris: Union Générale d’Editions, 1976.
——— “Les silences de la Voix”. Cahiers du Cinema, no. 256. (Febuary-March 1975): 22-35.

Danny, “L’Orgue et l’aspirateur (La voix off et quelques autres)”. Cahiers du Cinema, no. 279-80 (August-September 1977): 19-27.

Doanne, Mary Ann. “The Voice in Cinema: The Articulation of Body and Space”. Yale French Studies, no. 60 (1980): 33-50.
——— "Ideology and the Practice of Sound Editing and Mixing." Film Sound. Ed. Elisabeth Weis and John Belton. New York: Columbia University Press, 1996.

Kozloff, Sarah. Invisible Storytellers: Voice-over Narration in American Fiction Film. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.
Kozloff questions the common conception that voice-over is a literary technique by tracing its origins in the silent era, while highlighting the influence of radio, documentaries, and television. She refutes the assumption that words should only play a minimal role in film - that ‘showing’ is superior to ‘telling’, or that the technique is inescapably authoritarian. She explores how first and third-person narration affect film, in terms of genre conventions, viewer identification, temporality and subjectivity.
——— Overhearing Film Dialogue. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2000.

Lawrence, Amy. Echo and Narcissus: Women's Voices in Classical Hollywood Cinema. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
Lawrence examines eight classic films to show how women's speech is repeatedly constructed as a ‘problem’ or an affront to male authority. She illustrates how women's voices are positioned within narratives that require their submission to patriarchal roles and how their attempts to speak provoke increasingly severe repression. She also shows how women's speech is interrupted or conditioned to a suffocating degree by sound technology itself: telephones, phonographs, voice-overs, and dubbing are foregrounded, called upon to silence women and to restore the primacy of the image.
——— "Staring the Camera Down: Direct Address and Women's Voices." Embodied Voices: Representing Female Vocality in Western Culture. Ed. Leslie C. Dunn and Nancy A. Jones. Cambridge: University of Cambrdige Press, 1994.
——— "Women's Voices in Third World Cinema." Sound Theory Sound Practice. Ed. Rick Altman. New York: Routledge, 1992. 178-90.

Ropars-Wuilleumier, Marie-Claire and Kimberly Smith. “The Disembodied Voice: India Song” Yale French Studies, no. 60, Cinema/Sound (1980): 241-268.

Silverman, Kaja. //The Acoustic Mirror: The Female Voice in Psychoanalysis and Cinema//. Indiana University Press: Bloomington and Indianapolis.
Silverman studies sexual difference within the cinema’s aural realm and launches a theory of femininity through major re-readings of psychoanalytic theories of subjectivity. She conducts an investigation of the female voice in the context of feminist psychoanalytic film theory. Extending the concept of the voice beyond recorded vocalization as components of film form to consider the female authorial voice and the various psychic scenarios which inflect the voice in classic cinema, experiemental film and theoretical texts alike.

Sjogren, Britta. Into the vortex: female voice and paradox in film. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2006.
Sjorgren challenges and rethinks feminist film theory's reflections on the workings of sound and voice in film. Including close readings of major film theorists such as Silverman and Doane, she offers an alternative to image-centered scenarios that dominate feminist film theory's critique of the representation of sexual difference. Sjogren focuses on a series of Hollywood Noir films from the 1940’s in which the female voice bears a marked formal presence to demonstrate the ways that the feminine is expressed and difference sustained.

Sonnenschein, David. Sound Design: The Expressive Power of Music, Voice and Sound Effects in Cinema. California: Michael Wiese Productions, 2001.

Vasse, Denis. L’Ombilic et la Voix. Paris: Seuil, 1974.
Vasse re-examines the importance of the voice and the auditory in the psychoanalytic account of the formation of the subject. His notion of ‘umbilical rupture’ supplants Lacan’s visual model of the ‘mirror stage’. According to Vasse, a primordial vocal and auditory experience that first marks the separation of the infant from the maternal body and it is the therefore the voice that defines the points of articulation and separation that constitute the subject. Vasse’s seminal text has had a profound influence upon the work of Chion, Silverman and Sjogren.


Filmography:


Cardiff, Janet.
Conspiracy Theory (2003)
The Missing Voice: Case Study B (1999)
Jena Walk (2006)

Duras, Marguerite.
Son nom de Venise dans Calcutta désert (1976)
India Song (1975)
La Femme du Gange (1974)
Nathalie Granger (1972)

Hitchcock, Alfred.
Blackmail (1929)
Notorious (1946)
Vertigo (1958)

Hoolboom, Mike.
Fascination (2006)
Public Lighting (2004)
Invisible Man (2003)
Imitations of life (2002)
Tom (2002)
Panic Bodies (1998)
Frank`s Cock (1993)

Lang, Fritz.
M (1931)
Secret Beyond the Door (1948)
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)

Litvak, Anatole.
Sorry,Wrong Number (1950)

Marker, Chris.
La Jetée (1962)
Sans Soleil (1983)

Milestone, Lewis.
Rain (1932)

Mulligan, Robert.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

Walsh, Raoul.
Sadie Thompson (1928)

Wilder, Billy.
Sunset Boulevard (1950)