A voz ou a plenitude do texto: Performance oral, práticas de leitura e identidade literária no Ocidente medieval

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In a famous episode described in his Confessions (Book VI, 3), St. Augustine expresses his confusion and perplexity to the attitude of his master and friend Ambrose whose eyes roam, in absolute silence, through the pages of a manuscript. How can we explain this astonishment that modern criticism has interpreted as a clear evidence that High Middle Ages, following the models of Classical Antiquity, mainly developed the reading aloud, rather than the Early Middle Ages that had invented silent reading? Through the privileged perspective of French Medieval Literature (but not only), these reflections aim to question the evolutionary and cognitive conception of the history of reading refocusing the problem in the irreducible tension - which has partly characterized Western culture - between the letter and the voice, between an idealization of the writing elevated into the magic sphere of the Sacred (or the Law) which places the oral performance under the sign of a corrupted fabula, and a long tradition that, from Plato to Hegel, assimilates logocentrism and phonocentrism. In this perspective, writing, a signifier of a signifier (Jacques Derrida), is nothing but a tarnished crystallization of the voice which emanates the entire Being and the unity of the word.
Original languagePortuguese
Pages (from-to)1-36
Number of pages36
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • French Medieval Literature
  • Oral and written culture
  • History of reading
  • History of book

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