Show Summary Details

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD HANDBOOKS ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Handbooks Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 20 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

What does it mean for printed literature to have a “sound”—for people to “hear” what they silently read? This essay formulates a theory of “potential sound” in literature by examining the word “O” or “oh” as it appears across the history of poetry, performance, media culture, and language philosophy. Examples range from poems (by Tennyson, Frost, Rankine, Patti Smith, etc.) to TV programs (from The Wire to Will & Grace)—from YouTube supercuts (of each “Oh!” in The Sopranos, each “Oh, geez” in Fargo, etc.) to theater-historical anecdotes (e.g., acting exercises, famous Oh’s of performances past). Together these objects show how our habits of hearing, the vocal cultures to which we belong, and the various (often, imagined) performances we witness can color our acts of private, silent reading.

Keywords: sound, hearing, silent reading, poetry, performance, new media, television, acting, language philosophy

Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can''t find the answer there, please contact us.