Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy


Theory and Criticism


Allan Pero


This study traces a historical trajectory of the voice as it encounters the Orpheus figure in writing, music, and other media. Following a critical discussion of Auerbach’s literary figuration, the author questions certain aspects of phonocentrism in relation to opera and texts using the voice for authoritative or rhetorical purposes. Grounded in the prefiguration of opera’s earlier displacement of the singing voice, the understanding of mass media and digital media then developed is critical of theories of immersion in media. The analyses of the series of works and figures (Orpheus, Ossian, and Tristan) in this study lead the author to propose a threefold historical definition of the voice: the mimetic, the representational, and the expressive.