Have you seen my voice?

An author’s voice is a funny thing. To hear an author’s voice we have to see it. We have to use our eye’s to hear. And the author, he has to use his fingers to speak. SF author Harlan Ellison will not use a computer to speak. He prefers the visceral physical thrill of banging out his voice on the typewriter. Click clack beats out tic tac for his dangerous visions. I wonder if he’s considered dictating audiobooks? Then he could just scream at his audience directly.

I suspect the editors of our reference books and textbooks try and mask the authorial voice with objectivity for a pleasingly homogenized product without stumbling blocks for the easily, um, tripped. They wind up with their own voice. They all end up sounding like they were written by the same platonic ideal of the old wise man. I seem to learn more from texts with stronger voices. Reading theologian Oliver O’Donovan after hearing him speak, it was like I couldn’t get his voice out of my head. Must have been the accent.

The authorial voice is something I really enjoy – and look for. Have you seen my voice? Your own? Who’s voice do you like to watch fly by, line by line?

One response to “Have you seen my voice?”

  1. […] of the reasons I know I will find this book in the bargain bin. How do you translate the strongest authorial voice, the poetic? It’s here, in this translation, that Fagles apparently succeeds: Extraordinary […]

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