Sonic territories: Deleuze and the politics of sound in Kafka and Duras
Smith, Jessica S
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In the following pages, I explain how I read the politics of music in Deleuze and Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus , Kafka: Toward a Minor Literature , and Anti-Oedipus , and Deleuze's theory of the "heautonomous" sound-image in Cinema 2 . My purpose is not only to elucidate the terms Deleuze and Guattari lay out, which are often problematic, but also to revise Deleuze and Guattari's concept of sonic mapping for productive readings of Kafka's "The Metamorphosis," "Josephine the Singer, Or the Mouse-Folk" and "A Country Doctor"; and Marguerite Duras' "India Cycle," The Lover , and Hiroshima, Mon Amour . Paying attention to how discordant or "nonsense" sounds such as screaming, babbling, humming, and poorly performed music clash with the hegemonic sonic territories of clear, sensible speech and classical music, I show how these authors use sound to indicate the weakness of the boundary between the empowered and the oppressed in the political terrains their novels describe. Finally, I argue that the discordant noises in the works of Kafka reveal feminist sympathies (whether these were clear to Kafka himself is beyond my scope of inquiry), building on the concepts of Irigaray's and Cixous' ecriture feminine and Deleuze and Guattari's "minor literature."