ABSTRACT

For Silverman, the concept of the voice refers in the first instance to the recorded voice of film soundtracks and the rest of this chapter, particularly the sections entitled ‘Female Confessions’ and ‘Fantasies of the Maternal Voice’, examines her analysis of how sexual difference is constructed through film soundtracks. It will show how Silverman draws on works of psychoanalysis, semiotics, film theory, and feminist theory to illuminate her field of study but also how she deconstructs her theoretical sources to reveal that some of them, including the writings of French feminist theorists Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva, unwittingly echo classic cinema’s characterization of the female voice. The section on ‘Female Authorship’ will show how she expands her conceptualization of the voice to consider questions of authorial voice. Through a reappraisal of Roland Barthes’s ‘The Death of the Author’, she insists on the importance of the authorial voice for feminist purposes and offers suggestions for ‘finding’ the female voice in the authorial systems of both classic narrative and independent cinema. This flexible concept of the voice enables her to express some of the main ideas that run through her work. On the one hand, The Acoustic Mirror is about the female voice and demonstrates Silverman’s ‘rewriting’ of female subjectivity through a critical re-evaluation of semiotics and psychoanalysis. On the other, it also about male subjectivity and how it shores itself up against its own lack – a topic that Silverman explores further in her book Male Subjectivity at the Margins (1992), discussed in Chapter 7.