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Vol. 1 No. 2 (2020): Soundscapes, Sonic Cultures, and American Studies

Voice, Silence, and Quiet Resistance in Percival Everett's Glyph

April 3, 2019


This article investigates how the refusal to speak becomes a resonant expression of protest in Percival Everett's novel Glyph (1999). It offers a reading of Everett's experimental work as generating a literary soundscape of the quiet voice to reflect on the functions of sonic absence in the politics and aesthetics of resistance. With Kevin Quashie's work The Sovereignty of Quiet (2012) and Fred Moten's writings on the significance of sound in black radical aesthetics as conceptual bridges, it seeks to establish that Glyph explores the boundaries and possibilities of black self-determination in the American socio-political context as it pitches the acoustics of silence and voice against the mute textuality of the book. Along these lines, the explicit refusal of a voice to speak in Glyph simultaneously reveals and complicates the dynamics of racialization in literary imaginations and reading practices.


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