The Walden Soundscape project is part of my dissertation on the impact of sound and sonic vibrations on the American Transcendentalists, who were interested in maintaining harmony with nature (in a musical sense of active, reciprocal participation) and who understood music to be an experience not limited to the hearing world.
My dissertation applies Sound Studies to literary works in American Transcendentalism, calling attention to Transcendentalists’ listening practices and their translation of political thought into a literary soundscape. Echoing Salomé Voegelin’s theory of listening as “reciprocal inventive production,” I examine the vibrational epistemologies of these writers and how music–human and nonhuman–played a role in shaping their understanding of humanity’s relation to the global environment and the universe.
I will be turning my chapter on Thoreau into a podcast with sounds from all four seasons interspersed throughout. Stay tuned!