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The Found VoiceWriters' Beginnings$
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Denis Sampson

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780198752998

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198752998.001.0001

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The writing voice

(p.1) Prologue
The Found Voice

Denis Sampson

Oxford University Press

The expression ‘finding a voice’ is commonly used by writers to suggest the discovery of an aesthetic authority that governs the development of their subsequent work. Novelists such as V. S. Naipaul, William Trevor, and J. M. Coetzee, and short story writers such as Alice Munro and Mavis Gallant have a distinctive sense of their discovery. They associate this trusted ‘true voice’ with the confidence to experiment, relying on intuition, memory, instinct, and an elusive sense of talent. It may be partially an echo of people close to the writer during formative years, such as parents or influential classic writers, but it is also rooted in each individual’s response to foundational realities of communication, such as displacement, cultural alienation, and linguistic self-consciousness.

Keywords:   finding a voice, discovery, aesthetic authority, communication, V. S. Naipaul, William, Trevor, J. M. Coetzee, Alice Munro, Mavis Gallant

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