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20181220

Imagine putting your ear to Great Expectations like a shell - and hearing it whisper to you. Not the text itself, but a distillation of its sound-world - a beetle running across Miss Havisham's wedding table, the claustrophobic atmosphere of Satis House, the clink of Joe Gargery's hammer in the forge - everything you'd hear if you could walk through the pages of the book, mixed together to create "essence-of-Dickens".

Multi-award-winning documentary-maker Cathy FitzGerald listens in on fictional soundscapes by Edgar Allan Poe, Richard Wright, Virginia Woolf and more. She hears how the relationship between sound and literature has become a fashionable academic topic of late and imagines what a visit to a library of these noisy novels might be like.

With contributions from musician and author David Toop, writer Zoe Gilbert and academics Anna Snaith (Kings College, London) and Jennifer Lynn Stoever (Binghampton University). We also hear from poets Michelle Penn and Rishi Dastidar, hard at work in the Department of Onomatopoetics.

Presenter and Producer: Cathy FitzGerald
A White Stiletto production for BBC Radio 4

Who are the noisiest writers? Cathy FitzGerald listens in on fictional soundscapes.