Lazzaro Boris ,
Lo strumentario sonoro del libro di Amos,
Antonianum, 86/4 (2011) p. 695-737
Summary: After the studies of R. Wellek and A. Warren (Theory of Literature, Harmondsworth, 3rd, 1963, p. 187-189), the custom has prevailed of distinguishing, in world literature, two fundamental metaphorical categories: “visual imagery” and “auditory imagination.” Visual and sound images interact with different calibre in the design of a literary work, enriching the poetic discourse with different emphases and subtleties, which need to be duly recognised for what they are, for there to be a complete hermeneutics of the text. The Book of the Prophet Amos, in its present canonical shape, also makes use of rhetorical registers rooted in the catastrophic landscapes of devastated countryside and ruined cities, in elements of a frightening bestiary, and lastly in the disturbing timbres of an extraordinary range of sound instruments. It is precisely on this latter aspect of Amos’ poetics that the present study will concentrate. This study will research the principal semantic fields of sound that can be found in this book of the Bible (the lion’s roar, the rumble of the earthquake, the clamour of war, the variegated modulations of the funeral chant, the light-hearted music of the court, and the silence that is filled with horror and death), distributing them in specific sections and reuniting them in the end in a final framework. To this end, the exegetical enterprise will make use of the contributions of lexicography and of modern linguistics. Moreover, the interweaving and the modulating of the varied auditory images will emerge with a particular clarity in the light of the categories of cinematographic scholarship, employed in an analogical way with respect to the more common narrative method. The result is a partly innovative reading of the entire Book of Amos, as if it were an extended liturgy of death, a necessary preamble to the re-birth of all things.