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Title: The Cultural Imagination of the Phonographic Voice, 1877-1940
Author: Bennett , Hogg
ISNI:       0000 0001 3458 7813
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2008
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This thesis argues that the cultural effects ofphonography can be traced most vividly in its relations with the human voice, and that this is registered most explicitly not in music but in literature. The encounter ofthe voice with phonography traces a cultural nexus of the human-machine relationship, and the thesis proposes that the phonography be read in tenus ofthis relationship as a four-fold prosthesis - as writing, memory, listening and speech. The primary sources consist of literature from the first thirty years of the twentieth century, and the writings of Benjamin, Adorno, Freud, and the development of Freud's ideas by Lacan. Lacan's ideas also infonu the analytical perspective in the second half of the thesis, in particular his theory of 'the ego's era', a historical tum in Lacan's work uncovered by Brennan in HistOlY After Lacan. The thesis locates technology and the human in relation to modernism and modernity, and then examines Kafka's In the Penal Colony, Mann's 17le Magic MOllntain, and Renard's Death and the Shell in tenus of the culturally significant interconnections of writing, memory and death, drawing these ideas together around the paradox ofhow phonography seems to 'kill' or 'silence' the voice at the same time it renders it 'immortal'. Lacan's theory of history can be productively deployed to account for the relative absence, in comparison to photography and cinema, of theoretical accounts of phonography up to the 1970s, but also to interpret the cultural significance of phonography understood as prosthetic listening versus prosthetic speech. Breton's Manifesto ofSurrealism is read as a site ofprosthetic listening, and Eliot's The Waste Land as an articulation ofprosthetic speech, where these works are respectively understood as an articulation of, and a possible counter-current to, the characteristic attributes of the ego's era.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available