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Title: Listen to this : sound film and the late modernist novel in Britain, 1929-1949
Author: Ehrenfried, Lara
ISNI:       0000 0004 8501 649X
Awarding Body: Durham University
Current Institution: Durham University
Date of Award: 2019
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The introduction of synchronised sound to the British film industry presents a watershed moment in the cultural history of Britain by marking a further step in the development of an increasingly audio-visual entertainment experience in the twentieth century. In parallel, the literary marketplace of the 1930s and 1940s underwent significant change with a generation of late modernist writers gaining momentum on the literary scene. Broadly speaking, these writers are neither comfortably aligned with the first generation modernists of the early twentieth century, nor with conventional "Auden Generation" accounts of the 1930s. This thesis connects these two developments and brings them into dialogue. Using the arrival of the first feature-length British talking film, Hitchcock's Blackmail (1929), as a starting point for mapping a newly emerging media context, this thesis analyses the relationship between film and the late modernist novel in 1930s and 1940s Britain through a methodological commitment to reading for sound. This analytic strategy maintains the individual specificity of film and the novel as two distinct media forms: it does not read fiction as if it were a film. Instead, this work builds on sound studies, film studies, and literary studies to develop a new approach for the comparative study of media. I argue that a reading for sound discloses how synchronised sound film and the late modernist novel develop in parallel throughout the 1930s and 1940s and that these two media share a number of concerns regarding their future, politics, aesthetics, and their status in the media system. Discussing case studies of musical revue, film noir, documentary, and Ministry of Information-sponsored war propaganda alongside novels by Patrick Hamilton, Elizabeth Bowen, George Orwell, Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Jean Rhys, Graham Greene, Evelyn Waugh, and Walter Greenwood, this thesis demonstrates how studying sound productively reframes and extends our understanding of late modernist fiction and of the relationship between sound film and the novel in the twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available