Course in preparation for Spring 2012 (if the world still exists). This course will use recent work in “sound studies”—examinations of the individual and cultural effects of new sound technologies—as a wedge into a small set of literary texts. We will focus in particular on the gramophone and the radio, studying their histories and thinking about their implications for 20th-century literature and culture. Media history and theory readings will not only give us insight into the historical significance of these technologies, but will help us think about literature itself as a kind of medium (sonic and otherwise), in conversation with all the other ones. Literary texts will include some (not all!) of the following: Bram Stoker’s Dracula; avant-garde works by Hugo Ball, Luigi Russolo, and F.T. Marinetti; radio plays by Bertolt Brecht, Dylan Thomas, Ezra Pound, Samuel Beckett, or Henry Reed. We may do some work also with UCSB’s Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, which has much to teach us about the history, the practices, and the implications of sound storage (and is massively entertaining in its own right).


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