Spaces of the Ear: Literature, Media, and the Science of Sound 1870-1930

By Tyler Whitney

Areas of the Ear examines the concomitant emergence of latest sorts of acoustical embodiment around the different fields of literature and technology within the historic interval starting with the Franco-Prussian struggle and finishing with the creation of early details thought within the past due Twenties. towards well known money owed of adjustments in listening practices round 1900, which generally take the disembodied voices of recent media similar to the phonograph and radio as precise markers of acoustical modernity, the dissertation emphasizes the proliferation of latest modes of embodied listening made attainable by way of the explosion of city and business noise, modern media applied sciences, the specter of auditory surveillance, and the imposition of self-observational and self-disciplinary practices as constitutive of inventive, clinical, and way of life. In doing so, I express how detailed parts of recent soundscapes and corresponding strategies of listening proficient either the main thematic and formal components of literary modernism. specifically, I argue that modernism's often-cited narrative self-reflexivity drew on conceptions of a uniquely embodied listener and the newfound audibility of the physique, and overlapped with contemporaneous medical wisdom surrounding the body structure of the ear and the position of the physique within the notion of sound.

Chapter 1 specializes in the position of non-literary discourse on city noise and the cacophony of the trendy battlefield in formal advancements important to past due nineteenth-century literary aesthetics, taking the principally forgotten Austrian impressionist Peter Altenberg as my fundamental case learn. In bankruptcy 2 I research the ways that Franz Kafka appropriated components of the fashionable soundscape and, specifically, ontological issues universal to the manufacturing unit employee, in conceptualizing the mechanisms of the trendy felony approach and its epistemological and perceptual results on its topics. bankruptcy three back specializes in works via Kafka, this time juxtaposing clinical practices of self-observation inside acoustical study with Kafka's literal and metaphorical figurations of self-auscultation and its functionality as a story method in "The Burrow" (1923/24).

Chapters four and five cartoon out a competing belief of listening to inside Gestalt psychology, early stereophonic sound experiments, and literary texts by way of Robert Musil, which painting the fashionable listener as strangely lively and assured in interpreting and navigating an more and more complicated auditory surroundings. within the strategy, the positioning of acoustical embodiment is displaced from the part of the topic to that of the article, engendering notions of "auditory issues ( Hördinge )" with actual, corporeal homes, that are traced via house as three-d entities. within the ultimate bankruptcy, I situate the effacement of the listener's physique and simultaneous foregrounding of 'auditory things' in Musil's novella, "The Blackbird (1928), opposed to the backdrop of early details idea and non-corporeal notions of Rauschen (noise, rustling, static).

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6 “Eine verschärfte Empfänglichkeit für Sinnesreize, verbunden mit der prinzipiellen Tendenz, nichts anderes geben zu wollen als eben nur jene physiologischen Eindrücke“; ibid. , p. 163. 7 “Auch wenn er schreibt, spricht er bloß, oder versucht es doch wenigstens. guy müßte alle Sachen eigentlich laut lesen oder sich vorstellen, daß sie uns durch ein Grammophon zugerufen werden […] In seiner Sprache sind alle Geräusche der modernen Welt eingefangen. Bisweilen verfällt er in ein überheiztes, sich berstürzendes, knatterndes Pathos; es ist das Maschinenpathos, von dem wir im vorigen Kapitel sprachen, zu dem sich das Pathos früherer Dichter etwa verhält wie Posaunenstöße zu dem ratternden Lärm einer Dynamomaschine, dem Krachen von Mitrailleusen, Petarden, Pelotons; es sind Schüsse um die Ecke, mitten in Gedankenketten”; ibid. , p. 166. eight See Friedrich Kittler, Discourse Networks 1800/1900, trans. Michael Metteer, with Chris Cullens (Stanford: Stanford UP, 1990). 23 nine which Altenberg’s writing bears structural affinities. additionally, Friedell issues out, Altenberg’s texts conjure up the sounds and stories constitutive of acoustical modernity, overwhelming readers with an extraordinary depth and aggression and disrupting their skill to imagine or strategy phrases at the web page like infantrymen bombarded by means of the noise of the fashionable battlefield. In a textual content entitled “The Drummer Belin (Der Trommler Belin)” from As I See It, Altenberg drew on accurately those acoustic elements of mechanized conflict in an effort to disrupt traditional examining practices and lend the textual content a feeling of perceptual immediacy in general excluded from the broadcast web page. 10 Amidst the cacophony of a drum functionality meant to conjure up the sounds of the hot Franco-Prussian conflict (187071), the narrator struggles to translate the obstreperous noises he hears onstage into decipherable linguistic utterances for his written account. His bright description indicates a very corporeal come across with sound, because the listener’s ear is violently infiltrated and bodily assaulted by means of the drum. As yet another indication of this actual abuse, the narrative is periodically interrupted via repetitive strings of nonsensical consonant clusters and low vowels, with accents to mark rhythm and exclamation issues to point nine Friedell has under no circumstances been the one critic to focus on the acoustic size of Altenberg’s texts. twenty years after the ebook of Ecce Poeta, the literary critic Luise Thon back under pressure Altenberg’s “effort to sensualize acoustic phenomena via approximate sounds of language (Bemühen akustische Erscheinungen durch Annäherungslaute der Sprache zu versinnlichen)”; Luise Thon, Die Sprache des deutschen Impressionismus: Ein Beitrag zur Erfassung ihrer Wesenzüge (München: Max Hueber, 1928), p. 7. extra lately, Andrew Barker has argued that, “[As I See It] is sort of both noteworthy for its sensitivity to sound,” and the choice identify, As I listen It (Wie ich es höre), “would be virtually as appropriate a identify as that selected through the writer for his literary début”; Andrew Barker, Telegrams from the Soul, p.

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