Talking and Listening in the Age of Modernity: Essays on the History of Sound

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Joy Damousi, Desley Deacon
ANU E Press, Nov 1, 2007 - Social Science - 187 pages
"Historians have, until recently, been silent about sound. This collection of essays on talking and listening in the age of modernity brings together major Australian scholars who have followed Alain Corbin's injunction that historians 'can no longer afford to neglect materials pertaining to auditory perception'. Ranging from the sound of gunfire on the Australian gold-fields to Alfred Deakin's virile oratory, these essays argue for the influence of the auditory in forming individual and collective subjectivities; the place of speech in understanding individual and collective endeavours; the centrality of speech in marking and negating difference and in struggles for power; and the significance of the technologies of radio and film in forming modern cultural identities."--Publisher's description.

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Page 113 - So the people shouted when the priests blew with the trumpets: and it came to pass, when the people heard the sound of the trumpet, and the people shouted with a great shout, that the wall fell down flat, so that the people went up into the city, every man straight before him, and they took the city.
Page 27 - Her brain allows one half-formed thought to pass: "Well now that's done: and I'm glad it's over." When lovely woman stoops to folly and Paces about her room again, alone, She smoothes her hair with automatic hand, And puts a record on the gramophone. 'This music crept by me upon the waters" And along the Strand, up Queen Victoria Street.
Page 52 - Surely whoever speaks to me in the right voice, him or her I shall follow, As the water follows the moon, silently, with fluid steps, anywhere around the globe.
Page 63 - I saw the blue Rhine sweep along: I heard, or seemed to hear, The German songs we used to sing in chorus sweet and clear; And down the pleasant river, and up the slanting...
Page 33 - The individual has become a mere cog in an enormous organization of things and powers which tear from his hands all progress, spirituality, and value in order to transform them from their subjective form into the form of a purely objective life.
Page 21 - Thus technology has subjected the human sensorium to a complex kind of training. There came a day when a new and urgent need for stimuli was met by the film. In a film, perception in the form of shocks was established as a formal principle. That which determines the rhythm of production on a conveyor belt is the basis of the rhythm of reception in the film.
Page 27 - Besides how could you remember everybody? Eyes, walk, voice. Well, the voice, yes: gramophone. Have a gramophone in every grave or keep it in the house. After dinner on a Sunday. Put on poor old greatgrandfather Kraahraark ! Hellohellohello amawfullyglad kraark awfullygladaseeragain hellohello amarawf kopthsth. Remind you of the voice like the photograph reminds you of the face.
Page 19 - Motor-cars came shooting out of deep, narrow streets into the shallows of bright squares. Dark patches of pedestrian bustle formed into cloudy streams. Where stronger lines of speed transected their loose-woven hurrying, they clotted up— only to trickle on all the faster then and after a few ripples regain their regular pulse-beat.
Page 26 - Granny!" and I longed to kiss her, but I had beside me only the voice, a phantom as impalpable as the one that would perhaps come back to visit me when my grandmother was dead. "Speak to me!
Page 101 - Little care is apparently taken [in NSW schools at that time] to correct vicious pronunciation . . . this inattention has a tendency to foster an Australian dialect which bids fair to surpass the American in disagreeableness...

About the author (2007)

Joy Damousi was born on June 17, 1961 in Melbourne, Australia. She is a graduate of La Trobe University , BA (Honours) and Australian National University, PhD in history. She has held various positions at the University of Melbourne, Monash University, La Trobe University in women's studies and history. Her books include Gender and War: Australians at War in the Twentieth Century, Depraved and Disorderly: Female Convicts, Sexuality and Gender in Colonial Australia, Living with the Aftermath: Trauma, Nostalgia and Grief in Post-War Australia, The Labour of Loss: Mourning, Memory and Wartime Bereavement in Australia, Colonial Voices: A Cultural History of English in Australia, 1840-1940, and Memory and Migration in the Shadow of War: Australia's Greek Immigrants after World War II and the Greek Civil War.

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