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The Soul of the Phonograph: Media-Technologies, Auditory Experience, and Literary Modernism in the Age of COVID-19

Emeritus, The University of Alabama in Huntsville, 301 Sparkman Drive, Huntsville, AL 35899, USA
Sections of this article were presented at two conferences: “The Soul of the Gramophone: Musical Affect, Phonographic Sound, and Nonhuman Agency.” Annual Meeting of the American Comparative Literature Association, Washington, DC, USA, 9 March 2019; “Phonographic Retro: Intermedial Resignifications of the Gramophone and Record Player in Modern Literature, Film, and Performance Art.” “Make It Old: Retro Forms and Styles in Literature and Music”: Word and Music Studies: Twelfth International Conference, Graz, Austria, 31 May 2019.
Humanities 2020, 9(3), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030082
Received: 27 July 2020 / Revised: 11 August 2020 / Accepted: 14 August 2020 / Published: 16 August 2020
The unpredictable duration of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitates renewed reflection on our collective reliance on video platforms such as Zoom and YouTube for telecommunication and music listening purposes, which have virtually filled the gap left by widely cancelled live performances. The affectively close relationship we forge with these services today echoes a recurrent theme in literary modernism: the tendency to endow early mechanical sound reproduction machines such as the phonograph and the record player with quasi-human subjectivity, emotions, and agency. This historical topos, in turn, anticipates posthumanism’s fascination with the seamless interface between machine-intelligence and its human users. Thinking about these cultural continuities may help the Humanities articulate the crucial role of media technologies and literary discourses under exceptional circumstances. View Full-Text
Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; literary modernism; live music performance; posthumanism; sound media; technological reproduction COVID-19 pandemic; literary modernism; live music performance; posthumanism; sound media; technological reproduction
MDPI and ACS Style

Goebel, R.J. The Soul of the Phonograph: Media-Technologies, Auditory Experience, and Literary Modernism in the Age of COVID-19. Humanities 2020, 9, 82. https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030082

AMA Style

Goebel RJ. The Soul of the Phonograph: Media-Technologies, Auditory Experience, and Literary Modernism in the Age of COVID-19. Humanities. 2020; 9(3):82. https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030082

Chicago/Turabian Style

Goebel, Rolf J. 2020. "The Soul of the Phonograph: Media-Technologies, Auditory Experience, and Literary Modernism in the Age of COVID-19" Humanities 9, no. 3: 82. https://doi.org/10.3390/h9030082

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