Broadcasting Modernism

Edited by Debra Rae Cohen, Michael Coyle, and Jane Lewty


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"A very solid and comprehensive collection of essays that allows readers to witness more concretely the variety of forms that the dialogue between literature and the radio has taken in the last century. An outstanding book."--Jean-Michel Rabate, author of Jacques Lacan and Literature

"This book is a real gift: its variety of essays in different voices provides an opportunity to get up to speed with the sometimes suprising ways that radio helped to structure modernism, served as a foil for modernist writers and artists, and forced the modernists into a more constructive engagement with issues of elite and popular culture. A lively collection."--Kevin J.H. Dettmar, author of Is Rock Dead?

It has long been accepted that film helped shape the modernist novel and that modernist poetry would be inconceivable without the typewriter. Yet radio, a key influence on modernist literature, remains the invisible medium.

The contributors to Broadcasting Modernism argue that radio led to changes in textual and generic forms. Modernist authors embraced the emerging medium, creating texts that were to be heard but not read, incorporating the device into their stories, and using it to publicize their work. They saw in radio the same spirit of experimentation that animated modernism itself.

Because early broadcasts were rarely recorded, radio's influence on literary modernism often seems equally ephemeral in the historical record. Broadcasting Modernism helps fill this void, providing a new perspective for modernist studies even as it reconfigures the landscape of the era itself.

Debra Rae Cohen is assistant professor of English at the University of South Carolina Michael Coyle is professor of English at Colgate University. Jane Lewty has published on radio and the work of Joyce, Woolf, and Pound.

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"the type of collection, provocative and comprehensive, that not only opens up our conception of modernism but does so in such a way as to invite future work. Given how the essays' diverse subjects and approaches enact a nonreductive protrait of modernism, this anthology promises to be foundational and central to our understanding of how the cacophony of modernity, working across national, cultural, and class borders, was and is impossible to reduce to a singular and monolithic voice." Clio 39:2

"Few technoglogical developments in the early twentieth century had a more sweeping impact on cultural life in Great Britain, Europe, and North America than the growth and spread of radio." "The essays that comprise Broadcasting Modernism bring invaluable and long overdue scrutiny to bear on the complex interactions between literature and radio in the early twentieth century." English Literature in Transition, vol. 54 issue 2

"Contains a wealth of information about radio technology and the history of broadcasting even for those familiar with recent sound scholarship. "Through case studies of a wide range of authors spanning three generations--from Filippo Marinetti in the 1910s to Lorine Niedecker in the 1960s-- Broadcasting Modernism interrogates and explodes the temporal and spatial dimensions of modernism, providing new conceptual frame-works for future scholarship." James Joyce Quarterly, vol. 47 issue 1

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