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Sound Technology and the American Cinema: Perception, Representation, Modernity
     

Sound Technology and the American Cinema: Perception, Representation, Modernity

by James Lastra
 

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Representational technologies including photography, phonography, and the cinema have helped define modernity itself. Since the nineteenth century, these technologies have challenged our trust of sensory perception, given the ephemeral unprecedented parity with the eternal, and created profound temporal and spatial displacements. But current approaches to

Overview

Representational technologies including photography, phonography, and the cinema have helped define modernity itself. Since the nineteenth century, these technologies have challenged our trust of sensory perception, given the ephemeral unprecedented parity with the eternal, and created profound temporal and spatial displacements. But current approaches to representational and cultural history often neglect to examine these technologies. James Lastra seeks to remedy this neglect.

Lastra argues that we are nowhere better able to track the relations between capital, science, and cultural practice than in photography, phonography, and the cinema. In particular, he maps the development of sound recording from its emergence to its confrontation with and integration into the Hollywood film.

Reaching back into the late eighteenth century, to natural philosophy, stenography, automata, and human physiology, Lastra follows the shifting relationships between our senses, technology, and representation.

Editorial Reviews

Rick Altman
Rarely has high-flying theory been anchored in such careful research and presented in such clear prose.
Claudia Gorbman
James Lastra brings complexity, texture, and erudition to the story of the development not just of film sound, but the Big Three of modernity's representational technologies: photography, phonography, and cinema itself. From Edison's 'tone tests' to the 'up-and-downer, ' Lastra constructs a history/metahistory of technological devices and practices as negotiated through changing discourses and institutions. His book is a model of intellectual rigor and vigor; its impact will be felt for a long time to come.
Mary Anne Doane
Rigorous, detailed, and compelling.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231115179
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
07/11/2000
Series:
Film and Culture Series
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
5.98(w) x 8.99(h) x 0.62(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Rick Altman
Rarely has high-flying theory been anchored in such careful research and presented in such clear prose.

Claudia Gorbman
James Lastra brings complexity, texture, and erudition to the story of the development not just of film sound, but the Big Three of modernity's representational technologies: photography, phonography, and cinema itself. From Edison's 'tone tests' to the 'up-and-downer,' Lastra constructs a history/metahistory of technological devices and practices as negotiated through changing discourses and institutions. His book is a model of intellectual rigor and vigor; its impact will be felt for a long time to come.

Mary Anne Doane
Rigorous, detailed, and compelling.

Meet the Author

James Lastra is associate professor of English at the University of Chicago.

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