Seeing by Electricity: The Emergence of Television, 1878-1939

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Seeing by Electricity: The Emergence of Television, 1878-1939

Seeing by Electricity: The Emergence of Television, 1878-1939

by Doron Galili

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Already in the late nineteenth century, electricians, physicists, and telegraph technicians dreamed of inventing televisual communication apparatuses that would “see” by electricity as a means of extending human perception. In Seeing by Electricity Doron Galili traces the early history of television, from fantastical image transmission devices initially imagined in the 1870s such as the Telectroscope, the Phantoscope, and the Distant Seer to the emergence of broadcast television in the 1930s. Galili examines how televisual technologies were understood in relation to film at different cultural moments—whether as a perfection of cinema, a threat to the Hollywood industry, or an alternative medium for avant-garde experimentation. Highlighting points of overlap and divergence in the histories of television and cinema, Galili demonstrates that the intermedial relationship between the two media did not start with their economic and institutional rivalry of the late 1940s but rather goes back to their very origins. In so doing, he brings film studies and television studies together in ways that advance contemporary debates in media theory.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781478009221
Publisher: Duke University Press
Publication date: 02/28/2020
Series: Sign, Storage, Transmission
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 264
File size: 22 MB
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About the Author

Doron Galili is Researcher in the Department of Media Studies at Stockholm University and coeditor of Corporeality in Early Cinema: Viscera, Skin, and Physical Form.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  ix
Introduction  1
Part I. Archaeologies of Moving Image Transmission
1. Ancient Affiliates: The Nineteenth-Century Origins of Cinema and Television  17
2. Severed Eyeballs and Prolonged Optic Nerves: Television as Modern Prosthetic Vision  50
3. Happy Combinations of Electricity and Photography: Moving Image Transmission in the Early Cinema Era  74
Part II. Debating the Specificity of Television, On- and Off-Screen
4. Cinema's Radio Double: Hollywood Comes to Terms with Television  105
5. "We Must Prepare!": Dziga Vertov and the Avant-Garde Reception of Television  145
6. Thinking across Media: Classical Film Theory's Encounter with Television  167
Conclusion  184
Notes  189
Bibliography  221
Index  239

What People are Saying About This

William Uricchio

“Assembling wonderful material and offering nuanced readings of both filmic and theoretical texts, Doron Galili makes important interventions in the ongoing debates over media specificity and television's historiography. He is part of a new generation of scholars who are helping to put television's complicated and often occluded genealogy into conversation with the latest media studies debates. A page-turner, Seeing by Electricity will resonate with a broad spectrum of readers.”

The Lumière Galaxy: Seven Key Words for the Cinema to Come - Francesco Casetti

“Digging into television's origins and discovering secret lineages and unexpected ancestors, Doron Galili unearths the true reasons that fiercely opposed—and indissolubly linked—television and cinema. A masterful contribution to media archeology.”