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During Britten’s lifetime, there were fundamental changes to technology that altered his and his audience’s experience of live and recorded musical performance. Chief among these was the advent of radio, established in Britain in October 1922 with the formation of the British Broadcasting Company (BBC). This chapter explores the BBC’s influence on British musical life and the cultural life of the nation. Discussions include the corporation’s manner of promotion of past and contemporary British music and composers and the changes made to programming during and in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War. The BBC was fundamental to Britten’s creation of a British identity as he disseminated his music to a wider audience, as well as to the success of the Aldeburgh Festival.
From mid-1943 until late-1950, Eric Crozier was an essential asset to Britten’s industry. His work alongside director and radio producer Tyrone Guthrie not only introduced Crozier to the Old Vic in London, but to the BBC as well, where Guthrie also worked. Joan Cross invited Crozier and Guthrie to each direct two different productions at Sadler’s Wells in 1943. Crozier directed and produced Britten’s first two operas, Peter Grimes in 1945 at Sadler’s Wells, and The Rape of Lucretia in 1946 for the short-lived Glyndebourne English Opera Company. Crozier wrote the librettos for Albert Herring and the children’s entertainment Let’s Make an Opera (with its central opera, The Little Sweep), in addition to writing the text for the cantata Saint Nicolas, and with E. M. Forster, he was co-librettist for Billy Budd. Britten, Crozier, and designer John Piper founded the English Opera Group. The endeavour was based on ‘the Britten–Crozier doctrine’ that sought the group’s own autonomy and ultimately a home to produce such works. That home was largely realised in the founding of the Aldeburgh Festival of Music and the Arts in 1948, for which Crozier was a founder and co-artistic director.
Chapter 5, “Information Wars,” is the opening case study of four intelligentsia-built resistance systems, which consider how the intelligentsia responded to Nazi persecution with projects bent on maintaining national traditions and rebuilding a Polish state. It examines the one that undergirds the rest: underground information creation and trafficking that kept the elite connected and funneled news into and out of the city. In response to the closure of Polish-language press, radio bookstores, and libraries, a number of educated Poles created an underground world of secret newsletters and journals to keep the city informed about occupier behavior and the circumstances of the wider war. This project involved entangled networks of individuals who were brutally punished if caught, and the work of writing, editing, couriering, and reading underground press initiated many Varsovians into anti-Nazi “conspiracies.” Information sourced in the occupied city was not merely for local consumption but was painstakingly smuggled out by a sprawling network of Polish and international couriers toting encrypted information to the states of the Grand Alliance. This chapter argues that the ability of Poles in Warsaw to counter Nazi propaganda narratives with their own information was essential to all later successful opposition.
This chapter highlights four (often conflicting) ways in which the scientific, sociological, and literary discourse of the modernist period conceives of radio as constituting identity: by producing a national community, by enabling connections between nations, by extending the bodily nervous system, and by producing a specific kind of individual, the listener. It demonstrates that Woolf takes an active role in conceptualizing and negotiating the future of radio. The first section, ‘Radio Selves’, argues that Woolf’s representations of radio are much more aligned with the idea that radio is a vehicle for internationalism, and the idea that it extends the sensory capacity of the body, than with the conception of a national radio community. The second section considers Woolf’s construction of 'The Listener'. Through an analysis of archival documents about the formation of the BBC’s Listener Research Unit, it identifies resonances between Woolf’s depiction of a responsive audience in Between the Acts and statements by BBC producers promoting the listener’s active participation in the making of radio. The chapter concludes by reading Between the Acts as a utopian fantasy in which thoughts are perfectly communicable and individualities mingle and merge in the ether – a fantasy founded upon the connective power of radio.
This book offers an extensive analysis of Woolf's engagement with science. It demonstrates that science is integral to the construction of identity in Woolf's novels of the 1930s and 1940s, and identifies a little-explored source for Woolf's scientific knowledge: BBC scientific radio broadcasts. By analyzing this unstudied primary material, it traces the application of scientific concepts to questions of identity and highlights a single concept that is shared across multiple disciplines in the modernist period: the idea that modern science undermined individualized conceptions of the self. It broadens our understanding of the relationship between modernism and radio, modernism and science, and demonstrates the importance of science to Woolf's later novels.
This chapter considers intersections between the histories of literature and of telecommunication technologies – telegraph, telephone, radio – in the first decades of the twentieth century. Early in the century, some readers might have encountered ‘Hertzian waves’ for the first time when Kipling drew on them as figures for determinism, invisible influence, and the unconscious. Technologies of telecommunication also offered a reference point for a modern sense of simultaneous connection and disconnection in the works of authors technophilic (Wells), technophobic (Forster, Eliot), or more conflicted (Ford), as well as those whose attitudes towards technology were at times even harder to parse (Joyce, Woolf). The cryptic codes of telegraphy, the decoupling of the voice from body on the wire and the airwaves, the emergent possibilities of a mass culture broadcast into the air in real time: all of these helped reshape not only the media ecology in which print works had value and meaning, but also some of the most urgent questions facing authors in the century’s opening decades, questions of the relationships between culture and subjectivity, fragmentation and totality, signal and noise.
Chapter 7 examines the mindset of Newton Minow, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman who summed up the regulator’s view of television by calling it a “vast wasteland.” Minow championed public interest regulation of the broadcast medium based on the theory that the electromagnetic spectrum is scarce and that the government must allocate broadcast licenses and regulate the content of programming. But the spectrum is no more scarce than any other economic good, and the events that led to federal control over broadcasting were contrived to extend government control over the medium. Minow and other like-minded regulators deny that this type of control is censorship, but their efforts caused diminished diversity in programming and dampened innovation. Further, the tenets of broadcast regulation were undermined as new technologies emerged, although that fact did not deter Minow and other like-minded regulators from advocating more government control. Since then, the law and the culture have moved on, rendering the positions that Minow espoused obsolete.
This chapter argues that, while Shakespeare was deployed in World War II Britain for propaganda purposes, references to the playwright or his works also exposed rifts or contradictions within the national culture he was called upon to embody. It focuses on three major media in which Shakespeare was performed, adapted, or appropriated: the theater, the radio, and the cinema. Whereas state intervention fostered the performance of Shakespearean drama throughout the nation, the BBC underwent dramatic changes that meant that, while Britain’s national poet remained central to its mission, he was also associated with an elitist model of broadcasting whose hegemony was overturned during the war years. As for film, wartime Shakespearean appropriations show that the playwright could trouble propaganda imperatives as well as support them. In sum, while Shakespeare was a cornerstone of British wartime nationalism, he additionally served as a register of cultural, regional, and social difference.
Studs Terkel was a pivotal figure in the popularization of oral history as a literary genre and he is a key point of reference in today’s cultural radio and podcasting worlds. He was also one of the central synthesizers and champions of Chicago literature, drawing deep inspiration from earlier writers and advocating for subsequent generations. This chapter explores how Terkel crafted a variety of inventive “literary lives”: 1) Urban Literary Mythmaker, 2) Eclectic Disc Jockey, 3) Coach for Chicago’s Literary Scene, 4) Co-founder of a Peoples’ Oral History, 5) Soapbox Poet, 6) Global Literary Ambassador, 7) Sidewalk Professor, 8) Memory Palace Archivist, and 9) Humanist Trickster. Key biographic events in Terkel’s life and his links with other key Chicago writers are explored.
When Stoppard began his career, British television and radio offered welcome venues and patronage for his writing. Over the years, the conditions of British radio have proved far more amenable to Stoppard’s talents and temperament than television’s have. The richly verbal quality of Stoppard’s drama has led to adaptations of a large portion of his theatrical oeuvre, and his frequent presence on both highbrow and mainstream stations testifies to his ability to balance artistic reputation and audience appeal.
This essay introduces Brecht’s oft-neglected interviews. First, it reviews efforts to incorporate these interviews in (or exclude them from) his body of work, before outlining Brecht’s own interest in the form as a both a source of material and a platform for his views. At the center of the article is an examination of Brecht’s interview with Die literarische Welt in 1926. Archival material is used to illuminate the process of construction behind the conversation, which contains Brecht’s first discussion of epic theater. Finally, the article sketches two key influences on the development of his interviews: his embrace of radio as a new medium and his commitment to Marxist media tactics.
Hamit Bozarslan, Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, Paris,Cengiz Gunes, The Open University, Milton Keynes,Veli Yadirgi, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London
The Yezidis (also spelled Yazidi or, in Kurdish, Êzdî) are a Kurmanji (northern Kurdish)-speaking religious minority that are spread across northern Iraq, Syria, the Caucasus (Armenia and Georgia) and Western Europe. Today, the largest group of Yezidis live in northern Iraq, which is also home to most of the holy sites. The Yezidis who settled in the Caucasus had left Anatolia during the nineteenth century as well as during the First World War. Since the collapse of the USSR, unemployment and ethnic tensions have pushed many Yezidis from the Caucasus towards Russia, Ukraine or Western Europe. This chapter will set out (i) the Yezidi presence in the USSR with (ii) a focus on their role in the development of Kurdish studies and cultural institutions, as well as (iii) drawing a picture of how the Yezidi presence has evolved after the end of the Soviet Union, especially centring on new identity debates and the relations between the Yezidis and Kurdish movements in the diaspora.
American broadcasting, unique among media industries, relied on sponsors and their ad agencies for program content from the 1920s through the 1950s. Some sponsors broadcast educational or culturally uplifting programs to burnish their corporate images. By the mid-1960s, however, commercial broadcasting had transformed, and advertisers could only buy interstitial minutes for interrupting commercials, during which they wooed cynical consumers with entertaining soft-sell appeals. The midcentury shifts in institutional power in US broadcasting among corporate sponsors, advertising agencies, and radio/television networks reflected a fundamental shift in beliefs about how to use broadcasting as an advertising medium.
Oreskes, Conway and Tyson ask a deceptively simple question: how did so many Americanscome to believe that economic and political freedoms are indivisible from one another? Onepart of the answer involves organized campaigns by trade associations to sell neoliberalprinciples to the American people. This chapter examines one such campaign: the NationalAssociation of Manufacturers’ propaganda effort of 1935–1940. A central part of thiscampaign was the radio show The American Family Robinson. This folksy drama of small-townAmerican life didactically warned of “foreign” socialist theories and reassuredlisteners of the beneficence of business leaders. The program offers a case studyin corporate propaganda. In its bid to convince listeners that the American way of lifedepends on the free market – and that any move toward social democracy presents athreat – the show dramatizes argumentative and rhetorical procedures that continue toshape American political culture.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, as even a glance at recent news articles suggests, is a text which we perennially feel the need to bring to bear upon our own circumstances. Rather than exploring the ways in which our circumstances align with those of Orwell’s novel, this chapter instead considers the complicity of stage, screen, and radio adaptations of Nineteen Eighty-Four in promoting a sense of its perpetual pertinence to the world today. Moving from a radio adaptation starring David Niven broadcast months after the novel’s publication to a ballet produced sixty years later, this chapter charts the changing contexts in which eleven adaptations of Nineteen Eighty-Four have been staged, arguing that various readings (and misreadings) are encouraged, both subtly and overtly, by adaptations with a commercial stake in securing the primacy and continued relevance of Orwell’s work. Following this line of thought, the chapter questions the elements of Orwell’s work which have secured its popularity, considering the changes and replications of adaptation as, respectively, mitigation for the ephemerality of Orwell’s satire and an exposure of his own ambivalent relationship to the qualities of popular fiction which he derides as ‘prolefeed’.
Here, I outline the nature of the electromagnetic spectrum. I note that various living organisms can detect ultraviolet, visible, and infrared wavelengths, but that none can detect the longer wavelengths of radio. This may be partly due to the fact that there is little to be gained from evolving such an ability and partly because unrealistically large eyes would be required to ‘see’ these long wavelengths. I then turn to human use of radio, which began in the early twentieth century. I consider the question of when the ‘radio age’ started, from the perspective of our transmissions into space – both accidental and deliberate. Leakage of broadcasts could have occurred since the 1920s; messages specifically aimed into space began in the 1960s. When the radio age will end is hard to predict; guessing how long other broadcasting civilizations will last is even harder. However, using both optimistic and pessimistic figures, I use the Drake equation to guestimate how many broadcasting civilizations there are in the Milky Way right now. The result: anything from just one (us) to about a quarter of a million. I end by stressing the difference between radio waves and radio signals.
The disruptive power of technological innovation is one of the defining features of modern life. The presidential nomination process is no exception. Changes in communication technology have profoundly shaped how presidential candidates conduct their campaigns. First radio, then television, and more recently the internet have successively emerged as essential tools for effective political communication. A presidential candidate cannot compete without embracing the new communication technologies of the day. But the adoption of new technology has relentlessly increased campaign costs for more than a century. This chapter examines how technology has shaped the presidential nomination process, making the pursuit of the White House an ever more expensive proposition.
This chapter considers a range of methods for writing about literary soundscapes. R. Murray Schafer’s seminal coinage of soundscape residually informs current debates about the sonic dimensions of literary form, but the discursive alignment of print and voice and reading and listening is an enduring aspect of the history of modern literature. This history extends from the capacious descriptive ambition of the realist novel through to, and beyond, literary modernism’s experimental ambition to capture the sounds of modern life at a critical moment when an array of recording devices emerged to do what literature could not – record sound in real time. Spanning from Charles Dickens to Elizabeth Bowen, this chapter analyses the various ways writers from the nineteenth century to the present have responded to the sound worlds in which they lived by attending to the distinctive sonic textures of literary language and its unique capacity to channel the rhythms and voices of everyday socially embodied sound.
In the Soviet Union, song competitions had an important role in presenting new artists and songs. The Mikrofona aptauja contest of Latvian radio (1968–1994) was the main forum for new Latvian pop music. It had a reputation for expressing nationalist feelings within the limits of Soviet censorship. In 1988, with the rise of new political movements in the Soviet Union, the competition became a venue for the Latvian independence movement. The winning song of 1988 was a demand for ‘freedom to the fatherland’. The competition also played a part in the rehabilitation of pre-war popular music which had been forbidden in Soviet Latvia. The paper discusses the role of journalists, politicians and songwriters in this process. After the privatisation of the economy, the song competition was taken over by private entrepreneurs, as public interest in political songs waned.