A Cultural History of Ventriloquism
By (author) Prof. Steven Connor
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Dumbstruck by Prof. Steven Connor
Book DescriptionWhy can none of us hear our own recorded voice without wincing? Why is the telephone still full of such spookiness and erotic possibility? Why does the metaphor of ventriloquism, the art of 'seeming to speak where one is not', speak so resonantly to our contemporary technological condition? These are the kind of questions which impel Steven Connor's wide-ranging, restlessly inquisitive history of ventriloquism and the disembodied voice. He tracks his subject from its first recorded beginnings in ancient Israel and Greece, through the fulminations of early Christian writers against the unholy (and, they believed, obscenely produced) practices of pagan divination, the aberrations of the voice in mysticism, witchcraft and possession, and the strange obsession with the vagrant figure of the ventriloquist, newly conceived as male rather than female, during the Enlightenment. He retrieves the stories of some of the most popular and versatile ventriloquists and polyphonists of the nineteenth century, and investigates the survival of ventriloquial delusions and desires in spiritualism and the 'vocalic uncanny' of technologies like telephone, radio, film, and internet. Learned but lucid, brimming with anecdote and insight, this is much more than an archaeology of one of the most regularly derided but tenaciously enduring of popular arts. It is also a series of virtuoso philosophical and psychological reflections on the problems and astonishments, the raptures and absurdities of the unhoused voice.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780198184331
(242mm x 165mm x 30mm)
Imprint: Oxford University Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 26-Oct-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Prof. Steven Connor
Beckett, Modernism and the Material Imagination, Hardback (June 2014)
This is a collection of authoritative essays on Samuel Beckett's writing from a pre-eminent scholar of twentieth-century literature and culture.
Beyond Words, Hardback (January 2014)
Probing the fringes of human communication, Beyond Words is an account of language outside words: the growls, stutters, ums, and ahs of everyday conversation.
Paraphernalia, Paperback (August 2013)
Why do most women carry handbags, while men rely on pockets? Why do so many houses have bags of bags? And why do we 'let the cat out the bag' or 'give someone the sack'? This title embarks on a historical, philosophical and linguistic journey that explores our relationships with the curious things with which we have a forgotten but daily intimacy.
Matter of Air, Hardback (August 2010)» View all books by Prof. Steven Connor
A quirky, comprehensive, cultural history of our perception of air which examines many aspects of our relationship with air, including pollution and climate change, the development of gas heating and lighting, radio atmospherics, poison gas, the allure of effervescence and the development of explosives.
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Author Biography - Prof. Steven Connor
Steven Connor was educated at Christ's Hospital, Horsham and Wadham College, Oxford, and has taught at Birkbeck College, University of London since 1979, where he is currently Professor of Modern Literature and Theory.
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