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The University of Southampton

Dickens, Audiobooks, and Victorian Sound Technology Seminar

Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research
16:00 - 18:00
11 May 2016
Room 2115, Building 65, Avenue Campus, University of Southampton, Southampton, SO17 1BF

Event details

Part of the Spring seminar series organised by Southampton Centre for Nineteenth-Century Research.

Thomas Edison announced his plans to mechanically reproduce the human voice on November 17, 1877. The inaugural recordings consisted of nursery rhymes and snippets of verse, but the advent of phonograph technology nevertheless made it possible to conceive of a recorded book fifty years in advance of its actual completion. Between the phonograph’s debut and the earliest literary recordings of note, a public debate arose over the status of the printed book in the wake of sound-recording technology. The debate centred on the question: ‘Are we to have a new kind of book?’ This talk considers disputes over the book’s future—and Dickens’s surprising prominence in those disputes—in order to reconstruct how the phonograph altered conceptions of the book in the closing decades of the nineteenth century.

Matthew Rubery is Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature at Queen Mary University of London. He is the author of The Novelty of Newspapers: Victorian Fiction after the Invention of the News (2009) and co-editor of Secret Commissions: An Anthology of Victorian Investigative Journalism (2012).

All welcome!


Speaker information

Dr Matthew Rubery, Queen Mary University of London. Reader in Nineteenth-Century Literature

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