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The Audible Past: Cultural Origins of Sound Reproduction

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ISBN-13: 978-0822330134
ISBN-10: 082233013X
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Sterne’s] prose moves gracefully and nimbly beneath the academic robes. . . and the topic is so intimately connected to the way we experience the world around us that it can’t help resonating. . . . Forget what you think you know about ours being a visual culture, in which sight is the privileged sense." - Ruth Walker, Christian Science Monitor


"[A] stimulating and provocative work. . . . Sterne excels as a writer. . . . [T]his book will amply reward readers who want a broader perspective on the culture of sound. Sterne's book will no doubt reach the wide readership it deserves." - David Hochfelder, Business History Review


"[P]rovocative. . . . Sterne breaks new ground, focusing on the need to understand sound and listening as issues of history." - Leon Botstein, Los Angeles Times


"[M]eticulously researched. . . . One of the book's most significant achievements is that it revisits a fairly well-worn territory, finds a new and noteworthy story to tell about that territory, and manages to open up a sizable vein of important, yet unexplored, questions about that territory for future research." - Gilbert B. Rodman, Cultural Studies


"[E]xcellent. . . . [A] critical and long-overdue intervention. . . . [B]rilliant. . . . Sterne's research is wide ranging and impressive. . . . This is a book that all scholars of sound should read, to overturn some of our neat assumptions about sound and its technological and cultural manifestations and to clear the ground for new approaches." - Michele Hilmes, American Quarterly


“Jonathan Sterne confronts what is certainly the most challenging topic in the study of auditory culture—what happened when modern technologies came crashing into ways of sound making, communicating and listening—with outstanding results. Through disciplined arguments bolstered by plenty of original research and with refreshing critiques of many cherished notions, The Audible Past forms a basis from which to address central questions of communication studies, musicology and music history, film sound and media studies, perception and culture, all those areas where listening and sound impinge upon cultural history and theory.”—Douglas Kahn, author of Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts


“Jonathan Sterne’s The Audible Past boldly stakes out a largely neglected but important topic, the history of sound in modern life.”—John Durham Peters, author of Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication


”Jonathan Sterne’s The Audible Past has come along to set the record straight on the cultural origins of sounds and systems, on machines and the mechanisms of culture. He’s come here to give us the lowdown on how the technology evolved. Think of the book as a kind of sonic map of the origins of the way we listen to things around us, as a primer for the sonically perplexed.”—Paul D. Miller a.k.a. Dj Spooky that Subliminal Kid


"[A] stimulating and provocative work. . . . Sterne excels as a writer. . . . [T]his book will amply reward readers who want a broader perspective on the culture of sound. Sterne's book will no doubt reach the wide readership it deserves."
(David Hochfelder, Business History Review)

"[E]xcellent. . . . [A] critical and long-overdue intervention. . . . [B]rilliant. . . . Sterne's research is wide ranging and impressive. . . . This is a book that all scholars of sound should read, to overturn some of our neat assumptions about sound and its technological and cultural manifestations and to clear the ground for new approaches."
(Michele Hilmes, American Quarterly)

"[M]eticulously researched. . . . One of the book's most significant achievements is that it revisits a fairly well-worn territory, finds a new and noteworthy story to tell about that territory, and manages to open up a sizable vein of important, yet unexplored, questions about that territory for future research."
(Gilbert B. Rodman, Cultural Studies)

"[P]rovocative. . . . Sterne breaks new ground, focusing on the need to understand sound and listening as issues of history."
(Leon Botstein, Los Angeles Times)

"[Sterne’s] prose moves gracefully and nimbly beneath the academic robes. . . and the topic is so intimately connected to the way we experience the world around us that it can’t help resonating. . . . Forget what you think you know about ours being a visual culture, in which sight is the privileged sense."
(Ruth Walker, Christian Science Monitor)

From the Publisher

"Jonathan Sterne’s The Audible Past boldly stakes out a largely neglected but important topic, the history of sound in modern life."—John Durham Peters, author of Speaking into the Air: A History of the Idea of Communication

"Jonathan Sterne confronts what is certainly the most challenging topic in the study of auditory culture—what happened when modern technologies came crashing into ways of sound making, communicating and listening—with outstanding results. Through disciplined arguments bolstered by plenty of original research, and with refreshing critiques of many cherished notions, The Audible Past forms a basis from which to address central questions of communication studies, musicology and music history, film sound and media studies, perception and culture, all those areas where listening and sound impinge upon cultural history and theory."—Douglas Kahn, author of Noise, Water, Meat: A History of Sound in the Arts

"Jonathan Sterne’s The Audible Past has come along to set the record straight on the cultural origins of sounds and systems, machines and the mechanisms of culture. He’s come here to give us the lowdown on how the technology evolved. Think of the book as a kind of sonic map of the origins of the way we listen to things around us, as a primer for the sonically perplexed."—Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid

See all Editorial Reviews
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 472 pages
  • Publisher: Duke University Press Books (March 13, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 082233013X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822330134
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #302,753 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By hunter on March 13, 2013
Format: Paperback
Got hooked on this book after reading chapters for my anthro class (Technology Media and Perception). Sterne's writing style is quite informative but without being quite as dry as a lot of cultural theory you might read (have read). If you are into music recording, editing, production, playing, media studies, cultural studies, anthropology, or are just looking for some interesting nonficiton then this is a good book to check out. Really, really cool stuff.
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By David on April 17, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Amazing Book!
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