Phonographic Books and the Late Nineteenth-Century Reader


"While assimilating the writing on phonographic books produced in the immediate wake of Edison's essays into the history of 'audiobooks' is an important project, one currently being undertaken by Matthew Rubery, this essay is more concerned with tracing continuities between these various responses and mid- to late-nineteenth-century theories of reading that attended to its physiological and technological dimensions. As these responses indicate, the phonograph represented an extension of the socially inscriptive force of reading, to adapt Nicholas Dames, in which the solitary reader was 'not a sign of the atomization of preindustrial sociability, but the very location of contemporary sociability' (44). The novel, more than any other literary form in this period, was associated with an immersive reading experience that fostered distinctively modern 'automatic, or preconscious, styles of consumption' (Dames 44)."

Published 1 October 2014 in Reading Communities and the Circulation of Print. Subjects: Bellamy, Edward, Reading, Technology, Wells, H.G..

Cite as: Groth, Helen. ‘Phonographic Books and the Late Nineteenth-Century Reader.’ Australian Literary Studies, vol. 29, no. 3, 2014, doi: 10.20314/als.dfe18da7c4.