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Refiguring American Music

Audible Empire: Music, Global Politics, Critique

Edited by
Ronald Radano
Ronald Radano

Ronald Radano is Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of Lying up a Nation: Race and Black Music

 

Tejumola Olaniyan is Louise Durham Mead Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of Arrest the Music! Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics.

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Tejumola Olaniyan
Tejumola Olaniyan

Ronald Radano is Professor of Music at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of Lying up a Nation: Race and Black Music

 

Tejumola Olaniyan is Louise Durham Mead Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and the author of Arrest the Music! Fela and His Rebel Art and Politics.

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Duke University Press
ISBN electronic:
978-0-8223-7494-7
Publication date:
2016
Book Chapter

Echo and Anthem: Representing Sound, Music, and Difference in Two Colonial Modern Novels

By
Amanda Weidman
Amanda Weidman
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Published:
January 2016

This essay addresses the ideological work of aurality in two now-classic novels that chronicle the last days of the British Empire and the emergence of Indian nationalism: E. M. Forster’s A Passage to India (1924) and Rabindranath Tagore’s The Home and the World (1919). Both novels make striking and consistent use of aural imagery, evoking a soundscape through references to noise, music, communication and sound reproduction technologies, and spoken language. Music and sound serve as more than atmospheric detail in these novels; they propel the stories and serve as the ground on which racial, cultural, and national differences are established. Investing the aural with the power to produce competing affects and allegiances, these novels articulate it as a primary site of struggle within a late colonial context influenced by nineteenth-century discourses about sound and noise, the technological modernity of the early twentieth century, and the emergence of Indian nationalism.

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