Josh Epstein is Assistant Professor of English at Portland State University, where he teaches courses in British modernism, film and media studies, and critical theory. He is the author of Sublime Noise: Musical Culture and the Modernist Writer (Johns Hopkins, 2014). He has been working on projects related to the BBC Third Programme, the 1951 Festival of Britain, and the documentary filmmaker Humphrey Jennings.
Is listening the constitutive act of modernity? It seems so. Thanks to a flood of scholarship on aural culture in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century—Emily Thompson's The Soundscape of Modernity (2002), Jonathan Sterne's The Audible Past (2003), and a 2011 special issue of American Quarterly (edited by Kara Keeling and Josh Kun) being just three examples—the act of listening has worked its way into the texture of cultural studies generally and modernist studies specifically.