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date: 23 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

“No one ever left a cinema with shell-shock” is an apt summary of Michael Bull’s study of the relationship between fighting troops and civilians; between those experiencing sonic warfare and those consuming an imagining of the sounds of war. Bull builds his chapter around evidence and artifacts from World War I—firsthand testimony of those experiencing the sounds of war; attempts to recreate the sound of industrial warfare through poetry, novels, and film; the propaganda of popular song and theatrical revue; and early attempts to record warfare. Bull establishes a trope of sonic realism, and, throughout, shows us that the imagination of that realism on the home front was merely a simulacrum of the everyday, sonic realism experienced by those on the Front; there remains a distance between testimony and mediated reception no less for the sounds of war than for its horrors.

Keywords: World War I, sonic warfare, sonic realism, propaganda, cinema, song, novels, poetry

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