By Steven Connor
Connor follows his topic from its early beginnings in historical Israel and Greece, in the course of the outcries of early Christian writers opposed to the unholy (and, they believed, obscenely produced) practices of pagan divination. strangely, he unearths that ladies just like the sibyls of Delphi have been the main voices in those male-dominated instances. Connor then turns to the aberrations of the voice in mysticism, witchcraft and ownership, and the unusual cultural obsession with the vagrant determine of the ventriloquist, newly conceived as male instead of girl, that flourished through the Enlightenment. He retells the tales of a few of the preferred and flexible ventriloquists and polyphonists of the 19th century, and investigates the survival of ventriloquial delusions and needs in spiritualism and the 'vocalic uncanny' of applied sciences just like the phone, radio, movie, and the internet.
Brimming with anecdote and perception, Dumbstruck is a provocative archeology of a possible trivial but profoundly correct presence in human heritage. Its pages overflow with virtuoso philosophical and mental reflections at the difficulties and astonishments, the raptures and absurdities of the unhoused voice.
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