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Germany in the Loud Twentieth CenturyAn Introduction$
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Florence Feiereisen and Alexandra Merley Hill

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199759392

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199759392.001.0001

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When Only the Ears Are Awake

When Only the Ears Are Awake

Günter Eich and the Acoustical Unconscious

(p.35) Chapter 2 When Only the Ears Are Awake
Germany in the Loud Twentieth Century

Robert G Ryder

Oxford University Press

The first section of this chapter explores a theory of the acoustical unconscious and how it can be applied to listening to radio. The notion of an acoustical unconscious is largely derived from Walter Benjamin’s reflections on radio and the optical unconscious. In the second part of the chapter, the author argues that the motif of ambiguity in Günter Eich’s famous radio play, Dreams  (1951), which decenters the listeners’ own sense of self and what is real, taps into an acoustical unconscious that forces listeners to awaken to and contend with the collective history of which they are a part.

Keywords:   Eich, acoustical unconscious, radio, radio play, Dreams, Walter Benjamin, collective history

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