Professor Robert Vilain - inaugural lecture

Professor of German and Head of the School of Modern Languages Professor Robert Vilain
This lecture took place on Wednesday 25 March 2015 

“Only (dis)connect”: Literary Telephony in European Modernism

Making or thwarting connections, the telephone was variously ‘the sound of distance overcome’ or an apparatus for generating frustration – it penetrated ‘the mask of the face’ or it ripped the spoken word from its natural bodily habitat. With illustrations from Kafka, Hofmannsthal, Kraus, Proust, Joyce, Woolf, Marinetti, and many others, Professor Vilain’s lecture looks at how early 20th-century European literature represented changes in the mechanisms of communication and social ritual brought about by the telephone, and explores the consequences of such changes for language, the mind, and even the soul.