by Judith Pascoe
University of Michigan Press, 2013
eISBN: 978-0-472-02795-8 | Paper: 978-0-472-03569-4 | Cloth: 978-0-472-11766-6
Library of Congress Classification PN2598.S5P35 2011
Dewey Decimal Classification 792.028092


“The theatre scholar’s daunting but irresistible quest to recover some echoes of performance of the past has never been more engagingly presented than in Pascoe’s account of tracing the long-silenced voice of Sarah Siddons. Her report is a warm, witty, and highly informative exploration of the methodology and the pleasures of historical research.”
—Marvin Carlson, author of The Haunted Stage: The Theatre as Memory Machine

During her lifetime (1755–1831), English actress Sarah Siddons was an international celebrity acclaimed for her performances of tragic heroines. We know what she looked like—an endless number of artists asked her to sit for portraits and sculptures—but what of her famous voice, reported to cause audiences to hyperventilate or faint? In The Sarah Siddons Audio Files, Judith Pascoe takes readers on a journey to discover how the actor’s voice actually sounded. In lively and engaging prose, Pascoe retraces her quixotic search, which leads her to enroll in a “Voice for Actors” class, to collect Lady Macbeth voice prints, and to listen more carefully to the soundscape of her life.

Bringing together archival discoveries, sound recording history, and media theory, Pascoe shows how romantic poets’ preoccupation with voices is linked to a larger cultural anxiety about the voice’s ephemerality. The Sarah Siddons Audio Files contributes to a growing body of work on the fascinating history of sound and will engage a broad audience interested in how recording technology has altered human experience.

See other books on: 1755-1831 | Acting & Auditioning | Performances | Romanticism | Siddons, Sarah
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