Coda: Instruction and Excavation

in Theater of the Mind

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780226853505
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226853529 | DOI:
Coda: Instruction and Excavation

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In 2011, Norman Corwin, the singular radio dramatist of his era, died a national treasure at the age of more than 100. He became synonymous with the glorious era of broadcasting late in life, and remade his play “We Hold These Truths,” originally written in 1941, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bill of Rights in 1991. This chapter argues that things such as the scale of the audience and the nature of the media platform are not only attractive features of the “voice” of classic radio but also the very precondition of its aesthetics. To truly rebroadcast radio plays such as “The Fall of the City,” “The Hitch-Hiker,” or “Zero Hour,” the network system must be re-created. For the art of listening to fit the art of sound that it engages, and for absorption to become one with instruction, it is necessary to listen over the course of many years as part of a large public.

Keywords: Norman Corwin; radio plays; listening; broadcasting; audience; aesthetics; Zero Hour; Fall of City; Hitch-Hiker; sound

Chapter.  2109 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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