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Broadcasting Modernism$
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Debra Rae Cohen, Michael Coyle, and Jane Lewty

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780813033495

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813033495.001.0001

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“We Speak to India”

“We Speak to India”

T. S. Eliot’s Wartime Broadcasts and the Frontiers of Culture

(p.176) Chapter 10 “We Speak to India”
Broadcasting Modernism

Michael Coyle

University Press of Florida

Historians often use the outbreak of war to mark breaks in historical development, but Eliot's radio work suggests the extent to which even the cataclysm of war should be understood in terms of longer historical duration. At precisely the same time Horkheimer and Adorno, responding to the ways that National Socialism had seized German radio, were developing a hermeneutics of suspicion, Eliot continued to understand both radio and the culture to which he saw it as servant in idealist terms. For all the differences between John Reith and Eliot, they shared the conviction that the ideals of “culture” could and must remain untainted by politics. This chapter suggests that this development in Eliot's cultural-critical position could only have happened using the medium and genre of the radio talk.

Keywords:   Ezra Pound, John Reith, India, Adorno, radio talk

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