This introductory chapter outlines what early twentieth-century Britons meant when they referred to their “age of noise”. It situates the book in the field of sound studies and especially historical sound studies and outlines the central themes dealt with in the main chapters of the book: sound and modernity; sound and selfhood; and competition between auditory experts in situating ideals for sonic modernity. The chapter introduces the “ways of hearing” approach adopted in the book, explaining what it means to listen with rather than listen to the past
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