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The Age of Noise in BritainHearing Modernity$
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James G. Mansell

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780252040672

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252040672.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM ILLINOIS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.illinois.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Illinois University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in ISO for personal use.date: 31 May 2020

Modernity as Crisis

Modernity as Crisis

Noise and “Nerves”

Chapter:
(p.25) 1 Modernity as Crisis
Source:
The Age of Noise in Britain
Author(s):

James G. Mansell

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press
DOI:10.5406/illinois/9780252040672.003.0002

This chapter introduces the main organization that promoted noise abatement in early twentieth-century Britain, the Anti-Noise League led by Thomas Horder, as well as the rise of self-help advice for those suffering from noise sensitivity. Because the League and its supporters mounted a medical critique of noise, the chapter situates noise abatement in its medical historical context, arguing that anti-noise advocates drew on the diagnostic paradigm of neurasthenia. They did so even though this category was increasingly outdated in medical terms following the rise of the new psychology. The use of neurasthenia limited the scientific credibility of noise abatement, but gave it powerful cultural purchase thanks to popular ideas about “nerves.”

Keywords:   nerves, nervousness, neurasthenia, noise abatement, psychology, self-help, city, First World War, Anti-Noise League, Thomas Horder

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