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Caughie, J.M. (2012)
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Languages: English
Types: Part of book or chapter of book
Subjects: PN0080, PN1990, PN0441
Written in 1974, Raymond Williams's Television: Technology and Cultural Form was to become for many academics, and particularly for academics who approached popular culture from the perspective of the humanities, one of the foundational texts of the study of television, the first and even the only book on reading lists, the book which introduced the concept of ‘flow’ as a way of identifying ‘the defining characteristic of broadcasting’. While, almost forty years later, many of its formulations have worn thin with over-use, Williams's observation on the centrality of televisual dramatic fiction to modern experience still has the force of defamiliarisation: it is still surprising to consider, as if for the first time, how much of our time is spent with, how many of our references are drawn from, or how much the structure of contemporary feeling is shaped by television dramatic fiction in its various forms. ‘It seems probable’, says Williams,\ud that in societies like Britain and the United States more drama is watched in a week or a weekend, by the majority of viewers, than would have been watched in a year or in some cases a lifetime in any previous historical period. It is not uncommon for the majority of viewers to see, regularly, as much as two or three hours of drama, of various kinds, every day. The implications of this have scarcely begun to be considered. It is clearly one of the unique characteristics of advanced industrial societies that drama as an experience is now an intrinsic part of everyday life, at a quantitative level which is so very much greater than any precedent as to see a fundamental qualitative change. Whatever the social and cultural reasons may finally be, it is clear that watching dramatic simulation of a wide range of experiences is now an essential part of our modern cultural pattern. Or, to put it categorically, most people spend more time watching various kinds of drama than in preparing and eating food.
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    • 6 Williams, Television, p. 60.
    • 7 Ibid., p. 61.
    • 8 See M. M. Bakhtin, 'Epic and the Novel' and 'From the Pre-history of Novelistic Discourse', in Michael Holquist (ed.), The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays, trans. Caryl Emerson and Michael Holquist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981).
    • 9 B e´la Bala´ zs, Theory of the Film: Character and Growth of a New Art (New York: Dover, 1970), pp. 21, 33.
    • 10 Ibid., p. 48.
    • 11 Report of the Committee on Broadcasting [Pilkington Committee], (London: HMSO, 1962), Cmnd. 1753.
    • 12 Report of the Committee on Financing the BBC [Peacock Committee], (London: HMSO, 1986), Cmnd. 9824.
    • 13 John Ellis, Seeing Things: Television in the Age of Uncertainty (London: I. B. Tauris, 2002).
    • 14 Geoffrey Nowell-Smith, 'Radio On', Screen 20:3/4 (Winter 1979/80): 29.
    • 15 Virginia Woolf, 'The Reader' (1940), in '“Anon” and “The Reader”: Virginia Woolf's last essays', in Brenda R. Silver (ed.), Twentieth-Century Literature, 25:3/4 (Fall/Winter 1979): 429.
    • 16 John Ellis, Visible Fictions: Cinema, Television, Video (London: Routledge, 1982), pp. 111-26.
    • 17 Carl Grabo, The Technique of the Novel (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1928), p. 67.
    • 18 Christine Geraghty, 'The Continuous Serial - A Definition', in Richard Dyer, Christine Geraghty, Marion Jordan, Terry Lovell, Richard Paterson and John Stewart, Coronation Street (London: BFI Publishing (Television Monograph series), 1981), p. 10.
    • 19 Ibid., p. 11.
    • 20 Tania Modleski, 'The Rhythms of Reception: Daytime Television and Women's Work', in E. Ann Kaplan (ed.), Regarding Television: Critical Approaches (Los Angeles: American Film Institute, 1983), p. 71.
    • 21 Ibid., p. 69.
    • 22 Viewers' letters, Radio Times, 11-17 January 1986, p. 80.
    • 23 Thomas Arnold, Christian Life, Its Course, Its Hindrances, and Its Helps: Sermons, Preached Mostly in the Chapel of Rugby School [1845], quoted in Linda K. Hughes and Michael Lund, The Victorian Serial (Charlottesville, VA, and London: University Press of Virginia, 1991), pp. 2-3.
    • 24 Caroline Levine, The Serious Pleasures of Suspense: Victorian Realism and Narrative Doubt (Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2003), p. 3.
    • 25 Ibid., p. 5.
    • 26 Gillian Beer, Darwin's Plots: Evolutionary Narrative in Darwin, George Eliot and Nineteenth-Century Fiction (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1983), p. 47.
    • 27 Ibid., p. 3.
    • 28 BBC Press Office, 19 December 2003.
    • 29 BBC Press Office, 4 October 2005.
    • 30 Quoted by Robert Giddings (undated), 'Soft-soaping Dickens: Andrew Davies, BBC 1 and Bleak House', on David Purdue's Charles Dickens Page, http:// charlesdickenspage.com/Soft_Soaping_Dickens.html, accessed 11.01.10.
    • 31 Philip Hensher, 'You'll Never Catch Me Watching it', The Guardian, 7 November 2005. Available online at www.guardian.co.uk/media/2005/nov/07/broadcasting. arts, accessed, 12.01.10.
    • 32 Andrew Davies, 'Critical Dedlock', Guardian Unlimited, 9 November 2005: www.guardian.co.uk/culture/culturevultureblog/2005/nov/09/criticaldedloc, accessed 9.06.10.
    • 33 Charles Dickens, Bleak House (1853), ed. Nicola Bradbury (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1996), p. 16.
    • 34 Belen Villasur Vidal, 'Classic Adaptations, Modern Reinventions: Reading the Image in the Contemporary Literary Film', Screen 43:1 (Spring 2002): 8.
    • 35 Sergei Eisenstein, 'Dickens, Griffith, and the film today' (1944), in Eisenstein, Film Form: Essays in Film Theory, ed. and trans. Jay Leyda (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1949), pp. 195-255.
    • 36 Dickens, Bleak House, p. 277.
    • 37 Walter Benjamin, 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Production' (1935), in Hannah Arendt (ed.), Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn (London: Fontana, 1973), pp. 211-44.
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