KENNAWAY, James

Bad vibrations : The history of the idea of music as a cause of disease.

Ashgate 2012

'What an interesting find! From the pen of James Kennaway, a historian of medicine at Durham University with an interest in popular culture, this detailed account of the shifting representation of the nature, hidden dangers and even strategic uses of music now arrives... Bad Vibrations is a perfectly unusual and very informative study.' Jive Talk blog '[Kennaway's] volume, a musicological and literary analysis, offers a compelling cultural history of the nerves and the invention of pathogenic music... [His] approach is refreshingly broadminded.' Social History of Medicine 'Bad Vibrations is a very exciting, well written and intelligent survey with a focus on the dark side of music.' Torture 'This is a pioneering work which provides a strong argument for conceptualizing music as a powerful technology that has shaped, and has been shaped by, Western understandings of disease and health in social as well as individual bodies. It suggests that medical professionals and also the lay public have been as interested in music's degenerative effects as in its healing powers, and paves the way for future research that looks at the complex relationship between these conflicting ideas.' British Journal for the History of Science 'With its ominous title of Bad Vibrations, readers might approach this truly remarkable work of energetic erudition and brilliant scholarly insight with trepidation, but author James Kennaway has produced a thought-provoking opus on the history of music from the perspective of a disciplined medical historian with sufficient scientific knowledge to address the human impact of music and indeed of sounds in general... this is a work destined to become a classic of medical history.' Lawrence Kruger in the Journal of the History of the Neurosciences '... raises a vital discussion in that it seeks to include aesthetic experience, particularly the involuntary and content-free aspects of musical experience, in the history of medicine... the book's conversational diction and capacious arguments for the importance of music to the history of medicine are entirely convincing in their aim of bringing critical attention to the topic.' Year's Work in Critical and Cultural Theory '... Bad Vibrations provides a fascinating study of the intersections of Western medical and musical thought, and it is perhaps one of the few extant books that will appeal simultaneously to scholars of German romanticism, the history of gender and sexuality, Wagner, jazz, heavy metal, and modern neurology. ... an enjoyable read and a worthwhile purchase for any library or scholar seeking a broader perspective on the history of Western music.' Notes 'Bad Vibrations offers a fascinating account that will open many doors through which to explore the lively, curious, and sometimes dark relationship between the musical and the medical, as well as the world of sound in which we live.' ISIS.

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