Reconfiguring the history of early cinema through the phonograph, 1877-1908

Patrick Feaster*, Jacob Smith

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This paper invites a reconsideration of the history of early cinema in terms of the phonograph through four specific areas of inquiry: early practices and discourses of visualized phonography; genre and narrative on early phonograph records; phonograph performers as precursors to film stars; and phonographic representations of cinema-going and other adjacent popular entertainments. It responds to Andre Gaudreault's broader call for the study of the "intermedial status" of the cinema through a better understanding of the intermedial links between early cinema and adjacent media forms. The study of the phonograph in relation to cinema reveals the radical interdependence of the emerging media of the turn of the century and the richness of the archive of recorded sound for media and cultural historians.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-325
Number of pages15
JournalFilm History: An International Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2009


  • Cinema
  • Film sound
  • Intermediality
  • Minstrelsy
  • Narrative
  • Performance
  • Phonograph
  • Re-enactment
  • Stardom
  • Travel films
  • Vaudeville

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • History
  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts


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