chapter  3
15 Pages

The Audiographic Impulse: Doing Literature with the Tape Recorder: Jesper Olsson


In the spring of 1951, the Swedish electronics company Luxor-founded in the 1920s, as the excavation of Tutankhamun’s tomb made headlines across the world-began to put out a publication called Trådnytt (Wire news). More of a pamphlet than a magazine, the publication employed, during its four years of existence, a variety of textual genres and modes. Reportage, interviews, short stories, reader queries, and contests covered the pages, juxtaposed with information about Luxor’s latest product, which was the actual incentive behind the publishing venture. Interestingly, the initial task of introducing this technological gadget to a public of consumers was given to the art of fi ction. The fi rst text in the fi rst issue (apart from editorial preludes) is a crime story, whose very fi rst and generically overdetermined lines present to us a new machine:

The lips of Sam Lobster curled into a sardonic smile, and a half-choked laughter burst up from his throat as he heard the familiar voice in the loudspeaker of the Magnephone.—What a jerk, he thought. Without fl inching he had walked straight into the exquisite trap. And now the closing line, clear and loud on the wire: “There’s only one way out of my misery. I’ve been a bad person and, what’s worse, I’ve been a bad actor.” And then-the gun shot.1