Article Details

In: KulturPoetik 2017, Issue 2


Burkhardt Wolf


Bei Anruf Angst. Medienkultur eines Affekts




Is there a specific Age of Anxiety, as W. H. Auden’s famous poem (1947) suggests? The paper examines the particular relationship between discourse, technical device and subjectivity that emerged in the 1940s and shaped their peculiar ›culture of anxiety‹: Psychoanalysis fashioned the psyche as an ›annunciator‹ of danger, whereas existentialism referred to a ›call of anxiety‹ that forces one to select one’s own way of being. The telephone and the radio, its technological enhancement, obviously underlay the contemporary conceptions of anxiety. Accordingly, a radio drama like Lucille Fletcher’s Sorry, Wrong Number (1943), focusing on the telephone’s uncanny agency, puts the rule to the test. But what would be a ›noir‹ visualization of anxiety’s transmission, as tried for in the film version directed by Anatole Litvak in 1948?