Scarcely Human at All: On Glenn Gould's 'Prospects of Recording'

Episode 31 · October 24th, 2018 · 1 hr 16 mins

About this Episode

Most people know Glenn Gould as a brilliant pianist who forever changed how we receive and interpret the works of Europe's great composers: Bach, Beethoven, Schoenberg... But Gould was also an aesthetic theorist who saw a new horizon for the arts in the age of recording technology. In the future, he said, the superstitious cult of history, performance, and authorship would disappear, and the arts would retrieve a "neo-medieval anonymity" that would allow us to see them for what they really are: scarcely human at all. This episode interprets Gould's prophecy with the help of the Canadian media theorist Marshall McLuhan, the Chinese Daoist sage Zhuang Zhou, and the German philosopher Martin Heidegger, among others.


Glenn Gould, "The Prospects of Recording"
Marshall McLuhan's Tetrad of media effects
Ludwig van Beethoven, Concerto no. 3 in C minor
Glenn Gould, "Glenn Gould Interviews Glenn Gould about Glenn Gould"
Glenn Gould and Yehudi Menuhin, dialogue on The Music of Man
Jean-Luc Godard, A Married Woman (A Married Woman)
Heidegger, Der Spiegel interview (1966)
Daoist sage Zhuang Zhou
Walter Benjamin, "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction"
Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange
Marshall McLuhan, The Playboy interview
Marshall McLuhan, The Mechanical Bride
Marshall McLuhan, Understanding Media
Douglas Rushkoff and Michael Avon Oeming, Aleister and Adolph 
Joyce Hatto
Lionel Snell, My Years of Magical Thinking
Kevin Bazzana, Glenn Gould: The Performer in the Work
Phil Ford, “Blogging and the Van Meegeren Syndrome”
David Thompson, Have You Seen...?: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films