Adam Frank is Professor in the Department of English Language and Literatures at the University of British Columbia. He has won the James W. Gargano Award for outstanding scholarly essay on Edgar Allan Poe (2005) and a Fundación Valparaíso residency award (2007). In 2013 he was awarded a multi-year Insight Award from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada to pursue the Radio Free Stein project. The author of Transferential Poetics, from Poe to Warhol (2015) and co-author of The Silvan Tomkins Handbook (forthcoming), he has also produced recorded musical audiodramas, as well as a chamber opera that premiered in New York City in 2018.
Nineteenth- and twentieth-century American literature and media, modernist theater, affect and object-relations theory, history of graphic technologies, sound studies, music theater.
Radio Free Stein: Composition, Expression, Performativity
Radio Free Stein is a large-scale critical sound project that addresses the contradictory reception of Gertrude Stein's plays and poetics in twentieth-century theater history by turning to the medium of radio and recorded sound. The project aims to advance the study and understanding of Stein’s plays and poetics in relation to modernist theater and post-modern performance practices; to intervene in the scholarship on radio broadcasting and sound studies by forwarding the conceptual methods of affect and object-relations theory; and to offer contemporary composers an opportunity to explore the relations between words and other sonic elements. The project poses a series of related questions: How can we understand the remarkable influence of Stein's "landscape" poetics on avant-garde, experimental, and other non-naturalist theater? How do Stein's poetics address the relation beween dramatic form and twentieth-century institutions and technologies of broadcasting media, as these seek to regulate affective experience? What might a critical attention to compositional techniques in contemporary music (after John Cage) tell us about these histories? Radio Free Stein proposes a historical, conceptual, and experiential account of Stein's poetics and the music theater tradition it helped to initiate.