We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Profile

Ms Lara Ehrenfried

Extended Hours Assistant in the University Library and Collections

Contact Ms Lara Ehrenfried


Research Project: From Silence to Sound – Early Sound Film and the Late Modernist Novel in Britain, 1930-1945

Lara is a Leverhulme-funded doctoral scholar and her research investigates the deployment of sound in 1930s and 1940s sound film and late modernist novels in Britain. She is interested in the coming of synchronized sound to film and the subsequent re-negotiation of aesthetic conventions and production practices for early sound film in Britain. In parallel, Lara examines the deployment of sound in British late modernist novels by Patrick Hamilton, Jean Rhys, Evelyn Waugh, Rosamond Lehmann, George Orwell, Elizabeth Bowen, Christopher Isherwood, and Henry Green.

In her current project, Lara focuses in particular on the shared cultural concerns and preoccupations of late modernist novels and early sound film. Her research questions in what way sound participates in the representational and communicative strategies that emerge with and through film and late modernist novels in the interwar years and during the Second World War.

In conducting her research, Lara traces how and why sound becomes an important part of 1930s and 1940s strategies of representation in British novels and films. By taking sound as her object of study, Lara is seeking to develop new approaches towards working with sound in the study of twentieth-century literature and culture and she is invested in fostering interdisciplinary approaches in modernist studies. 

While reading for her PhD in English Studies and Visual Culture, Lara is based in the Department of English Studies at Durham and a member of Durham’s Centre for Visual Arts and Culture (CVAC). Her research is supervised by Dr James Smith (Department of English Studies), Professor Janet Stewart (Department of Modern Languages and Cultures), and Professor Jo Fox (Department of History).

Lara holds an MA (Distinction) in English Literary Studies from Durham and a BA in German and English Linguistics and Literary Studies from Bielefeld University (Germany). From January to April 2017, Lara undertook a placement at the Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, where she worked with the photograph-, sound-, and film collections and supported the Museum’s curatorial and public engagement work. From October 2017, Lara will be teaching for Durham’s Department of English Studies as a teaching assistant on the module “Introduction to the Novel”. In the past, she has taught LFA German courses for Durham’s Centre for Foreign Language Study (CFLS) and she has organised a range of academic events and mentored students for her college, St Cuthbert’s Society.

Lara’s main research interests comprise of the relationship between sound, literature, and cinema; late modernism as a literary historical category; the novel as a literary form; sound studies; and developing new interdisciplinary approaches towards literary analysis. She would be happy to hear from students and scholars who share her interest in these fields.

Selected Presentations and Papers

‘Listening to War: The True Glory (1945), WWII Soundtracks, and Dramatizations of History’, Modernist Studies Association Annual Conference MSA 19: Modernism Today, 10-13 August 2017, Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam.

‘Listening to the Lower Classes: Sound as Representational and Political Device in 1930s Novels and British Documentary Film’, Writing the Divide: Literary Culture and Political Engagement in the 1930s, 16 June 2017, University of Durham, Durham.

‘Silence in Early Sound Film: Alfred Hitchcock’s Blackmail’, The Unspoken and the Unspeakable: 1750 – present, 22 April 2017, University of Cambridge, Cambridge.

‘Early Sound Film and the Late Modernist Novel: Patrick Hamilton’s Hangover Square (1941)’, British Association for Modernist Studies: New Work in Modernist Studies, 10 December 2016, Queen Mary University of London, London.

‘Sound and the British Documentary Film: Night Mail (1936)’, Visual Intersections I, 11-13 July 2016, University of Durham, Durham.

Grants and Awards

Durham Leverhulme Doctoral Scholarship in Visual Arts and Culture, 2015-present. The Leverhulme Trust, the University of Durham, and the Centre for Visual Arts and Culture (CVAC).

Is supervised by