The page redux : American literature in the information age
- The Page Redux: American Literature in the Information Age argues that American literature of the past three decades has played a central role in reconceptualizing the relationship between literature and technology. The texts analyzed in this dissertation self-consciously approach the book as a technological object and reveal the printed page to be a crucial site for interrogating the capabilities and limitations of several media technologies including cameras, computers, and writing itself. In treating the page as a meaning-bearing graphic interface, this strand of American literature, which includes hybrid texts, graphic novels and experimental fiction, defiantly protests against the alleged obsolescence of print and offers innovative ways for books to remain a viable, valuable communication system in the endless competition between old and new media. The first chapter frames the project's historical arc with an overview of key developments in information inscription and digital culture, showing how these developments have challenged print's dominance as an information storage technology. Building on this analysis in the context of early information age, or pre-digital, literature, the second chapter approaches Theresa Hak Kyung Cha's hybrid text, Dictée (1982), not as the experimental novel that it is often labeled, but as a work of media theory that critiques communication systems and the politics of historiography. The third chapter examines interactions between media technologies and literature in the form of graphic novels. Analyzing Art Spiegelman's Maus (1986; 1991) and Alison Bechdel's Fun Home (2006), this chapter illustrates how word and image combinations work to destabilize various technologies' ability to accurately record information, and in the process generate an ironic authenticity that stems from the traditionally anti-realist comics form. The last two chapters attend to American literature of the new millennium. The first of these situates Mark Z. Danielewski's experimental novel House of Leaves (2000) at the intersection of space, technology and narrative and contends that the text stages a confrontation between analog and digital technologies that exposes the mediatedness of all narrative, regardless of the technology used to record it, and ultimately attests to the value of interpretation in a hypermediated world. To conclude the project, the final chapter considers Jonathan Safran Foer's die-cut book, Tree of Codes (2010), in relation to recent developments in media technologies and digital culture. Grating against intangibility and digital culture's drive to convert atoms into bits, Foer's hypermaterial novel further demonstrates that in the last few decades the physical space of the page has become an increasingly animated site for reconsidering how media technologies affect literary studies and how older media forms, such as the book, reemerge as flexible communication systems capable of co-evolving with the digital rather than being consumed by it.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Bilsky, Brianne Nicole
|Stanford University, English Department
|Heise, Ursula K
|Heise, Ursula K
|Statement of responsibility
|Submitted to the Department of English.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2012.
- © 2012 by Brianne Nicole Bilsky
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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