By Mark Goble
Considering texts by way of Henry James, Gertrude Stein, James Weldon Johnson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, James Agee, and William Carlos Williams, along movie, portray, tune, and pop culture, Mark Goble explores the advance of yankee modernism because it used to be formed by way of its reaction to expertise and an try and swap how literature itself may possibly communicate.
Goble's unique readings reinterpret the aesthetics of modernism within the early 20th century, whilst new modes of conversation made the adventure of know-how an party for profound experimentation and mirrored image. He follows the assimilation of such "old" media applied sciences because the telegraph, cell, and phonograph and their function in inspiring fantasies of connection, which trained a dedication to the materiality of inventive mediums. Describing how relationships made attainable by expertise grew to become extra powerfully skilled with expertise, Goble explores a modernist fetish for media that indicates no symptoms of abating. The "mediated lifestyles" places know-how into communique with a sequence of shifts in how american citizens conceive the mechanics and meanings in their connections to each other, and consequently to the area and to their very own modernity.
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Extra resources for Beautiful circuits : modernism and the mediated life
In the Cage” signals a particular intensification in the way James renders some of his most intimate fascinations as powerfully technologized by the modern world. “This was neither more nor less,” writes James of what his nameless telegrapher comes to feel, “than the queer extension of her experience” (845). Since almost all of James’s characters are subjected to one form of “extension” or another—epistemological, psychological, moral, erotic—the story’s telegraphic milieu and decidedly down-market setting in a grocery (pervaded by “the presence of hams, cheese, dried fish, soap, varnish, paraffin, and other solids and fluids”) do not so much break new ground for James as extend some of his familiar preoccupations to a different class of “reacting organism” (835).
To restore the identity of an art the opacity of its medium must be emphasized” (32). ” “Pure painting and pure sculpture,” he writes, “seek above all else to affect the spectator physically. In poetry . . it is decided that the medium is essentially psychological and sub- or supra-logical. The poem is to aim at the general consciousness of the reader, not simply his intelligence” (33). McLuhan offered one of his few extended treatments of literary modernism in “Joyce, Mallarmé, and the Press,” which appeared in the auspicious pages of the Sewanee Review in 1953.
Thayer’s melodrama makes clear that modern technologies of communication inspired their own versions of sexual experience, where the carnality of desire became largely the aftereffect of a medium’s materiality. This is a calculus of sexuality and technology that we find as well in popular accounts of long-distance romances appearing in such compilations as Lightning Flashes and Electric Dashes and other fiction aimed at practicing telegraphers who were able to read the passages of Morse code that featured prominently in the narratives themselves.