Comparative Textual Media

Comparative Textual Media


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For the past few hundred years, Western cultures have relied on print. When writing was accomplished by a quill pen, inkpot, and paper, it was easy to imagine that writing was nothing more than a means by which writers could transfer their thoughts to readers. The proliferation of technical media in the latter half of the twentieth century has revealed that the relationship between writer and reader is not so simple. From telegraphs and typewriters to wire recorders and a sweeping array of digital computing devices, the complexities of communications technology have made mediality a central concern of the twenty-first century.

Despite the attention given to the development of the media landscape, relatively little is being done in our academic institutions to adjust. In Comparative Textual Media, editors N. Katherine Hayles and Jessica Pressman bring together an impressive range of essays from leading scholars to address the issue, among them Matthew Kirschenbaum on archiving in the digital era, Patricia Crain on the connection between a child’s formation of self and the possession of a book, and Mark Marino exploring how to read a digital text not for content but for traces of its underlying code.

Primarily arguing for seeing print as a medium along with the scroll, electronic literature, and computer games, this volume examines the potential transformations if academic departments embraced a media framework. Ultimately, Comparative Textual Media offers new insights that allow us to understand more deeply the implications of the choices we, and our institutions, are making.

Contributors: Stephanie Boluk, Vassar College; Jessica Brantley, Yale U; Patricia Crain, NYU; Adriana de Souza e Silva, North Carolina State U; Johanna Drucker, UCLA; Thomas Fulton, Rutgers U; Lisa Gitelman, New York U; William A. Johnson, Duke U; Matthew G. Kirschenbaum, U of Maryland; Patrick LeMieux; Mark C. Marino, U of Southern California; Rita Raley, U of California, Santa Barbara; John David Zuern, U of Hawai‘i at Mānoa.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780816680047
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 11/12/2013
Series: Electronic Mediations Series
Pages: 344
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

N. Katherine Hayles is professor of literature at Duke University. She is author of several books, including How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature, and Informatics and Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary.

Table of Contents


Introduction. Making, Critique: A Media Framework
N. Katherine Hayles and Jessica Pressman

Part I. Theories
1. TXTual Practice
Rita Raley
2. Mobile Narratives: Reading and Writing Urban Space with Location-Based Technologies
Adriana de Souza e Silva
3. The .txtual Condition
Matthew G. Kirschenbaum
4. From A to Screen
Johanna Drucker

Part II. Practices
5. Bookrolls as Media
William A. Johnson
6. Dwarven Epitaphs: Procedural Histories in Dwarf Fortress
Stephanie Boluk and Patrick LeMieux
7. Reading Childishly?: A Codicology of the Modern Self
Patricia Crain
8. Print Culture (Other than Codex): Job Printing and Its Importance
Lisa Gitelman

Part III. Recursions
9. Medieval Remediations
Jessica Brantley
10. Gilded Monuments: Shakespeare’s Sonnets, Donne’s Letters, and the Mediated Text
Thomas Fulton
11. Reading Screens: Comparative Perspectives on Computational Poetics
John David Zuern
12. Reading exquisite_code: Critical Code Studies of Literature
Mark C. Marino


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