Enduring Words: Literary Narrative in a Changing Media


Winner of the 2010 Susanne K. Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Symbolic Form, sponsored by the Media Ecology Association.
An interdisciplinary study of the condition of narrative fiction in the age of its supposed obsolescence.
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Winner of the 2010 Susanne K. Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship in the Ecology of Symbolic Form, sponsored by the Media Ecology Association.
An interdisciplinary study of the condition of narrative fiction in the age of its supposed obsolescence.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Having coedited (with Joseph Tabbi) Reading Matters: Narrative in the New Media Ecology (1997) and cotranslated (with Geoffrey Winthrop-Young) Friedrich Kittler's Gramophone, Film, Typewriter (CH, Nov'99, 37-1358), Wutz (Weber State Univ.) has already established his reputation in the study of literary narrative and its ongoing relationship with media and technology. This is his first solo volume, and he arranges it in eight chapters--an introductory overview followed by analysis of the impact of new technologies (typewriter, computer, phonograph, film) and digital information culture on human cognition and literary narrative as they are explored in the works of Frank Norris, Malcolm Lowry, E. L. Doctorow, and Richard Powers. Though the book begins well, Wutz's overall argument that print literary narrative has an assured and ongoing place among evolving media is less convincing than are his revelations about the impact of quickly changing media and technologies on the authors and narratives in question. Of particular interest is the author's ambitious attempt to position literary narrative as a useful, lasting reflection on concurrent science and philosophy concerning the nature, purposes, and aims of human consciousness. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through researchers/faculty."

"For those skeptical, despairing, or merely curious about the novel’s survival in the age of multimedia comes the welcome news of Enduring Words. With expert precision, Michael Wutz explains how the novel flourished and became even more insistently itself by assimilating techniques developed by revolutionary aural, visual, and digital technologies—the phonograph, the photograph, the silent, the talking, the color, and the animated film, the computer—without abandoning its own print culture. Enduring Words is a must read in every sense."

—Maria DiBattista, professor at Princeton University and author of Imagining Virginia Woolf and Fast-Talking Dames

 “Enduring Words is an extraordinary assessment of print culture and its offspring, the modern novel. It navigates the history of technology, the history of the modern subject, biopolitics, the history of science, and the cognitive sciences. For Wutz, fictional narrative offers the ‘best possible model’ for what will emerge as a truly electronic art form. His is a much more sophisticated and optimistic take on literature's role in our electronic future, one that opens up new avenues for future research in both literary and media studies.”

—Klaus Benesch, professor at the University of Munich and author of Romantic Cyborgs: Authorship and Technology in the American Renaissance

"Wutz's crisp yet witty and entertaining prose and his original arguments and analysis foreground much that will not fail to command scholarly attention across numerous  disciplines tangentially affiliated with media."--Modern Fiction Studies

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780817316709
  • Publisher: University of Alabama Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2009
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

 Michael Wutz is Presidential Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at Weber State University and the editor of Weber--The Contemporary West.  He is co-editor of Reading Matters: Narrative in the New Media Ecology and co-translator of Friedrich Kittler's Gramophone, Film, Typewriter.

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