Relays: Literature as an Epoch of the Postal System

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“This will be important reading for anyone interested in the enormous influence of communication systems on literature and philosophy.”—Choice

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This will be important reading for anyone interested in the enormous influence of communication systems on literature and philosophy."—Choice
Seeing the postal system as a social and technological matrix, Siegert (Zentrum f<:u>r Literatureforschung, Berlin) looks at its role in determining how literature was produced and what was produced within literature. He covers the logistics of the poet's dream in the 18th century, modern postal systems from 1840 to 1900 and how literary works were supported by the communications, and postal logistics of love and authorship as revealed in Kafka's letters to his fiance. The original was published by Verlag Brinkman and Bose, Berlin, in 1993. No index is included. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780804732383
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/1999
  • Series: Writing Science Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 340
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Bernhard Siegert is a Research Scholar at the Zentrum für Literaturforschung, Berlin. He is co-editor, with Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht and Friedrich Kittler, of Der Dichter als Kommandant: D'Annunzio erobert Fiume.

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Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures
Introduction 1
1 An Epoch of the Postal System 4
Pt. 1 The Logistics of the Poet's Dream
2 On Time (Registered Letter I) 23
3 Gellert's Coup: Folding the Private Letter 30
4 Post Day in Wahlheim 38
5 Set the Controls for the Heart of the Night 43
6 Postage 52
7 Goethe's Postal Empire 62
8 The Timbre of a Calling (Attunement) 74
9 The Logistics of the Poet's Dream: Kleist 84
Pt. 2 On the Way to New Empires 1840-1900
10 System Time (Registered Letter II) 95
11 Postage One Penny: Rowland Hill's Post Office Reform 100
12 The Standards of Writing 108
13 Hill/Babbage/Bentham: The Mechanical Alliance of 1827 122
14 Mail in 1855: A Misuse of Love Letters 128
15 The World Postal System, or The End of the World 136
16 The Postcard 146
17 The Telegraph: Land and Sea 165
18 The Virgin Machine 186
Pt. 3 Mail Beyond Human Communication
19 Typewriter and Carbon Paper 207
20 The Poet's Printed Matter in Extremis 219
21 Mail, or The Impossibility of Writing Letters 227
22 In the Presence of Noise 247
Notes 267
Bibliography 305
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