Writing Machines

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Overview

Tracing a journey from the 1950s through the 1990s, N. Katherine Hayles uses the autobiographical persona of Kaye to explore how literature has transformed itself from inscriptions rendered as the flat durable marks of print to the dynamic images of CRT screens, from verbal texts to the diverse sensory modalities of multimedia works, from books to technotexts.

Weaving together Kaye's pseudo-autobiographical narrative with a theorization of contemporary literature in media-specific terms, Hayles examines the ways in which literary texts in every genre and period mutate as they are reconceived and rewritten for electronic formats. As electronic documents become more pervasive, print appears not as the sea in which we swim, transparent because we are so accustomed to its conventions, but rather as a medium with its own assumptions, specificities, and inscription practices. Hayles explores works that focus on the very inscription technologies that produce them, examining three writing machines in depth: Talan Memmott's groundbreaking electronic work Lexia to Perplexia, Mark Z. Danielewski's cult postprint novel House of Leaves, and Tom Phillips's artist's book A Humument. Hayles concludes by speculating on how technotexts affect the development of contemporary subjectivity.

Writing Machines is the second volume in the Mediawork Pamphlets series.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Hayles's book is one of the most exciting examples of technological anti-determinism
I have ever read." Jan Baetens Image [&] Narrative

The MIT Press

"N. Katherine Hayle's Writing Machines is a beautiful little book." Davin Heckman
Reconstruction.ws

The MIT Press

"...one of the most exciting examples of technological anti-determinism I have ever read." Jan Baetens Image [&] Narrative

The MIT Press

"Without a doubt, Writing Machines is an important book...." Dene Grigar Leonardo
Digital Reviews

The MIT Press

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262083119
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 11/15/2002
  • Series: Mediaworks Pamphlets
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

N. Katherine Hayles is Professor of English and Design/Media Arts at the University of
California at Los Angeles.
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Table of Contents

Preface
Ch. 1 Media and Materiality
Ch. 2 Material Metaphors, Technotexts, and Media-Specific Analysis
Ch. 3 Entering the Electronic Environment
Ch. 4 Electronic Literature as Technotext: Lexia to Perplexia
Ch. 5 Experiencing Artists' Books
Ch. 6 A Humument as Technotext: Layered Topographies
Ch. 7 Embodiments of Material Metaphors
Ch. 8 Inhabiting House of Leaves
Source Material
Endtroduction
Designer's Notes
Author's Acknowledgements
Colophon
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