Beautiful Circuits: Modernism and the Mediated Life

Beautiful Circuits: Modernism and the Mediated Life

by Mark Goble

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Overview

Considering texts by Henry James, Gertrude Stein, James Weldon Johnson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, James Agee, and William Carlos Williams, alongside film, painting, music, and popular culture, Mark Goble explores the development of American modernism as it was shaped by its response to technology and an attempt to change how literature itself could communicate.

Goble's original readings reinterpret the aesthetics of modernism in the early twentieth century, when new modes of communication made the experience of technology an occasion for profound experimentation and reflection. He follows the assimilation of such "old" media technologies as the telegraph, telephone, and phonograph and their role in inspiring fantasies of connection, which informed a commitment to the materiality of artistic mediums. Describing how relationships made possible by technology became more powerfully experienced with technology, Goble explores a modernist fetish for media that shows no signs of abating. The "mediated life" puts technology into communication with a series of shifts in how Americans conceive the mechanics and meanings of their connections to one another, and therefore to the world and to their own modernity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231146708
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 11/02/2010
Pages: 392
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Mark Goble is associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: "Communications Now Are Love"
Part I: Communications
1. Pleasure at a Distance in Henry James and Others
2. Love and Noise
Part II: Records
3. Soundtracks: Modernism, Fidelity, Race
4. The New Permanent Record
Epilogue: Looking Back at Mediums
Notes
Index

What People are Saying About This

Lisa Gitelman

Beautiful Circuits is a fascinating account of modernist literary aesthetics, one that follows the modernist preoccupation with form to an inventive conclusion: a preoccupation with media. Beautifully written and subtly argued, Mark Goble succeeds in showing works by Gertrude Stein, James Agee, and others as so many different nodes within a modernist obsession with communication, mediation, and its intimacies.

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