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Chapter 16 - Waves and Rays

from Part II - Developments

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  30 November 2023

Adam Hammond
Affiliation:
University of Toronto
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Summary

This chapter investigates the literary response to the advent of a series of technologies that operated by “waves” and “rays” – among them, wireless telegraphy, radio, X-rays, and over-the-air television. By challenging clear divisions of private and public, internal and external, urban and rural, local and global, national and international, these technologies in turn challenged writers to reimagine the body and body politic in an increasingly postdualistic world. Janechek outlines a “vibratory narrative aesthetic” in the modernist novel – one that sought not to “allegorize or simulate electronic transmission, but rather [to] take advantage of the principles already energizing it.” “No longer beholden to the representation of reality,” Janechek writes, “the novel could conceivably foster direct sensory experience, becoming a connective technology in its own right.”

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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