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Chapter 13 - Wires

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 ways in which writers used the rapidly expanding wired networks of electrical communications technologies such as the telegraph and the telephone to reimagine notions of community, nation, and empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The development of electrical communication networks was motivated by, and in turn enabled, the spread of empire in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, establishing models of center and periphery in stark contrast with utopian predictions of global interconnection. Worth shows how telegraph and telephone wires were conceived not only as nerves connecting the globe, but also, acting as the circulatory system of Empire, as veins or arteries – “metaphorical carrier[s] not only of information but of blood.” In addition to establishing wired networks of earthly dominion, the telephone and telegraph opened imaginary connections into the uncanny and the otherworldly, seeming to transgress the boundary between life and death.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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  • Wires
  • Edited by Adam Hammond, University of Toronto
  • Book: Technology and Literature
  • Online publication: 30 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108560740.016
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  • Wires
  • Edited by Adam Hammond, University of Toronto
  • Book: Technology and Literature
  • Online publication: 30 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108560740.016
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Wires
  • Edited by Adam Hammond, University of Toronto
  • Book: Technology and Literature
  • Online publication: 30 November 2023
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108560740.016
Available formats
×