Beautiful Circuits: Modernism and the Mediated Life

Kobo ebook | August 20, 2010

byMark Goble

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Mark Goble revisits 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. Goble shows how the assimilation of such "old" media technologies as the telegraph, telephone, and phonograph inspired fantasies of connection that 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 conceived the mechanics and meanings of their connections to one another, to the world, and to their own modernity. 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, Beautiful Circuits explores American modernism as it was shaped by a response to high technology and an attempt to change how literature itself could communicate.

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Mark Goble revisits 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. Goble shows how the assimilation of such "old" media technologies as the telegraph, telephone, and phonograph inspired fantasies of co...

Mark Goble is associate professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley.
Format:Kobo ebookPublished:August 20, 2010Publisher:Columbia University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0231518404

ISBN - 13:9780231518406

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Introduction: "Communications Now Are Love"
Part I: Communications
1. Pleasure at a Distance in Henry James and Others
"The Idea of Connectibility"
The Novel of Circumlocution
Falling in Love with Media
When a "C" Loves an "N"
Mrs. Newsome's Cables
The Intensity of Intimation
Master, Dictator, Messenger Boy
2. Love and Noise
When Gertrude Stein Checks in to Grand Hotel
The World of Cameo Appearances
Celebrity from the Inside Out
Ecstasies of Communication
The Static of Sex
Gertrude Stein Superstar
Part II: Records
3. Soundtracks: Modernism, Fidelity, Race
"Say It with Music"
The Racial Apparatus
The Humanola
The Autobiography of an Ex-Phonograph
F. Scott Fitzgerald, Wired for Sound
Race Records
4. The New Permanent Record
On Creating a Disposable Past
Archival Aesthetics
History and Hygiene
"The most inevitably inaccurate of all mediums of record and communication"
After the Colon
Rendered Material: The Index of American Design
Technical Difficulties
Epilogue: Looking Back at Mediums
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

Theoretically sophisticated and well researched this volume includes 44 illustrations that beautifully evidence the technological and cultural developments that affected modernists, thus showing how mediums became their message.