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Metamedia

American Book Fictions and Literary Print Culture after Digitization

Alexander Starre (author) Matthew P. Brown (Series edited by)

ISBN: 9781609383596

Publication Date: Aug 2015

Format: Paperback

Does literature need the book? With electronic texts and reading devices growing increasingly popular, the codex is no longer the default format of fiction. Yet as Alexander Starre shows in Metamedia, American literature has rediscovered the book as an artistic medium after the first ebook hype in the late 1990s.
£57.95

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Does literature need the book? With electronic texts and reading devices growing increasingly popular, the codex is no longer the default format of fiction. Yet as Alexander Starre shows in Metamedia, American literature has rediscovered the book as anartistic medium after the first ebook hype in the late 1990s. By fusing narrative and design, a number of “bibliographic” writers have created reflexive fictions—metamedia—that invite us to read printed formats in new ways. Their work challenges ingrainedtheories and beliefs about literary communication and its connections to technology and materiality. Metamedia explores the book as a medium that matters and introduces innovative critical concepts to better grasp its narrative significance.

Combining sustained textual analysis with impulses from the fields of book history, media studies, and systems theory, Starre explains the aesthetics and the cultural work of complex material fictions, such as Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves (2000), Chip Kidd’s The Cheese Monkeys (2001), Salvador Plascencia’s The People of Paper (2005), Reif Larsen’s The Selected Works of T. S. Spivet (2009), and Jonathan Safran Foer’s Tree of Codes (2010). He also broadens his analysis beyond the genre of the novel in an extensive account of the influential literary magazine McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern and its founder, Dave Eggers.

For this millennial generation of writers and publishers, the computer was never a threat to print culture, but a powerful tool to make better books. In careful close readings, Starre puts typefaces, layouts, and cover designs on the map of literary criticism. At the same time, the book steers clear of bibliophile nostalgia and technological euphoria as it follows writers, designers, and publishers in the process of shaping the surprising history of literary bookmaking after digitization.
Illustrations 10 black & white images
Pages 316
Dimensions 229 x 152
Date Published 30 Aug 2015
Publisher University of Iowa Press
Series Impressions: Studies in the Art, Culture, and Future of Books
Subject/s Literature: history & criticism   Digital lifestyle   Material culture   Publishing industry  
Alexander Starre is an assistant professor of North American Studies at Freie Universität Berlin. He has published articles and book chapters on contemporary American literature, literary theory, graphic narratives, and ecocriticism. He lives in Göttingen, Germany.

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