Automatic Writing / Automated Reading: Technology and Transmission in the Modernist Period

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Material Cultures: Technology, Textuality, and Transmission Conference, University of Edinburgh, UK, 16-18 July, 2010
contact email: 
ewhite@brookes.ac.uk

Automatic Writing / Automated Reading: Technology and Transmission in the Modernist Period

Papers are invited for two panels at the ‘Material Cultures: Technology, Textuality, and Transmission’ Conference at the University of Edinburgh, UK, 16-18 July, 2010. The panels will be chaired by Prof. Laura Marcus, Goldsmiths’ Professor of English, University of Oxford and Dr. Eric White, Department of English, Oxford Brookes University.

The rise of literary modernism is inseparable from its key exponents’ interest in aggressively experimental modes of writing. In the late-nineteenth and early/mid-twentieth centuries, a persistent interest in technology as a muse, mediator, and facilitator of new literary models associated with the category the surrealists named ‘automatic writing’ emerged in both avant-garde and mainstream literature. Individual writers such as James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Bob Brown, and William Carlos Williams, as well as visual artists (including Marcel Duchamp and Elsa Von Freytag Loringhoven) paralleled the efforts of Futurists, Dadaists, and Surrealists to give voice, and visible substance, to modes of aesthetic expression that tap the subconscious and extemporaneous realms of human thought and experience that these categories of modernist literature laid claim to. With the ascent of the typewriter, telegraph, cinema, and other recording and data processing equipment, modernists began to imagine (and in some cases, invent) devices that incorporated new information technologies, which challenged traditional boundaries between text and image – between the conscious act of reading and the more elusive realms of thought and experience invoked by automatic writing.

Two panels, entitled ‘Automatic Writing / Automated Reading: Technology and Transmission in the Modernist Period’, will explore how technologies associated with the practice of reading and writing featured in overtly ‘experimental’ modernist literature. The chairs welcome papers from a range of methodological, theoretical, & interdisciplinary approaches. Relevant issues may include:
• Experimental writing and speculative/obsolete reading and writing technology
• Reading/writing technology and the avant-garde
• Experimental writing and the limits of print technology
• Reading/writing technology and the ‘stream of consciousness’ in modernist literature
• Cinema and reading/writing technology in the modernist period
• Automatic writing, technology, and performance

The modernist period will serve as the historical focal point of the panel; however, papers undertaking comparative studies with contemporary subjects, examining the legacy of modernism and reading and writing technology in the digital age, or considering the modernist period as a repository for explorations of earlier reading and writing technologies are also welcomed.

Please send paper proposals of 300 words and a short CV to Prof. Laura Marcus, Goldsmiths’ Professor of English, University of Oxford and Dr. Eric White, Department of English, Oxford Brookes University. Submissions should be sent by e-mail to ewhite@brookes.ac.uk by 28 November, 2009. Please include contact information and any requests for audio-visual equipment.

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african-american
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bibliography_and_history_of_the_book
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
film_and_television
humanities_computing_and_the_internet
international_conferences
poetry
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science_and_culture
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twentieth_century_and_beyond