Out of Print

Mediating Information in the Novel and the Book

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Julia Panko

Through technological experiments, readers have seen the concept of the book change over the years, and the novel reflects these experiments, acting as a kind of archive for information. Out of Print reveals that the novel continues to shape popular understandings of information culture, even as it adapts to engage with new media and new practices of mediating information in the digital age.

This innovative study chronicles how the print book has fared as both novelists and the burgeoning profession of information science have grappled with unprecedented quantities of data across the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. As the novel’s archival project took a critical turn from realism to an investigation of the structures, possibilities, and ideologies of information media, novelists have considered ideas about how data can best be collected and stored. Julia Panko pairs case studies from information history with close readings of modernist works such as James Joyce’s Ulysses and Virginia Woolf’s Orlando and contemporary novels from Jonathan Safran Foer, Stephen King, and Mark Z. Danielewski that emphasize their own informational qualities and experiment with the aesthetic potential of the print book.

Cover design by Rebecca Neimark, Twenty-Six Letters. Cover art by Su Blackwell, The Book of the Lost © 2010. Courtesy of the artist. www.sublackwell.co.uk




Information beyond the Book
Scale, Mediation, and the Novel Since Modernism

Chapter 1
Information Shock
Systematic Management and the Modernist Novel

Chapter 2
Form in the Cloud
Computational Mediation and the Contemporary Novel

Chapter 3
Haptic Storage
Disembodied Information, Textual Materiality, and the Representation of the Subject

Chapter 4
Bodies of Information
Digital Immortality and the Corporeality of Books

Chapter 5
Shelf Life
Media Transition, the Death of the Novel, and the Futures of the Book