ENGL 561A 001 Technology and Literature in Victorian and Early-Modernist British Fiction – Term 1

Instructor: Suzy Anger
Term: 1
Meets: Thursday 10:00 am-12:30 pm, Buchanan Tower 597

Course Description

New technologies emerged in the nineteenth- and early twentieth-centuries that transformed conceptions of time, space, and the self, influencing the form and content of fiction. Trains, and later automobiles, allowed for rapid travel; electricity illuminated cities, altering perceptions of the relations between night and day; the telegraph enabled instantaneous, seemingly incorporeal, communication across distances; sound recording and radio delivered disembodied voices. In this seminar, we will consider the ways in which technologies of communication, perception, transportation, industry, and recording altered the culture and shaped literary texts. We will examine emerging technologies as they are represented in literature, and consider the effect of new technologies such as the train, the telegraph, the phonograph, wireless, and the motion picture on the form of narrative from the mid-nineteenth century into early modernism. Topics discussed will include technology and consciousness, technology and perception, industrialism and the environment, globalization and imperialism, technology and the supernatural (psychic studies, spiritual telegraphy, ghost photography), automata and technology and the body.

This seminar counts for STS credit.