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Pivotal Studies in the Global American Literary Imagination

Modernity and Autobiography in Nineteenth-Century America

Literary Representations of Communication and Transportation Technologies

Authors: Dobson, James

  • Examines disruptions to the self and the world by new technologies
  • Deepens our understanding of technology’s impact on late-nineteenth-century writing
  • Highlights the phenomenological and physiological within the modernity crisis
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eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-67322-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-67321-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
About this book

This book examines temporal and formal disruptions found in American autobiographical narratives produced during the end of the nineteenth century. It argues that disruptions were primarily the result of encounters with new communication and transportation technologies. Through readings of major autobiographical works of the period, James E. Dobson argues that the range of affective responses to writing, communicating, and traveling at increasing speed and distance were registered in this literature’s formal innovation. These autobiographical works, Dobson claims, complicate our understanding of the lived experience of time, temporality, and existing accounts of periodization. This study first examines the competing views of space and time in the nineteenth century and then moves to examine how high-speed train travel altered American literary regionalism, the region, and history. Later chapters examine two narratives of failed homecoming that are deeply ambivalent about modernity and technology, Henry James’s The American Scene and Theodore Dreiser’s A Hoosier Holiday, before a reading of the telephone network as a metaphor for historiography and autobiography in Henry Adams’s The Education of Henry Adams.

About the authors

James E. Dobson is Lecturer at Dartmouth College where he conducts research on American literature, autobiography, and the digital humanities. He is the author of essays on Mark Twain, Lucy Larcom, Shirley Jackson, and Ambrose Bierce and several addressing computational methods and text mining. 

Table of contents (5 chapters)

  • The American Modernity Crisis and Disruptive Technologies

    Dobson, James E.

    Pages 1-15

  • Modernity and the Dialectic of Detachment

    Dobson, James E.

    Pages 17-40

  • “An Alien at Home”: Henry James’s Failed Homecoming

    Dobson, James E.

    Pages 41-61

  • Theodore Dreiser, Temporary Homes, and the Compensatory Commemorative State

    Dobson, James E.

    Pages 63-79

  • The Telephonic Self: Non-Systemic Systems and Autobiographical Self-Representation

    Dobson, James E.

    Pages 81-107

Buy this book

eBook $39.99
price for USA (gross)
  • ISBN 978-3-319-67322-6
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $54.99
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-319-67321-9
  • Free shipping for individuals worldwide
  • Usually dispatched within 3 to 5 business days.
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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Modernity and Autobiography in Nineteenth-Century America
Book Subtitle
Literary Representations of Communication and Transportation Technologies
Authors
Series Title
Pivotal Studies in the Global American Literary Imagination
Copyright
2017
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s)
eBook ISBN
978-3-319-67322-6
DOI
10.1007/978-3-319-67322-6
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-319-67321-9
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
VII, 117
Topics