American Literature and Immediacy
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The search for immediacy, the desire to feel directly connected to people or events, has been a driving force in American literature and media culture for the past two centuries. This book offers the first in-depth study of literary immediacy effects. It shows how the heightened reality effects of photography, film, and television inspired American writers to create new literary forms that would enhance their readers' sense of immediate participation in the world. The study combines close readings of Emerson, Whitman, Stein, Dos Passos, Coover, Foster Wallace, and DeLillo with detailed considerations of visual media to open up a new perspective on literary innovation and the ongoing cultural quest for increased immediacy. It argues that we can better understand how American literature develops when we consider experiments with literary form, not only in literary and cultural contexts but also in relation to the emergence of new media, their immediacy effects, and the larger changes in social life that they manifest and provoke.