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Rereading Modernist Postcards - Critical Studies in Materialist Recovery

  • Innbundet

  • 2023

  • Engelsk

Informed by both new and old media theory, materialist approaches to the study of everyday objects, and a series of close readings that chart the critical history of postcard use in the fiction and correspondence of Ernest Hemingway, Ring Lardner, James Joyce, and Wilfred Owen, this book locates and attempts to rediscover lost, misplaced, and neglected postcard materialities, as they relate to the archiving, editing, publishing, and fictional repurposing of postcards across Anglo-American Literary Modernism (1880-1939). It argues that postcards need to be recognized as important early twentieth-century communication technologies and distinctly modernist textualities, composed of multimedia, recto–verso intertextualities. Moreover, their material limitations encourage users to inscribe messages often in fragmented language forms and innovative cultural shorthands (a.k.a. postcardese). This study redresses the ongoing, widespread scholarly neglect of signifying postcard materialities in modernist studies and the editorial silencing of postcard features in collections of published author correspondence. It also stresses that for these four literary figures of modernism, the material choice of a postcard for communicating is always as much the (meta)message, as any of the signifying materialities they carry uploaded onto their platforming surfaces.

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