Charles Dickens in Cyberspace : The Afterlife of the Nineteenth Century in Postmodern Culture
Charles Dickens in Cyberspace opens a window on a startling set of literary and scientific links between contemporary American culture and the nineteenth-century heritage it often repudiates. Surveying a wide range of novelists, scientists, filmmakers, and theorists from the past two centuries, Jay Clayton traces the concealed circuits that connect the telegraph with the Internet, Charles Babbage's Difference Engine with the digital computer, Frankenstein's monster with cyborgs and clones, and Dickens' life and fiction with all manner of contemporary popular culture-from comic books and advertising to recent novels and films. In the process, Clayton argues for two important principles: that postmodernism has a hidden or repressed connection with the nineteenth-century and that revealing those connections can aid in the development of a historical cultural studies. In Charles Dickens in Cyberspace nineteenth-century figures-Jane Austen, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Henry Jshow more
- Paperback | 304 pages
- 152.4 x 223.5 x 20.3mm | 181.44g
- 12 Nov 2006
- Oxford University Press Inc
- New York, United States
- Revised ed.
- 1 line illus.
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"In this landmark study, postmodernity's final break with the Enlightenment is prefigured across the uneven disciplinary development of nineteenth-century technoculture, from telegraphy and automata through Darwinian anticipations of 'genome time.' Anchored in a brimming crosscurrent of literary detail and buoyed by a venturesome narrative prose of its own, this blithely original book defends the explanatory powers of lived anachronism against the death-of-history school. Resisting utopian futurism in his broad new program for cultural studies, Clayton has achieved in the process a work of utopian historicism. The Victorian moment is ours again."-Garrett Stewart, University of Iowa "This is a wonderful book. Jay Clayton moves deftly between the Victorian era and the present day, between literature and science, popular culture and post-modern thinkers. This important study raises some profound questions about the relationship between literary study and cultural theory, and will ensure that all of us who consider ourselves cultural historians will ponder deeply about the implications of our practices."-Kate Flint, Rutgers University "Ambitious and extremely stimulating.... [Clayton's] exciting study covers a good deal of varied ground.... Clayton's book goes beyond the Victorian period to raise questions that are highly pertinent to all of us who are uncertain quite what labels we now bear-literary critics? cultural theorists? cultural historians?"-Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 "It has the buzz of intellectual excitement at a comparatively new juncture in cultural studies.... And, as befits a book so skeptical of intellectual labels and so generous in its approach to different disciplines, Charles Dickens in Cyberspace will repay the attention of anybody with an interest in the nineteenth century."-Dickens Quarterly "Ambitious and extremely stimulating.... [Clayton's] exciting study covers a good deal of varied ground.... Clayton's book goes beyond the Victorian period to raise questions that are highly pertinent to all of us who are uncertain quite what labels we now bear-literary critics? cultural theorists? cultural historians?"-Studies in English Literature 1500-1900 "In his highly original and somewhat unconventional new book, Jay Clayton calls for a cultural studies that foregrounds historical inquiry.... [A] brilliantly argued, thoroughly researched, and highly original book... It makes a significant contribution to an emergent strain in cultural-studies discourse, helps launch and sustain a mode of inquiry that is crucial to our cultural future, one that we as humanists cannot afford to ignore."-Victorian Studies "This is the really cheering and impressive thing about his book, Professor Clayton is clearly a "believer" when it comes to the marriage of history, cultural studies and postmodernism. Charles Dickens in Cyberspace is not a primer or a polemical work, but something richer and rarer: a work that itself embodies the ideals expressed by its author. ...it will come to be seen as an important work... And, as befits a book skeptical of intellectual labels and so generous in its approach to differnt disciplines, Charles Dickens in Cyberspace will repay the attention of anybody with an interest in the nineteenth century."-Dickens Quarterly "Comprising a dazzling array of textual readings, ranging from contemporary novels to films to hypertexts, Clayton maps a new theoretical approach...he offers a model for a historical cultural studies that opens a path out of the quagmire in which the field often finds itself today...Clayton's book offers the theoretical breakthrough for which many scholars have been waiting...This impressive and challenging work is a must-read for any scholar interested in cultural studies. It should not be overlooked."-Postmillenial Victorian Studiesshow more
About Jay Clayton
Jay Clayton is Professor of English at Vanderbilt University.show more