By Kate Marshall
Corridor bargains a sequence of conceptually provocative readings that light up a hidden and impressive courting among architectural area and smooth American fiction. via paying shut recognition to fictional descriptions of a few of modernity’s least impressive buildings, akin to plumbing, ductwork, and airshafts, Kate Marshall discovers a wealthy community of connections among corridors and novels, person who additionally sheds new mild at the nature of contemporary media.
The hall is the dominant organizational constitution in sleek structure, but its a number of features are taken with no consideration, and it has a tendency to vanish from view. yet, as Marshall exhibits, even the main banal constructions turn into unusually seen within the noisy communique platforms of yankee fiction. via analyzing the hyperlink among modernist novels and corridors, Marshall demonstrates the methods architectural components act as media. In a clean examine the past due naturalist fiction of the Twenties, ’30s, and ’40s, she leads the reader during the fetus-clogged sewers of Manhattan Transfer to the corpse-choked furnaces of Native Son and divulges how those invisible areas have a desirable background in organizing the constitution of contemporary persons.
Portraying media as not just items yet techniques, Marshall develops a brand new idiom for Americanist literary feedback, one who explains how media reviews can tell our figuring out of modernist literature.
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Extra info for Corridor: Media Architectures in American Fiction
Corridors, furnaces, electric third rails, and other concrete material structures are media in novels because they doubly encode the reﬂexivity of writing technology and ﬁctional technique: that is, they embed the forms of self-reﬂection in a material object that also demonstrates a capacity to reﬂect upon itself. In this way these objects “become” media in the sense outlined by Vogl in his prescription for a media theory that accounts for the conﬂuence of discursive, technological, or symbolic registers in a discontinuous history of emerging media.
42 A second-order systems theory works in these accounts as the second-order observation of a theory of second-order observation through its manifestation in recent theoretical discourse that often goes by another name. In these terms, too, the concepts driving my analysis of the novels gathered in this book (and in my view driving the novels themselves), “narrative, medium, assemblage, information, noise, network, and communication,” are thoroughly embedded in systems-theoretical discourse. ”43 This change of topic appears, although with different effects, in the method of media analysis termed 00front_Layout 1 4/24/2013 01:41 Page 18 18 in t r o d u c tion “media archaeology” by what might be thought of as second-order media studies.
While nothing sounds particularly new in ﬁgurations of “corridors of the mind,” “tunnelvision,” or the “haunted hallway” motif, the self-signiﬁcation of spatial form, in this case the enclosure of corridors within corridors, once again brings structures of signiﬁcation and communication into view. The proliferating hallways and their spatial and communicative echoes in modern novels offer examples of what this might look like. This study of corridors and novels is therefore an analysis of the trafﬁc conditions of communication in twentieth-century American ﬁction.
Corridor: Media Architectures in American Fiction by Kate Marshall