I’m excited to be presenting my work on the Armed Services Editions at this year’s Modernist Studies Association annual conference (and also excited to escape to Southern California in November!). My friend Alex Christie has organized a panel on Modernist Codex Industries, with four really fantastic papers addressing issues of modernism and media theory, with a dash of DH.

Panel Abstract

While modernist scholarship has documented the formal relationships between literature and film, it has yet to attend to production methods that move between book printing and mass media.While Edisonian innovations in the mechanical reproduction of sound and sight marked the emergence of old media as an industrial product, equal revolutions in the apparatuses of print production—including the introduction of the linotype and the rotary press—transformed the printed word into an industrial commodity. As Matt Huculak has recently noted in the Journal of Modern Periodical Studies, the production of modern periodicals relied upon the mass extraction of paper from Newfoundland. As such, “In effect, on or about 1910, Newfoundland’s natural timber resources began to underwrite the material production of modernity.” Attending to the modernist word’s instantiations as an industrial commodity, this panel unites book history with media studies to uncover modernist literature as media products. Papers may take up broad and ranging intersections between literary and mass mediated modernity, addressing topics such as: mechanical reproduction techniques that cross literature and media (old or new), the geopolitics of cultural production and consumption in the modernist period (including ecocritical approaches), the relationship between subject and object in industrial culture, the emergence and influence of experimental writing techniques (i.e. automatic writing), and the shifting nature of representation across formal and material registers. Additionally, papers may reflexively consider modernist literature’s re-emergence as a mass mediated enterprise through the mechanisms new media and large-scale digitization. Considering the confluence of modernist studies with the digital humanities, specifically as it inherits the legacies of industrial modernity, participants will collectively take stock of the ongoing politics of literary reproduction as they play out through technological and disciplinary transformations of the printed word.

Papers include:

Hannah McGregor: “You Owe Very Much to Advertising”: Mass Mediating the Modern Nation in Canadian Magazines

Kathryn Holland: The family in the network: an infrastructure for modernist literary activity

Me: Reading the Armed Services Editions: The Book Industry and the Production of Vernacular Modernism

Alex Christie: Unspooling Roussel’s Spectacle: Mass media and the manuscript

…and our chair, James Gifford!

Hope to see you there!