CorridorMedia Architectures in American Fiction

CorridorMedia Architectures in American Fiction

Kate Marshall

Print publication date: 2015

ISBN: 9780816679270

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press

Abstract

Corridor: Media Architectures in American Fiction asks what happens to the kinds of persons inhabiting the richly material landscapes of American realist and naturalist fiction of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries when they find themselves in more modernist interiors? Addressed to modernist and American literary scholars, media theorists, and architectural historians, Corridor is a study of novels and corridors, and what the relationship between the two reveals about the modern media. It situates in the discourses of reflexive modernity the particular dynamics of exchange between physical circulation systems and media forms that constitute the landscape out of which modernist American fiction emerges, and through which it observes its own operations. It shows how a range of novels enact and encode their medial processes in the concrete structures of American modernity–its infrastructural systems, contagious institutional spaces, its corridors–to demonstrate that the consequences for this recursive movement between novels, spatial structures, and media extend to modern individuals and the interiors that house them. Corridor challenges subject-centered accounts of modernist interiority and its narrative modes, and the tradition of modernist literary criticism that examines the architectural materialities of the novel from this perspective. By attending to the relays between physical and informational communication, and the cross-identifications of interiors and interiority as they are expressed as medial forms in these texts, Corridor develops a counter-narrative of what it means to figure modern persons and their communicative environment in the wayward novels of American modernism.