Difference between revisions of "Henry James and the Media Arts of Modernity"

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The literary feud (1915 and thereabout)[https://lithub.com/25-legendary-literary-feuds-ranked/] between Henry James and H. G. Wells[https://nothingintherulebook.com/2016/03/14/henry-james-vs-h-g-wells-write-off/] was once well known in literary circles and could rouse passions even fairly recently[http://www.bopsecrets.org/rexroth/essays/james-wells.htm] — and we will avoid discussing it. But the existence of the feud can underline how far Henry James and June Hee Chung's book are outside SF and SF criticism, and thereby underline as well the potential usefulness for criticism of finding in James's works concerns that appear in SF (and elsewhere), and appear with increasing frequency in SF of the 20th century.  
 
The literary feud (1915 and thereabout)[https://lithub.com/25-legendary-literary-feuds-ranked/] between Henry James and H. G. Wells[https://nothingintherulebook.com/2016/03/14/henry-james-vs-h-g-wells-write-off/] was once well known in literary circles and could rouse passions even fairly recently[http://www.bopsecrets.org/rexroth/essays/james-wells.htm] — and we will avoid discussing it. But the existence of the feud can underline how far Henry James and June Hee Chung's book are outside SF and SF criticism, and thereby underline as well the potential usefulness for criticism of finding in James's works concerns that appear in SF (and elsewhere), and appear with increasing frequency in SF of the 20th century.  
  
Note that a number of James's important works[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_James_bibliography]come in the period between the notable narratives of H. G. Wells's ''[[The Time Machine]]'' (1895) and E. M. Foster's definitive long story, "[[The Machine Stops]]" (1909) — and is succeeded fairly closely by the commercial take-off of US pulp SF with the start of ''Amazing Stories'' (April 1926)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Stories] and the appearance of technological themes and images in, e.g., Kafka's "[[In der Strafkolonie]]" ("The Penal Colony," 1919) and D. H. Lawrence, with his concern with "the organic principle" vs. "the inorganic or mechanical principle" in, say, ''Women in Love'' (1920): see the discussion by Joanna G. Semelks of Lawrence and technology in her "[[Sex, Lawrence, and Videotape]]" (and note a somewhat related argument in Richard D. Erlich's "Catastrophism and Coition: Universal and Individual Development in ''Women in Love''," ''Texas Studies in Literature and Language'' 9.1 [Spring 1967]: 117-128).[https://www.jstor.org/stable/40753934?seq=1]
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Note that a number of James's important works[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_James_bibliography]come in the period between the notable narratives of H. G. Wells's ''[[The Time Machine]]'' (1895) and E. M. Foster's definitive long story, "[[The Machine Stops]]" (1909) — and is succeeded fairly closely by the commercial take-off of US pulp SF with the start of ''Amazing Stories'' (April 1926)[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazing_Stories] and the appearance of technological themes and images in, e.g., Kafka's "[[In der Strafkolonie]]" ("The Penal Colony," 1919) and D. H. Lawrence, with his concern with "the organic principle" vs. "the inorganic or mechanical principle" in, say, ''Women in Love'' (1920): see the discussion by Joanna G. Semelks of Lawrence and technology in her "[[Sex, Lawrence, and Videotape]]" (and note a somewhat related argument in Richard D. Erlich's "Catastrophism and Coition: Universal and Individual Development in ''Women in Love''," ''Texas Studies in Literature and Language'' 9.1 [Spring 1967]: 117-128).[https://www.jstor.org/stable/40753934?seq=1] See also Mark Seltzer's ''[[Bodies and Machines]]'' (1992), cited by Chung.
  
  
Both Chung and James use references to mechanisms figuratively, with people figuratively within mechanisms — people up the social and employment scale from Lawrence's miners and other working class workers.  
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Both Chung and James use references to mechanisms, including with people figuratively within mechanisms — people up the social and employment scale from Lawrence's miners and other working class workers: note the common move in satire and SF of literalizing such figures of speech, as, arguably, in "The Machine Stops.'' Chung can refer (figuratively) to prosthetics.
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In ''The Wings of the Dove'' and ''The Golden Bowl'' the rising popularity of decorative objects among American plutocrats also reveals an aestheticized machine culture that produces a collage-like mode of representation to parallel white-collar employees' consumption of mass print media illustrations. (Chung 5)
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In the transition between the 19th and 20th c.'s ("the ''fin-de-siècle''") and into the 20th (all page references in Chung):
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[...N]ew mass technologies encouraged workers to think about art as a tool for transforming perceptions, whereas visual media facilitated this treatment of this art as techne. [...] Thus, the permeability between the spheres of work and play figures beyond just the effects of rationalization from mechanization as a distinctive cultural influence of the corporation. (pp. 11-12)
  
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In ''[[Bodies and Machines]]'', the American economy's reliance on technological innovation for its material success accustomed the public to representations as a mode of manufacture that erodes the boundaries dividing ''persons'' from things. Seltzer looks at examples from realist literature that imagine the couplings of bodies and machines to show how they familiarized consumers with words as prosthetics or techne, that is as object extensions of the body. (p. 13)
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[...W]ealthy Americans in the 1870s and 1880s used their collections as souvenirs to represent themselves in the public sphere. The ornaments are prosthetics, physical extensions of the owner's self. (p. 24)
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Thus, as critical and anxious as James could be of the pressures of mechanization and the state of mass-produced literature [... he] was [...] also fascinated by what he saw as technology's influence on literary style. (p. 28)
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Chung goes on to apply N. Katherine Hayles on "'inscription technologies' — such as photography, cinema, telegraphy and phonographic sound recorder and reproduction — in contrast to older visual art forms such as painting and theater" (p. 29). This relates to the significance of ''things'' and "remediation" in the sense of "re-media-ation," transferring from one medium to another. "The material arts as doubly remediated in theatrical performance and public museums offer access to new emotions and experiences via an ''embodied'' cognition in which interior decoration functions prosthetically to enhance the mind's activities" (p. 29).
  
  

Revision as of 17:28, 15 January 2020

TENTATIVE WORKING

Chung, June Hee. Henry James and the Media Arts of Modernity: Commercial Cosmopolitanism. New York and London: Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), 2019.


The literary feud (1915 and thereabout)[1] between Henry James and H. G. Wells[2] was once well known in literary circles and could rouse passions even fairly recently[3] — and we will avoid discussing it. But the existence of the feud can underline how far Henry James and June Hee Chung's book are outside SF and SF criticism, and thereby underline as well the potential usefulness for criticism of finding in James's works concerns that appear in SF (and elsewhere), and appear with increasing frequency in SF of the 20th century.

Note that a number of James's important works[4]come in the period between the notable narratives of H. G. Wells's The Time Machine (1895) and E. M. Foster's definitive long story, "The Machine Stops" (1909) — and is succeeded fairly closely by the commercial take-off of US pulp SF with the start of Amazing Stories (April 1926)[5] and the appearance of technological themes and images in, e.g., Kafka's "In der Strafkolonie" ("The Penal Colony," 1919) and D. H. Lawrence, with his concern with "the organic principle" vs. "the inorganic or mechanical principle" in, say, Women in Love (1920): see the discussion by Joanna G. Semelks of Lawrence and technology in her "Sex, Lawrence, and Videotape" (and note a somewhat related argument in Richard D. Erlich's "Catastrophism and Coition: Universal and Individual Development in Women in Love," Texas Studies in Literature and Language 9.1 [Spring 1967]: 117-128).[6] See also Mark Seltzer's Bodies and Machines (1992), cited by Chung.


Both Chung and James use references to mechanisms, including with people figuratively within mechanisms — people up the social and employment scale from Lawrence's miners and other working class workers: note the common move in satire and SF of literalizing such figures of speech, as, arguably, in "The Machine Stops. Chung can refer (figuratively) to prosthetics.

In The Wings of the Dove and The Golden Bowl the rising popularity of decorative objects among American plutocrats also reveals an aestheticized machine culture that produces a collage-like mode of representation to parallel white-collar employees' consumption of mass print media illustrations. (Chung 5)

In the transition between the 19th and 20th c.'s ("the fin-de-siècle") and into the 20th (all page references in Chung):

[...N]ew mass technologies encouraged workers to think about art as a tool for transforming perceptions, whereas visual media facilitated this treatment of this art as techne. [...] Thus, the permeability between the spheres of work and play figures beyond just the effects of rationalization from mechanization as a distinctive cultural influence of the corporation. (pp. 11-12)
In Bodies and Machines, the American economy's reliance on technological innovation for its material success accustomed the public to representations as a mode of manufacture that erodes the boundaries dividing persons from things. Seltzer looks at examples from realist literature that imagine the couplings of bodies and machines to show how they familiarized consumers with words as prosthetics or techne, that is as object extensions of the body. (p. 13)
[...W]ealthy Americans in the 1870s and 1880s used their collections as souvenirs to represent themselves in the public sphere. The ornaments are prosthetics, physical extensions of the owner's self. (p. 24)
Thus, as critical and anxious as James could be of the pressures of mechanization and the state of mass-produced literature [... he] was [...] also fascinated by what he saw as technology's influence on literary style. (p. 28) 

Chung goes on to apply N. Katherine Hayles on "'inscription technologies' — such as photography, cinema, telegraphy and phonographic sound recorder and reproduction — in contrast to older visual art forms such as painting and theater" (p. 29). This relates to the significance of things and "remediation" in the sense of "re-media-ation," transferring from one medium to another. "The material arts as doubly remediated in theatrical performance and public museums offer access to new emotions and experiences via an embodied cognition in which interior decoration functions prosthetically to enhance the mind's activities" (p. 29).



RDE, Initial Compiler, 23Dec19/13Jan20 f.