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Title: 'The raft, the ladder, the transitional space, the moratorium ...' : digital interventions in twenty-first-century private and public lives
Author: Oliver, Jessica Eve
ISNI:       0000 0004 7657 4510
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2018
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This project explores the nebulizing effect of digital technologies on their analogue counterparts, and their cultural and social repercussions as depicted in early twenty-first-century novels. The thesis finds five central concerns of digital culture, areas in which the structures and codes of the culture have had to be recalibrated to such a degree to accommodate virtuality, and examines them through the works of a novelist with a fascination for, or resistance to this change. The thesis identifies an irreversible shift in the mental apparatus caused by digital technologies that work on narrativizing powers such as memory, interpretation, and perception, that finds expression in fiction. Chapter 1 reads Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad and The Keep as responses to the phenomena of geomapping, networking and communications in the age of global reach. Chapter 2 uses Tom McCarthy's novels C, Remainder, and Satin Island to illustrate the distorting effects of digitality on time. Chapter 3 brings to focus the more recent work of J. M. Coetzee, Summertime, Elizabeth Costello, and Diary of a Bad Year, that engages with digitality and a cultural landscape increasing reliant on distancing technologies. Chapter 4 examines the recording and surveilling technologies at the heart of Ali Smith's twentyfirst- century novels How to Be Both, Autumn and The Accidental. Chapter 5 reads Dave Eggers' The Circle as a critique of corporate digital culture, and examines the role of taste in articulating personal freedom. The conclusion analyses a current crisis point in the digital project, and gestures towards the future of technology in the contemporary novel, speculating on what elements discussed in the thesis might endure and shape fictional narrative as the age of digitality progresses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN0056.D545 Digital technologies