Corridor: Media Architectures in American Fiction by Kate Marshall

By Kate Marshall


Corridor deals a sequence of conceptually provocative readings that light up a hidden and outstanding dating among architectural area and smooth American fiction. by means of paying shut recognition to fictional descriptions of a few of modernity’s least striking buildings, similar to plumbing, ductwork, and airshafts, Kate Marshall discovers a wealthy community of connections among corridors and novels, one 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 services are taken with no consideration, and it has a tendency to vanish from view. yet, as Marshall indicates, even the main banal buildings turn into unusually obvious within the noisy verbal exchange platforms of yankee fiction. by means of interpreting the hyperlink among modernist novels and corridors, Marshall demonstrates the methods architectural components act as media. In a clean examine the overdue naturalist fiction of the Nineteen 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 historical past in organizing the constitution of contemporary persons.


Portraying media as not just items yet strategies, Marshall develops a brand new idiom for Americanist literary feedback, person who explains how media stories can tell our realizing of modernist literature.


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In John Archer’s simultaneously literary and architectural history of the ideas of privacy and identity underlying the evolution of contemporary American domestic architecture, Architecture and Suburbia, the corridor features as an explicit agent of change in the development of the “selfhood” he sees as encoded in house design. ”28 Evans, moreover, refers specifically to communications systems: “In 00front_Layout 1 4/24/2013 01:41 Page 12 12 in t r o d u c tion facilitating communication, the corridor reduced contact.

These new studies of networked mediality illustrate the consequences for modern fictional personhood that arise from 00front_Layout 1 4/24/2013 01:41 Page 22 22 in t r o d u c tion embeddedness in such physical and communicational systems. The psychic persons described in recent scholarship find themselves constantly attacked, infiltrated, or distributed by the pressures of network forms. Most interesting for this study is the way that such discussions open up the possibility for considering in narrative what Eugene Thacker and Alexander Galloway have conceptualized as “the nonhuman quality of networks,” equating nonhumanity with materiality.

The novels discussed here take this dynamic sense of figural movement rather than a static object as the index of materiality, and double it, or reencode that dynamism in its multilayered medial objects. These objects operate as reflexively doubled material metaphors, constituting themselves through the selfobservation of their mediality, and housed with violent consequences in these novels’ imagined physical landscapes. 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.

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