Corridor: Media Architectures in American Fiction by Kate Marshall

By Kate Marshall


Corridor deals a chain of conceptually provocative readings that remove darkness from a hidden and striking dating among architectural area and glossy American fiction. by way of paying shut recognition to fictional descriptions of a few of modernity’s least notable constructions, reminiscent of plumbing, ductwork, and airshafts, Kate Marshall discovers a wealthy community of connections among corridors and novels, person who additionally sheds new gentle at the nature of recent media.


The hall is the dominant organizational constitution in smooth structure, but its a number of services are taken without any consideration, and it has a tendency to vanish from view. yet, as Marshall indicates, even the main banal buildings turn into surprisingly obvious within the noisy verbal exchange structures of yankee fiction. through analyzing the hyperlink among modernist novels and corridors, Marshall demonstrates the methods architectural parts act as media. In a clean examine the past due naturalist fiction of the Twenties, ’30s, and ’40s, she leads the reader in the course of the fetus-clogged sewers of Manhattan Transfer to the corpse-choked furnaces of Native Son and divulges how those invisible areas have a desirable background in organizing the constitution of recent persons.


Portraying media as not just gadgets yet methods, Marshall develops a brand new idiom for Americanist literary feedback, one who explains how media experiences can tell our knowing of modernist literature.


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That the two become institutionalized systems of communication at around the same time demonstrates their functional differentiation as subsystems within a larger framework of communication. Rewriting the connection between the private soul and the privy chamber, Bernhard Siegert, in Relays: Literature as an Epoch of the Postal System, implicates the private letter in the same processes: “The private did not precede the private letter in the process of this transformation—in either a chronological or a casual sense.

That this particular space becomes concurrently hypervisible in multiple media has everything to do with the fact that it seems to blend in to so many other spaces. The twentieth-century interest in the corridor to which I refer does not represent the only instance of spatial circulation systems standing in for descriptions of the social. Indeed, technologies that regulate movement and enclosure emerge in larger accounts of social change, ranging from studies of “the railway age” to globalization, from the spatial structures systematizing Foucauldian epistemological breaks to 00front_Layout 1 4/24/2013 01:41 Page 13 in t r o d uction 13 the border walls and fences organizing recent commentaries on nationality.

In the fourteenth century,” Jarzombek says, “in both Spanish and Italian contexts, a corridor referred not to a space but to a courier, someone who as the word’s Latin root suggests could run fast. ”48 The corridor’s etymological movement travels from person to more generalized architectural communication channel before it arrives at the most modern form. Taking seriously the historically and linguistically embedded relationship between person, communication, and concrete structure requires maintaining contact with the corridor’s immanent mediality and makes its additional recursive mediality in the novel an especially apropos assemblage for media theory.

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