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Tctility and Realism Today
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Languages, Department of English.
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

It is a truth generally acknowledged among the believers in the continued life of the print novel that the threat posed to books by digital technologies has become a source of artistic inspiration and formal experimentation. By including photographs, flipbook sections, newspaper clippings, or making use of a variety of fonts and unusual textual layouts and page design, contemporary novels mimic and usurp the Internet practices and thus renew fiction writing. Another truth, equally common (although circulating in a different circle of critics) has it that the previously privileged anti-realistic aesthetics of postmodernism has given way to less experimental modes of story-telling; however anxiously or neurotically, fiction has reoriented itself toward the long-cherished strategies of realism, this return to the past securing the novel’s continued well-being. This paper focuses on “pluralogical” intersections of these two claims. It argues that, paradoxically enough, many contemporary novels employ experimental strategies in the service of realism. The paper zeros in on one type of images that belong to the realm of experimentation, those that invoke the sense of touch, to show how they function to increase the aesthetic illusion of authenticity. As its case study, the paper takes up Cathy’s Book: If Found Call (650) 266-8233 by Sean Stewart, Jordan Weisman, and Cathy Brigg, published in 2006, but it makes references to a number of other contemporary novels. In its concluding comments, the paper points to larger ethical issues that connect tactility and realism. 


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Humanities Specific Literatures
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URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-278184OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-278184DiVA: diva2:906213
International Conference on Narrative, MIT, USA
Available from: 2016-02-24 Created: 2016-02-24 Last updated: 2016-04-21

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Fjellestad, Danuta
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