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Literature and the Public Sphere in the Internet Age

South, Daniel James (2019) Literature and the Public Sphere in the Internet Age. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the relationship between literature and the public sphere in the internet age. The introduction identifies gaps on these three topics in current academic work, and outlines the need for clarification of the links between them. The chapters go on to explicate these links with reference to the work of four contemporary authors, namely Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers, Zadie Smith, and David Foster Wallace. In their writing, these authors all identify different challenges to the public sphere in the internet age and, in response, ‘model’ alternative modes of being in the public sphere. These modes of being emerge from the particular formal affordances of literature, and are described here as forms of ‘literary publicness.’ The thesis situates these authors on a spectrum of discursive agency, ranging from a view of the public sphere in which writers are seen as authoritative, to a view in which reading processes are prioritised. Each chapter also addresses how these authors have themselves been considered as figures in the public sphere. As such, the story that this thesis tells both helps to clarify the role that culture plays in the public sphere, and reveals the concept of the public sphere itself as a key locus of the relationship between contemporary literature and the internet.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Mr Daniel James South
Date Deposited: 22 Jul 2019 11:59
Last Modified: 11 Jul 2020 00:18
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24438

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