Scenes, Seasons, and Spaces: Textual Modes of Address in Modern French, American, and Russian Literature
MetadataShow full item record
This dissertation examines how literary form adapts to emergent print environments by identifying common strategies for incorporating the act of reading into the situation of the text. In my analysis of original textual forms, I investigate the material specificity of constitutively modern practices of reading and subjectivity, focusing on how innovative publications structure these practices by involving the reader in the process of production. This project assembles six pioneering writers across literary traditions, genres, and periods, from the 1830s to the 1910s, in three chapter pairings: novelistic episodes of Honoré de Balzac’s Comédie humaine and prose poems of Charles Baudelaire’s Spleen de Paris in nineteenth-century Parisian periodicals; the prose poetry books, Une saison en enfer by Arthur Rimbaud and Spring and All by William Carlos Williams; and genre-bending texts from the œuvres of Stéphane Mallarmé and Vladimir Mayakovsky, including the typographically irregular page spreads of Un coup de dés jamais n’abolira le hasard and Vladimir Mayakovsky: A Tragedy (Vladimir Maiakovskii: Tragediia). My discussion locates reflexive conceptions of modern literature in constructions of the reading subject, while extending the performative framework of textual modes of address to new media and digital technologies—social interfaces that mediate subjectivity by structuring practices of reading.