Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Dickens in cyberspace

A book on my to-read list, as it combines some of my regular interests: Charles Dickens in Cyberspace: The Afterlife of the Nineteenth Century in Postmodern Culture (Jay Clayton, Oxford University Press US, 2003). I ran into it via this review, Wired Victorians (Dawn Coleman, Novel: A Forum on Fiction, Fall 2003) whose summary says it

brings to light nineteenth-century Britain's fascination with engineering novelties and scientific discovery and examines how this often-forgotten Victorian legacy resonates with contemporary literature and culture

The blurb at Google Books adds:

In Charles Dickens in Cyberspace nineteenth-century figures--Jane Austen, Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Henry James, Ada Lovelace, Joseph Paxton, Mary Shelley, and Mary Somerville--meet a lively group of counterparts from today: Andrea Barrett, Greg Bear, Peter Carey, Helene Cixous, Alfonso Cuaron, William Gibson, Donna Haraway, David Lean, Richard Powers, Salman Rushdie, Ridley Scott, Susan Sontag, Neal Stephenson, Bruce Sterling, and Tom Stoppard

Google Books has an extensive preview including a good overview and critique of Gibson and Sterling's The Difference Engine. The chapters are:
  1. The Past in the Future of Cultural Studies: Crystal Palace to Millennium Dome.
  2. The Voice in the Machine: Hazlitt, Austen, Hardy and James.
  3. Undisciplined Cultures: Peacock, Mary Somerville and Mr Pickwick.
  4. Hacking the Nineteenth Century: Babbage and Lovelace in The Difference Engine and Arcadia.
  5. Concealed Circuits: Frankenstein's Monster, Replicants, and Cyborgs.
  6. Is Pip Postmodern? Or, Dickens at the Turn of the Millennium.
  7. Genome Time: New Age Evolution, The Gold Bug Variations, and Gattaca.
  8. Convergence of the Two Cultures: a Geek's Guide.
Looks fun.
- Ray

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