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The Arbiters of Reality

The Arbiters of Reality

Hawthorne, Melville, and the Rise of Mass Information Culture

by Peter West
Paperback
Publication Date: 29/05/2015
  $35.03
The Arbiters of Reality: Hawthorne, Melville, and the Rise of Mass Information Culture disrupts our critical sense of nineteenth-century American literature by examining the storytelling strategies of both Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville in light of an emerging information industry. Peter West reveals how these writers invoked telegraphic and penny press journalism, daguerreotypy, and moving panoramas in their fiction to claim for themselves a privileged access to a reality beyond the reach of a burgeoning mass audience. Locating Hawthorne and Melville in vivid and overlooked contexts--the Salem Murder scandal of 1830, which transformed Hawthorne's quiet city into a media-manufactured spectacle, and Melville's New York City of 1846-47, where the American Telegraph was powerfully articulating a nation at war--West portrays the romance as a reactive, deeply rhetorical literary form and a rich historical artifact.

In the early twenty-first century, it has become a postmodern cliche to place the word "reality" in scare quotes. The Arbiters of Reality suggests that attending to the construction of the real in public life is more than simply a language of critique: it must also be understood as a specific kind of romantic self-invention.
ISBN:
9780814252482
9780814252482
Category:
Literary studies: general
Format:
Paperback
Publication Date:
29-05-2015
Publisher:
Ohio State University Press
Country of origin:
United States
Edition:
2nd Edition
Pages:
244
Dimensions (mm):
229x152x14mm
Weight:
0.36kg
Peter West

Peter West has 20 years' experience in invasive species research and wildlife management. He is a researcher with the NSW Department of Primary Industries and has spent the past 10 years working closely with communities across Australia implementing pest monitoring and control programs.

He focuses on providing practical tools and solutions to pest problems, and currently manages a national pest animal monitoring program. He has also developed phone apps to help people identify pest species in the field.

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