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FT-57854-10

Dallas Hagen Liddle
Augsburg College (Minneapolis, MN 55454-1350)

Engines of the Imagination: The Technology of Literary Form in Britain, 1800-1850

This project uses concepts developed for the History of Technology and Science and Technology Studies to illuminate British literary practices during the later Industrial Revolution. Three case study chapters evaluate successful text "designs" as engineered solutions to discursive and/or economic problems. The first tracks genres of newspaper editorial developed for the London Times against simultaneous changes in the technology of newspaper production and the economic and political environment of the newspaper press. A second evaluates Austen's Pride and Prejudice as a technical innovation of the eighteenth-century courtship novel. The third, focused on Brontë's Jane Eyre, studies how 1840s novelists, working independently, synthesized pre-existing genres into the multi-plot/multi-genre novel. I frame these cases with recent work on the theory of technology, which has come far since Ong's Orality and Literacy applied the technological theory of the 1970s to literary history.

Project fields:
British Literature

Program:
Summer Stipends

Division:
Research Programs

Total amounts:
$6,000 (approved)
$6,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2010 – 9/30/2010