‘There Was Modernism. Then There Was Digital:’ Kenneth Goldsmith and the Updating of Literature

Abstract

The notion of literature as an obsolete form, out of sync with its own time, has been a familiar one ever since modern media displaced the literary from its previous centrality in culture. Expounding on poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s express ambitions of bringing literature up to date with contemporary media culture, this article engages the larger stakes of his work with a view to an ‘updated literature’ – a literature, as it is here considered, 'beyond textuality.' Informed by the theoretical perspectives of Friedrich Kittler and the broader field of media archeology, the article posits literature’s turn toward the generalized ‘informational milieu’ of contemporary network culture and its concomitant break with modernist notions of medium specificity. Although the provocations of both Goldsmith and Kittler have received much previous attention; in seeking here to bring them together in a committed way, this article also moves beyond the limits of their approaches to rethink the problem of literature’s dubious distinctness in our age of networks.

Keywords

network culture, the contemporary, modernism, media archaeology, media poetics, Kenneth Goldsmith

How to Cite

Nygård, K., (2021) “‘There Was Modernism. Then There Was Digital:’ Kenneth Goldsmith and the Updating of Literature”, C21 Literature: Journal of 21st-Century Writings 9(1). doi: https://doi.org/10.16995/c21.3400

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Karin Nygård (OsloMet - Oslo Metropolitan University)

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0

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