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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter charts material and conceptual relationships between the three things named within its title, both as these appear historically and as these are represented in literary texts. It shows how the telephone and other electrical technologies are part of ‘media ecologies,’ some of which are older than and extrinsic to electrical technology itself. Among the authors looked at who reveal how media technologies both enable and impede communications are D. H. Lawrence, Bram Stoker, and Henry James. In addition to these figures, the chapter looks at telephony’s depiction by Theodore Dreiser, Wyndham Lewis, Mark Twain, Ford Madox Ford, and Robert Frost, and the theory of ‘communication’ advanced in 1894 by American sociologist Charles Horton Cooley. The chapter concludes with analyses of postal and other communications in novels by James and E. M. Forster, and in Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis.

Keywords: electricity, telephone, telegraph, post, communications, media ecology, remediation

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