"Memory Pressed Flat into Text": The Importance of Print in Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts

"Memory Pressed Flat into Text": The Importance of Print in Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts JULIA PANKO The fear of obliteration obsessed the societies of early modern Europe. To quell their anxiety, they preserved in writing traces of the past, remembrances of the dead, the glory of the living, and texts of all kinds that were not supposed to disappear. Stone, wood, fabric, parchment, and paper all served as substrates on which the memory of events and men could be inscribed. In the open space of the city or the seclusion of the library, in majesty in books or in humility on more ordinary objects, the mission of the written was to dispel the obsession with loss. This was no easy task in a world where writing could be erased. . . . Roger Chartier, Inscription and Erasure teven Hall's debut novel The Raw Shark Texts presents a useful site of study for considering how the contemporary novel imagines its role within an increasingly variegated media ecology. Hall is among a generation of young novelists who have tested the limits of print by manipulating the "graphic surface" of their works, incorporating photography and other visual elements into the text.1 Like Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves or Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Contemporary Literature University of Wisconsin Press

"Memory Pressed Flat into Text": The Importance of Print in Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts

Contemporary Literature, Volume 52 (2) – Sep 4, 2011

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University of Wisconsin Press
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Copyright © University of Wisconsin Press
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1548-9949
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Abstract

JULIA PANKO The fear of obliteration obsessed the societies of early modern Europe. To quell their anxiety, they preserved in writing traces of the past, remembrances of the dead, the glory of the living, and texts of all kinds that were not supposed to disappear. Stone, wood, fabric, parchment, and paper all served as substrates on which the memory of events and men could be inscribed. In the open space of the city or the seclusion of the library, in majesty in books or in humility on more ordinary objects, the mission of the written was to dispel the obsession with loss. This was no easy task in a world where writing could be erased. . . . Roger Chartier, Inscription and Erasure teven Hall's debut novel The Raw Shark Texts presents a useful site of study for considering how the contemporary novel imagines its role within an increasingly variegated media ecology. Hall is among a generation of young novelists who have tested the limits of print by manipulating the "graphic surface" of their works, incorporating photography and other visual elements into the text.1 Like Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves or Jonathan Safran Foer's Extremely Loud and

Journal

Contemporary LiteratureUniversity of Wisconsin Press

Published: Sep 4, 2011

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