Type / Thesis

In and Out of New Media Studies: Mediation as a Literary Question

Chun-yen Chen

Page / 127-159


This article examines some of the prominent strands in new media studies and media archaeology, in particular their conceptions of medium and mediation, in the hope of pondering the relevance of literary studies in the age of digital media. The article begins with analysis of major architects in new media studies, followed by discussion of the thread of inquiry in the field that understands mediation ontologically, and followed further by a look at the study of digital literature. The article then moves on to media archaeology as well as an emerging literary method inspired by the field, which I would like to term medial literary analysis. In conclusion, the article returns to literary studies to see how it has approached the question of mediation and how it may gain from the concept of mediation developed by contemporary media studies. I argue that this journey into media theory can help the literary field come to recognize the mediality of literature in a broader sense, broader, for instance, than merely considering the physical properties of the medium being employed in literary creations. Building on Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of language, which broaches the constitutive incommunicability in communication, my article suggests that, as a medium defined by language proper, literature’s self-imaging today can start by looking at the relationship between mediation and communicability.

Keywords : new media studies, media archaeology, medium, mediation, relationality, materiality
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