Item Details

Recombinant Media: The Mutation of Subjectivity in a Post-Print Culture

Wilcox, Johnnie A.
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Wilcox, Johnnie A.
Drucker, Johanna
Wicke, Jennifer
Kaufman, Eleanor
Levenson, Michael
"Recombinant Media: The Mutation of Subjectivity in a Post-Print Culture" Johnnie A. Wilcox "Recombinant Media: The Mutation of Subjectivity in a Post-Print Culture" argues that subjectivity in American literary postmodernism is a transformation of the subject produced by print technology. This transformation comes about as a result of cultural shifts in media priority and the changes media themselves undergo as they incorporate techniques of other media. This study examines how the representation and production of subjectivity in several print objects is affected by the incorporation of techniques more characteristic of non-print media such as film, electronics, and music. The introduction traces the rise of non-print media such as film, electricity, and radio and argues that these media both augment and deform is such a way that print media then produces "recombinant media" which dramatically alter the subject normally produced by print. The first chapter considers how Gravity's Rainbow hybridizes its own media body to create from its reader a retribalized, cybernetic subject. The second chapter traces the origins of this mutated, postmodern subject back to Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man, arguing that the pressures of electricity and speech mutate Invisible Man into the prototype of the hacker. The third chapter considers Dwayne McDuffie's and Gregory Wright's comic series Deathlok as a print object that remediates electronics and cinema in order to interpret cyborg consciousness in terms of race, especially insofar as both can be described by W. E. B. DuBois's concept of double-consciousness. The fourth chapter revisits Thomas Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, arguing that the novel's critique of capitalism is conducted by the remediation of film, electricity, comics, textiles, and music. The conclusion suggests that Ellison's Invisible Man, Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow, and McDuffie's and Wright's Deathlok forecast the end of print by mutating the subject of print culture into a species of networked cybernetic subject. Note: Abstract extracted from PDF text
Date Received
University of Virginia, Department of English, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2005
Published Date
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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