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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.63, No.4, 675 ~ 687, 2017
World Literature in an Extended Media Landscape
Svend Erik Larsen
Literature consists of works of language, but it has never been able to function as literature without being part of an extended media landscape. From time immemorial, oratures require performances to work and thus cannot exist without use of bodily signs or use of various tools and instruments. Today, of course, this extended media landscape is vaster and more complex and distributed through more differentiated and numerous agencies than ever before, which also changes the mutual relation between the media involved in the production, dissemination and use of literature as well as the changing position of literature in the media land-scape. The aim of the paper is to contribute to an understanding of the dynamics of the media landscape with literature at its center, rather than making an account of the separate media involved. In contrast to the majority of discussions on literature and media, this paper focuses on material which is not contemporary. Centering on Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and “A Modest Proposal” (1729) in particular, the analysis of the role of a changing media landscape as a platform for articulation of memory from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to the present day offers a historical perspective, which adds new dimensions to the contemporary debate developed by considering the role of literary history, of transmission of tradition and of anonymous mediation.
Key Words
history, memory, anonymous mediation, media landscape, Jonathan Swift
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