Close Rereading: A review of Jessica Pressman, Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media
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This review of Jessica Pressman’s Digital Modernism: Making It New in New Media (2014) emphasizes the field-building significance of Pressman’s innovative approach to analyzing electronic literature, an approach that reinvigorates the dated methods of New Criticism for use in the digital humanities. Pressman identifies a genre of contemporary electronic literature, "digital modernism," and uncovers continuities linking it with early twentieth-century modernism. In spite of an uneven style that oscillates between belabored scholasticism and brilliant description, Digital Modernism rigorously wrangles a wide array of data points — historical, literary, and technological — to create an account of contemporary electronic literature relevant for digital humanists, literary scholars, and New Media scholars. This review contextualizes the work within new currents in modernist scholarship, reflects on the modernism and digital modernist "canon" Pressman assembles, and then provides chapter summaries, with an emphasis on Digital Modernism’s reinvention of close reading for the twenty-first century.
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