Pre | Digital Liminalities: A Hermeneutics of the Intermedial and Materiality in the Print Intermedial Novel
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How can print novels renew a digitally literate readers awareness of media materiality and medial differences? This dissertation develops a hermeneutics capable of analyzing media not only for their unique specificities or their convergence into a represented sameness, but also for the liminal site of their fusions, exchanges, and slippages of representationthe intermedial, or, the in between of media. Digital media amplify the mediating practices of exact recording devices such as the camera, representing other media through a technique that blurs their differences and inciting an illusion of a represented mediums presence or immediacy. The pretense that predigital (and thus old) media are available for such convergence occurs through the weakened instantiation of medias contexts and conditions of materiality. A closer examination of the way media engage with each other from the perspective of a so-called old mediumthe print novelprovides the grounds for an approach to media encounters that avoids sameness and encourages material awareness. This dissertation focuses on the contemporary print intermedial novel, a form of writing where references to three stages of technological inscription abound: the textual symbolic stage in the written word; the orthographic in exact recording devices; and the post-orthographic in digital media. The intermedial novels that I study use prints material medium to evoke these inscription functions, demonstrating the collaboration of older and newer media representational forms in todays cultural imagination and practice. First, I examine how orthographic immediacy is used to elicit absent objects as physically present. Next, I explore how post-orthographic immediacy is used to represent symbolic images as visualized and virtual objects. Finally, I analyze how post-orthographic inscription is used to complicate the relationship between material objects and representations of reality. Print in intermedial novels can restore a readers awareness of media materiality by creating what I call a dynamic media juxtaposition: a dissonance between the material medium of print and the visual and digital media that it represents. These novels thus demonstrate the need for an intermedial hermeneutics that is capable of analyzing this dissonance laterally (a comparative reading of media) and dynamically (a negotiation of their encounters).