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OverwhelmedLiterature, Aesthetics, and the Nineteenth-Century Information Revolution$
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Maurice S. Lee

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780691192925

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691192925.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Overwhelmed
Author(s):

Maurice S. Lee

Publisher:
Princeton University Press
DOI:10.23943/princeton/9780691192925.003.0001

This chapter provides an understanding of information that is productive for literary critics at a time of methodological instability and professional insecurity. It reflects on knowledge as the subject of epistemology, while information—a more recent and less disciplined concept—seems more the stuff of numbers, facts, classification, computational science, and media technology. To study information in these terms is to pivot away from philosophical questions about correlations between subjects and objects or the accuracy of language, and to focus instead on the possibilities of navigating the world through algorithmic processes, bureaucratic protocols, and data-based analysis. The chapter also claims that informational concepts and practices shape not only the internal thematics of literature but also the ways in which meanings are made from texts. It explains how writers and readers, including literary critics, have frequently been inclined to resist the rise of information.

Keywords:   literary critic, epistemology, computational science, media technology, knowledge

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