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The Digital Literary Sphere

Reading, Writing, and Selling Books in the Internet Era

Simone Murray

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How has the Internet changed literary culture?

2nd place winner of the N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature by the Electronic Literature Organization

Reports of the book’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Books are flourishing in the Internet era—widely discussed and reviewed in online readers’ forums and publicized through book trailers and author blog tours. But over the past twenty-five years, digital media platforms have undeniably transformed book culture. Since Amazon’s founding in 1994, the whole way in which books are created, marketed, publicized, sold…

How has the Internet changed literary culture?

2nd place winner of the N. Katherine Hayles Award for Criticism of Electronic Literature by the Electronic Literature Organization

Reports of the book’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Books are flourishing in the Internet era—widely discussed and reviewed in online readers’ forums and publicized through book trailers and author blog tours. But over the past twenty-five years, digital media platforms have undeniably transformed book culture. Since Amazon’s founding in 1994, the whole way in which books are created, marketed, publicized, sold, reviewed, showcased, consumed, and commented upon has changed dramatically. The digital literary sphere is no mere appendage to the world of print—it is where literary reputations are made, movements are born, and readers passionately engage with their favorite works and authors.

In The Digital Literary Sphere, Simone Murray considers the contemporary book world from multiple viewpoints. By examining reader engagement with the online personas of Margaret Atwood, John Green, Gary Shteyngart, David Foster Wallace, Karl Ove Knausgaard, and even Jonathan Franzen, among others, Murray reveals the dynamic interrelationship of print and digital technologies.

Drawing on approaches from literary studies, media and cultural studies, book history, cultural policy, and the digital humanities, this book asks: What is the significance of authors communicating directly to readers via social media? How does digital media reframe the "live" author-reader encounter? And does the growing army of reader-reviewers signal an overdue democratizing of literary culture or the atomizing of cultural authority? In exploring these questions, The Digital Literary Sphere takes stock of epochal changes in the book industry while probing books’ and digital media’s complex contemporary coexistence.

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The Digital Literary Sphere

Simone Murray

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Reviews

Reviews

Murray provides an astute overview of the ways in which traditional literary activities have been reshaped by digital technologies. I enjoyed the book immensely. It is comprehensive and provides clear examples and understanding within its chosen framing. For anyone interested in how literary scholars understand their place in the digital world, it is a terrific read.

A spirited endeavour to snap literary studies out of its digital slumber. Expertly written and with remarkable interdisciplinarity, Murray embarks on charting what she terms the 'digital literary sphere'—a Habermasian look into the new context of literature and literary culture in the age of the internet.

The Digital Literary Sphere is a valuable primer on the contemporary state of literature in an internet culture. The thorough approach of Murray's work provides an institutional and cultural history for how digital literature arrived at its present moment.

A watershed book by Simone Murray, one of the shrewdest and most penetrating scholars of today’s rapidly changing cultural landscape. The Digital Literary Sphere brings analytical clarity and original insights to an important topic. Here is a brilliantly flexible paradigm that future historians of literary culture will apply to the new technologies and altered circumstances that lie ahead.

An excellent and insightful study that provides a fascinating introduction to the world of digital books, publishing, and literature in the twenty-first century. Murray draws on a wealth of methodologies, combining a deep and broad familiarity with contemporary book culture with the most advanced critical thinking on authorship, reading, and mediation.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
256
ISBN
9781421426099
Illustration Description
15 b&w illus.
Table of Contents

List of Figures and Table
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Charting the Digital Literary Sphere
1 Performing Authorship in the Digital Literary Sphere
2 "Selling" Literature

List of Figures and Table
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Charting the Digital Literary Sphere
1 Performing Authorship in the Digital Literary Sphere
2 "Selling" Literature: Cultivating Community in the Digital Literary Sphere
3 Curating the Public Life of Literature: Literary Festivals Online
4 Consecrating the Literary: Book Review Culture and the Digital Literary Sphere
5 Entering Literary Discussion: Fiction Reading Online
Conclusion: Accounting for Digital Paratext
Notes
References
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Simone Murray

Simone Murray is an associate professor (reader) in literary studies and the director of the Centre for the Book at Monash University. She is the author of Mixed Media: Feminist Presses and Publishing Politics and The Adaptation Industry: The Cultural Economy of Contemporary Literary Adaptation.