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How Literature Imagined Television, 1880-1950

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Television remains one of today’s most captivating and popular media. As such, its cultural significance and ties to the literary domain have been well studied. This article aims to further our understanding of television by investigating one of its lesser-known aspects, namely the role literature had to play in its development prior to becoming a mass medium in the 1950s and 60s. Specifically, this paper offers an exploratory overview of how writers from the 1880s onwards contributed to the social construction of television, and how this in turn shaped the ‘medium’ they themselves produced: literature. Based on texts by authors from pioneering television countries France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States, this article identifies and discusses three layers of this mediahistorical dialectic: the general interplay between television technologies and literary imagination, the more specific interactions between industrialization and authorship, and finally the micro-level parallels between television’s inner workings and the act of writing. Thus, the paper opens up perspectives for a more systematic study of the literary reception of early television.
Journal: Orbis Litterarum
ISSN: 0105-7510
Issue: 6
Volume: 72
Pages: 591 - 610
Authors from:Higher Education