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Title:Random Access Memories: Mechanism and Metaphor in the Fiction of William Gibson
Author(s):Angulo, Michael Marty
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Chai, Leon
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, Modern
Literature, American
Abstract:A new form of nostalgia is developing as a consequence of cultural transformations in the relations between memory, identity, and experience in the post-industrial West. Reminiscence, rooted in the nineteenth century and supported by the relative stability of common materials and commodities, is growing into a form of remembering both impaired and enhanced by the inherent instability and adundance of late twentieth-century "souvenirs": the television rerun, the historical theme park, the ready-made antique. From this transition emerges a nostalgic subject immersed in a perpetual present, absorbed by the spectacles of recall. Many of the fiction writers of the first American generation after television articulate strategies for inhabiting the amnesic spaces of the postmodern world. William Gibson in particular has incorporated this memory project into the majority of his early short stories and novels. Together with those authors and artists who inspired him and those who draw from his work, he depicts the mechanisms and cultural practices surrounding memory as metaphors for a condition, at once mental and social, of timelessness. This dissertation offers close readings of Gibson's first four books (Burning Chrome, Neuromancer, Count Zero, and Mona Lisa Overdrive), discusses the literary context of these texts (including figures such as Joseph Cornell and Roland Barthes as well as J. G. Ballard and P. K. Dick), and considers the author's influence on contemporary American culture--in the process sketching the outlines of a social change in the status of human memory.
Issue Date:1993
Description:345 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1993.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI9411554
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-16
Date Deposited:1993

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