Theses Doctoral

Telling Technology. Contesting Narratives of Progress in Modernist Literature: Robert Walser, Paul Scheerbart, and Joseph Roth

Hessling, Vincent

Telling technology explores how modernist literature makes sense of technological change by means of narration. The dissertation consists of three case studies focusing on narrative texts by Robert Walser, Paul Scheerbart, and Joseph Roth. These authors write at a time when a crisis of ‘progress,’ understood as a basic concept of history, coincides with a crisis of narration in the form of anthropocentric, action-based storytelling. Through close readings of their technographic writing, the case studies investigate how the three authors develop alternative forms of narration so as to tackle the questions posed by the sweeping technological change in their day. Along with a deeper understanding of the individual literary texts, the dissertation establishes a theoretical framework to discuss questions of modern technology and agency through the lens of narrative theory.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Germanic Languages
Thesis Advisors
Müller, Harro
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
October 18, 2018