READING, TECHNOLOGY, AND LITERATURE@YES-YES.EDU
Before the act or the word, the telephone.
Ulysses Gramophone, Jacques Derrida
Everything begins with a repeated speed-dial. In this instance, I will dial five numbers: one the name of a god, two little passages from Heinrich Kleist and Karl Marx, the opening lines of the film, The Phone Booth, and a lovely poem courtesy of France Telecom. I’m sure we will only get pre-recorded messages, but from there we can at least continue our conversation.
Hoping to contact firstname.lastname@example.org, and working the phone lines through the internet, I call under the sign of Hermes as the presiding metaphor, if metaphor indeed can preside over anything at all. Hermes, whose fate includes becoming one of the logos for France Telecom, is a passageway, an opener of doors and pathways, the up- and down-link between the living and the dead, the hermetic and the hermeneutic, the secret tightly sealed in its own secrecy, and the capacity to open to the tasks of reading. He is the god of telecommunications, of innovation and invention, of improvisation and thievery. And he is the space in which literature opens itself: “Narrative,” writes Michel Serres, “exiled from the locus of muthos where the logos was born, continues to disconnect the connected and to link together what is separated. What we call literature is the infinite pursuit of this work in progress” (Feux et signaux de brume: Zola 169). Of his own method, Serres notes that it is “orthogonal to classification. More than a new domain, it is a crossing; more than a region, it is a mode of communication, an exchanger of concepts…It is in the position of a railway junction” (Hermes II, 29). Hermes moves in all directions; he is akin to a railway junction, to a telephone switchboard—and recall that the term “hacking” emerges from the meeting of the two at MIT—or to the internet, hyper-linking across borders in unexpected ways.
Kleist’s famous little narrative, “On the Marionette Theater” (written for the Berliner Abendblatter, December 12-15, 1810), concerns itself with the inanimate (puppets) and the divine (that which almost doesn’t appear: the apparitional), dance, gravity (physics), art-making, and the possibility of traveling around the world to the back door to paradise. “It would be impossible for man to come anywhere near the puppet,” Kleist writes. “Only a god could equal inanimate matter in this respect; and here is the point where the two ends of the circular world meet…[and] Grace itself returns when knowledge has gone through an infinity.” There may be, Kleist muses, a backdoor to paradise, but, for us, it is only the endless detour of reading and writing, making art, physics, dance, and one phone call after another.
About forty-five years after Kleist, Marx, still thinking about the relation between the animate and the inanimate, writes in the Grundrisse that once adopted into the production process of capital, the means of labor passes through different metamorphoses, whose culmination is the machine, or rather, an automatic system of machinery…this automaton consists of numerous mechanical and intellectual organs, so that the workers themselves are cast merely as conscious linkages….[I]t is the machine which possesses skill and strength in place of the worker, is itself the virtuoso, with a soul of its own in the mechanical laws acting through it. (283)
Human beings are already, by the mid-19th century, consciously becoming the conscious links between mobile phones.
The opening lines of The Phone Booth, focused on the booth which is to be destroyed the next day at 53rd and 8th in New York City, arrive as a voiceover: “A ringing phone has to be answered, doesn’t it?” a male voice says. “Don’t even think about leaving that phone booth. You’re going to learn to obey me.” This is a film about looking on from a distance and about the violence and obedience of shooting, and therefore about film-making and what Roland Barthes, who will pick up the line soon, will call the dioptric arts.
And, finally, the nice little quatrain that graces one of France Telecom’s phone cards:
ignore la nuit,
Il est le
“The telephone/ignores the night,/It is the/infinite day.” Everything is here, but it will take us a bit of time, more time than we have together, to finish reading it.
These five filiations, then, form one extended circuit in the telephony of the transepochal period in which we live. This telephony links the organism with the automaton, puppetry with the divine, physics with dance, film with the other arts, and literature as the connecting and separating switch between mythos and logos.
II. The Telephone Card
Almost everything is made visible on the télécarte. The telephone card, like all other objects, is a poem, an enormously compressed system of historical meanings calling for the unfolding of an infinite work of interpretation. It is also, apparently, a poem in the narrower and more traditional sense as well. The phone card expresses the arrogant will-to-power of technology as it works 24/7 to overcome the night in its dream of an infinite day, a day that is day all day and will no longer make the descent, through evening, into the darkness of night.
The telephone is the subject that acts and we all know how to read these oppositions: the daylight of rationality, life, the technical regime will overcome the non-rational, death, and those experiences of human life, if there are any, not yet brought completely under the domination of the technical.
The phone card brings with it all the questions of technologics, which include:
• The question of technologics, in its positivistic sense, as the enabling fantasy of contemporary culture, to create the death of death through technical means.
• The question of technologics as phantomenology and the uncanniness of the experience of the suspension of animation, the crossing-over between the animate and the inanimate, person and thing that we are all undergoing.
• The question of whether everything, human beings included, can be brought under the regime of calculation and surveillance, computation, command and control.
• The question of the intimate proximity between the emergence of the posthuman and the primordiality of myth.
• And, finally, the question of literature as it has evolved in the cyclotron of language since, say, Nietzsche, Nerval, Melville, Rimbaud, and Mallarmé: theory of all sorts from semiotics to post-structuralism; dada, surrealism, language poetry; the digital arts and new media, etc. And how this history is linked to the visual arts, the sciences, and the disappearance, still in progress, of both the subject and the object.
Technologics has, since whenever humans became human, always formed us. The telephone and all of its digitized analogues are all nascently present in the machinery of the Platonic dialectic as it attempts to abstract and mathematicize itself on the ascent toward the infinite day of life and away from the dark clamminess of the cave. Plato’s writing acts both as a sorting-machine of values, drawing up the schemata of the Divided Line with its separation of psyche and soma that will haunt all idealisms, including the idealism of the technological sublime that will want to cast off the body for the sake of the durability of pattern and information, as well as a facsimile-machine that will transmit its own graphing of being forward into our own history.
As if glossing the télécarte-poem—a new Minitel genre of literature, philosophy, and advertising that is the dream of an unbroken radiance—Jean Baudrillard reminds us of the beneficial necessity of the gap between a star’s light and its delayed perception by us, since the “simultaneous perception of the light of all the stars would be equivalent to an absolute daylight, and this would be unbearable for us” (VI 72). The fantasy of an infinite day or of a finality of simultaneity—information available the instant we desire it—entails a complete erasure of the vacillation between day and night given by the movement of the earth, between the moment of desire and its (non)fulfillment, and of the rhythmicity upon which both time and writing, and therefore consciousness and literature, depend.
Jacques Derrida, who for me is always on this party line, puts it this way in “Ulysses Gramophone”:
a telephonic interiority: for before any appliance bearing the name `telephone’ in modern times, the telephonic techne is at work within the voice, multiplying the writing of voices without any instruments, as Mallarmé would say, a mental telephony, which, inscribing remoteness, distance, différance, and spacing in the phone, at the same time institutes, forbids, and interferes with the so-called monologue. (271)
There is no such thing as a monologue, whether it be Molly Bloom’s or anyone else’s. There is, though, a telephony of the telepathic always at work in the soul.
These instances of overlapping binaries and interfaces of day and night indicate that we are working along the edges of the mythos and that our tales of the telephone form a series of points of contact between the traditional world of thing, person, and story and the posthuman world of the haunted cyborg, which is also showing itself to be generative of a wealth of mythologizing narratives. Now, however, just as we have new technologies that are rapidly extending genetic and electronic research, so, too, we also have developed new methodologies—myth-studies, psychoanalysis, semiotics, feminist analyses, cultural studies, narratology, media studies, performance studies, and deconstruction—that can help us understand the ways in which our collective and individual stories operate. Much of this circuitry of narrative goes on “unconsciously” and automatically, far beyond and beneath our immediate perceptual awareness, but if we can learn to serve not only as conductors but also as circuit-breakers—by, for example, thinking or reading—we can occasionally see how things work. The machinery is fascinating.
The posthuman seems to be forming itself as a symbiosis between scientific rationality, dynamic interfaces metamorphosing the organic and the inorganic, and the continuing power of the mythic imagination. To an ever greater extent the space of the evolution of the thing-human is becoming a form of design-space. Always, from the earliest chipped stone ax to the latest in biomedical imaging or the most sophisticated Handy, human beings have been technologized, supplementing the given world of nature with the design-world of artifice. We are all becoming newer models of the mobile phone, which continue to carry history as a kind of shadowed ghost, jacked in to the technical matrix whether we “want” to or not, whether or not it is our “will.” A ringing phone, as we know, must be answered. Even now, you are listening to me in the mode of waiting for a call, poised to respond should one arrive.
III. Call Forwarding the Literary
Since, as David Wellbery notes in his foreword to Friedrich Kittler’s Discourse Networks 1800/1900, “literature is medially constituted—that is, if it is a means for the processing, storage, and transmission of data—then its character will change historically according to the material and technical resources at its disposal” (xiii). This, perhaps, seems to us like a truism as we take the first steps into e-literature, New Media objects, and the like, but this focus on technical materialities co-exists in great tension with that trajectory of the posthuman that seeks a liberation of spirit/mind/information from the “constraints” of the material world. (This, in my view, is one of the powerfully enigmatic conjunctions that produces both ghosts and cyborgs as central figures that mark our entry into a new, perhaps terminal, phase of the history of the human.)
What, then, are some of the trends that are emerging for literature within the field of possibilities of the telephonic age? There are, of course, many texts whose themes are the social effects of technology as it expands its power to colonize every niche of human life from before birth through the after-life. Manjula Padmanabhan’s Harvest, for example, is a play about many things, including postcolonialism, globalization, dreams, ghosts, and technology. Most specifically, it is about the sale and transfer of individual organs, and, indeed, entire bodies from the poor to the very rich.
About the setting of Harvest—a terrifying pun on the way an agricultural harvest has given way to the harvest of human organs—Padmanabhan tells us that:
For the sake of coherence, this play is set in Bombay, the DONORS and RECEIVERS should take on the racial identities, names, costumes and accents most suited to the location of the production. It matters only that there be a highly recognizable distinction between the two groups, reflected in speech, clothing and appearance. The GUARDS and AGENTS are intermediate between the extremes, but resemble DONORS more than RECEIVERS. The year is 2010.
There is a circuitry established between givers and receivers, between the poor and the rich, that is connected by a “contact module” that is always in the recording mode, even when the apparatus it is apparently “dead.” (As Avital Ronell has reminded us, echoing the calls of Heidegger and Alexander Graham Bell, there is no off switch to technology; it is always on, putting us always on-call).
In this world that waits just slightly ahead of us, the rich can claim that “We secured Paradise—at the cost of birds and flowers, bees and snakes! So we designed the programme. We support poorer sections of the world, while gaining fresh bodies for ourselves” (246). The mother of the man who is selling his body receives a “Lexus Phantasticon” sarcophagus, which takes care of her every need, biological and otherwise, including 750 video channels from around the world and “all media access,” including “Manual control panel, neuro-stimulator and full-body processing capacities—all other queries will be answered on-line form within the VideoCouch self-training program” (243). The telephone has been bundled with other media to create the perfectly enclosed environment for constant entertainment until that unfortunate moment when the link is broken. Finally, the young woman in the play challenges the wealthy buyer to come and “risk his skin” for her and the possibility of creating a child by the old-fashioned means of sexual reproduction. Harvest, along with innumerable texts from science fiction, fantasy, and cyberpunk, will continue to explore the human entry into the design-space of technicity in more or less the familiar material formats of the more or less traditional novel.
But theme, as important as it is to the continuing critique of technologics, is not, perhaps, the most important aspect of the format to come under scrutiny. As Katherine Hayles has argued in Writing Machines: “To change the physical form of the artifact is not merely to change the act of reading (although that too has consequences the importance of which we are only beginning to recognize) but profoundly to transform the metaphoric network structuring the relation of word to world” (23) and “Even when technology does not appear as a theme, it is woven into the fictional world through the processes that produce the literary work as a material artifact” (130). She does her usual brilliant analyses of texts, e- and otherwise, focusing on Greg Egan’s Permutation City, Talan Memmott’s Lexia to Perplexia, Tom Phillips’s A Humument: A Treated Victorian Novel; Mark Danielewski’s House of Leaves, concluding about the latter that its remarkable achievement [is] to devise a form that locates the book within the remediations of the digital era, along with the concomitant realization that reference becomes unstable or inaccessible in such an environment, and still deliver the pleasures of traditional realistic fiction” (128).
Hayles also addresses the more general problems of reading telephonically, commenting that when we attempt to read what we cannot read—whether a computer language, the totality of nature or society, or the unconscious—then “the occluded display signifies a trajectory in which we become a part of a cybernetic circuit. Interpolated into the circuit, we metamorphose from individual interiorized subjectivities to actors exercising agency within the extended cognitive systems that include non-human actors” (51). Part of what I am suggesting by my all too brief allusions to Plato, Marx, and Derrida is that we have always been “extended cognitive systems that include non-human actors”—that’s what “individual interiorized subjectivity” is—but also that the present transepochal moment facilitates a different articulation and extension of this experiment in living.
Adding to the cool quotient of Writing Machines is the fact that it is itself a text that stages its own status as a telebook The design of the book—including its size, organization, the distributed network of its scholarly apparatus as a web supplement (see www.mitpress.edu/mediawork), and Erik Loyer’s multimedia Hollowbound Book that responds to its “source”—all serve to underscore its material status as an artfully constructed object, and not just the irrelevant carrier of that strange event called “meaning.” In an encouraging reversal of some of the de-materializing tendencies of technologics, Hayles work reminds us, even in the very midst of the technical transformation of human life, of the body of the text, of the body of the body, and of the body of the world. Information is body and the body is informed.
Hayles, of course, is not the first to reflect on writing machines. Among many others, Mark Twain was one of the earliest. On March 10, 1875, in Hartford (the same city where the inventor of the coin telephone, William Gray, lived), Twain claimed in his Unpublished Autobiography that “In a previous chapter of this Autobiography I have claimed that I was the first person in the world that ever had a telephone in the house for practical purposes; I will now claim--until dispossess--that I was the first person in the world to APPLY THE TYPE-MACHINE TO LITERATURE.” There is a great deal to say about this little vignette, but only two brief comments here. First, I do not know how to read “until dispossess”—perhaps it is a typo—and, secondly, APPLY THE TYPE-MACHINE TO LITERATURE is trumpeted forth in capital letters, as if to make sure we take note of the fact and express the horror or the excitement—we are very close here to the technological sublime—of the speaker. Less than a year later, on March 6, 1876, Alexander Graham Bell uttered the originary telephone sentence from one room to the next: “Come here, Watson, I want you.” Twain, of course, had a rejoinder to this invention: “The human voice carries entirely too far as it is,” he said, “and now you fellows come along and seek to complicate matters….” (Brief History).
With all of these examples of the directions contemporary literature is exploring, the one quasi-constant that remains is the necessity for reading. Literature is the same as it has always been—writing in a material format—and, at the same time, it is a radically new experiment in the multimedia languages of electricity. We live within the quotations marks of “and, at the same time,” and, therefore, are haunted by the possibility of literature as it both vanishes as an autonomous realm of free production and also as it begins to appear in new forms. For example, on the télécarte. Why is a simple poem such an effective genre for an entire philosophy of technology, capital, numeracy, and communication?
Literature, in whatever form it come to take, is unthinkable without a process of reading, and, therefore, involves a delay in comprehension, indeed a delay in what we call “experience.” This will be true with e-literature as well as the type printed on paper. Citing Jacques Fontanille’s Littérature, Informatique, Lecture, Jan van Looy and Jan Baetans argue that the “only way to read hyperfiction thoroughly is to read as we have learned to read texts: slowly, and with much effort, continually going forward and backward, not by clicking, navigating, or experiencing randomly. The only was to act as a free reader is not to read more rapidly, but, on the contrary, to slow down…” (9).There is, as we all know, no front door into paradise; one must travel all around the world to find the hidden door, and, even so, the world is always expanding more quickly than any eye of thought. Reading will never be equal to this task, which is why we must continually be teaching ourselves, painfully slowly, to re-read.
IV. The Web Address of Literature
My address is sent toward the address email@example.com, which can be accessed either through the web or through the wireless phone system as a text message. We do not really understand a single part of this address, but we can gesture in certain directions. These are all in shorthand, as our screens are becoming ever more miniaturized as media are bundled together with the help of micro-circuitry.
Literature is a border phenomenon in all senses of the word. In response to the call of a foundational yes, it then oscillates wildly between the yes and the no, never able to move toward truth or falsehood since it is, by its own preference, snagged in the complex networks of the fiction and virtuality, neither this nor that: living or dead, past or present or future. It is an open field of possibility where, like quantum foam, the unexpected appears and requires a reading. It is a form of turbulence, a perturbation in the post-Enlightenment system of knowledge, what William Paulson has called the “noise of culture,” the background against which the clear and distinct of message and meaning emerges. And it brings with it the question of time, of history, perhaps of the disappearance of history. As Bill Readings has put it:
The tradition haunts (and can’t be either fully inhabited or fully abandoned). The failure of traditional literary historians has always been to believe that they can live out the role of the living dead that literature imposes….Literature is entombed so that it may reduced to an object of present consciousness, so that it can stay in the grave, lest it walk and threaten the lucid rationality of our daylight. This chance, this risk, will demand of us a new literacy, one that is at odds with the logic of expertise, of disciplinary competence. (Readings 205, my emphasis)
Literature, whether in print or electronic form, will force us to create new means of reading, but reading will remain as long as the remains of literature remain.
The “at” is analyzed by Heidegger as the “as” and “about” in Being and Time, for instance §32 “Understanding and Interpretation,” §33 “Assertion as a Derivative Mode of Interpretation,” especially H.159. See, also, §69 “The Temporality of Being-in-the-world and the Problem of the Transcendence of the World.” “Like understanding and interpretation in general the `as’ is grounded in the ecstatico-horizonal unity of temporality” (H. 360). Beginning here, we could move to the “at” of the “at home, “ (bei/chez), which would immediately launch us into the heimlich and its “un-”: the literature of the uncanny from at least Hoffman on, including the enormous outpouring of recent work on spectrality, hauntology, phantomenology, etc. Let me just speak of the “at” as the space of metaphoricity and let Andrew Bowie do the talking:
It is in this dimension of understanding which is not a registering of pre-existing truth-determinate objects `out there’ in the world independent of what we say about them, that the potential aesthetic aspect of our relationship to language becomes apparent. The structure of “seeing-as” is fundamental both to knowledge clams in the sciences, and to the experience of literary or other art works, because it is the basis of how the contents of our inner and outer worlds become articulated…This approach begins to suggest good theoretical reasons why `literature’ might continue to be a major source of the ways in which we make sense of the world, a fact that has, for example become increasingly important in recent working the history of science. (18)
Let’s take the Yes-Yes as a mark of Derrida’s “original iterability,” the trace that gives rise to the origin that enables anything that is anything to come to presence. There must be repetition and simulacra for there to be presencing, which is always a response to finding ourselves in the tragicomedy of the world. In “Ulysses Gramophone: Hear Say Yes In Joyce,” Derrida outlines the parameters of this affirming vibration. Take just three:
There are several modalities or tonalities of the telephonic yes, but one of them, without saying anything else, amounts to marking, simply, that we are here, present, listening, on the end of the line, ready to respond but not for the moment responding with anything other than the preparation to respond. (270)
In order for the yes of affirmation, assent, consent, alliance, of engagement, signature or gift to have the value it has, it must carry the repetition within itself. It must a priori and immediately confirm its promise and promise its confirmation. This essential repetition lets itself be haunted by an intrinsic threat, by an internal telephone which parasites it like its mimetic, mechanical double, like its incessant parody. (276)
yes is the transcendental condition of all performative dimensions…[not yet in the space of the origin of negation, of affirmation or of denegation…]….Before the Ich in Ich bin affirms or negates, it poses itself or pre-poses itself: not as ego, as the conscious or unconscious self, as masculine or feminine subject, spirit or flesh, but as a pre-performative force…Negatives may ensue, but even if they completely take over, this yes can no longer be erased. (298)
Even by the final punctum of death, which philosophy, one hopes, will continue to teach us about even as it morphs into cybernetics.
The dot, at this moment, belongs to Roland Barthes and to the punctuality of the point, the temporality of space. As he points out in Camera Lucida, a “Latin word exists to designate this wound, this prick, this mark made by a pointed instrument: the word suits me all the better in that it also refers to the notion of punctuation…This second element which will disturb the studium [the field of interests] I shall therefore call punctum; for punctum is also: sting, speck, cut, little hole—and also a cast of the dice.” (27) The punctum, unlike the studium, is uncoded—it breaks in upon us like a surprise—and, extended, it becomes the cut, the slash, the piercing ring or the so-called “personalized greeting” of a phone call. And, like the photo, the phone also mysteriously achieves the pataphysical “impossible science of the unique being” (CL 71) and it is alive “as corpse: it is the living image of a dead thing” (CL 79). This spectrality of conjunction runs throughout Camera Lucida and is fundamental, for Barthes, to the entire experience of the photograph. How much more, then, is this true for us and the websites in front of which, and within, we spend our paid-for time? The dot-coms, the dot-orgs, the dot-nets, and the dot-edus?
We are all, in one way or another, educators, and we therefore head away from the comforts of any final disciplinary competencies, much less certainties, and into a telephonic network of complexity and ambiguity. We are part of the communities, both in universities and in many other sites, of those who have been “addressed” and who “address” others—in classes, programs, books, problems, multiple media from music to the mobile, and the buzzing host of questions concerning transepochal culture that we are trying not only to survive, but also to form a structure of a legacy that will assist, in a small but perhaps necessary manner, the future to sustain itself. How, then, can we educate ourselves for this point? We can learn, to whatever extent possible, how to use the phone; we can learn the function of the cut and the frame, of the collage and pastiche so familiar to us as postmoderns. As Barthes notes: “The scene, the picture, the shot, the cut-out rectangle, here we have the very conditions that allows us to conceive theater, painting, cinema, literature, all those arts, that is, other than music, and which could be called dioptric arts” (IMT 69-70). I’d be inclined to include music as well, and how might we add the science to the list of these arts? Is digital art, by definition, a dioptric art? Perhaps we should expand the name to polyoptrics? And how will all of this relate to the brutality of history?
The networked address of literature is the story of a call and a response to that call, for there is always some one, or some thing, calling us to think. That may be number, a ghost, a genetic code, a text, a person, a hummingbird, or a simple telephone call. The literal history of the telephone is inaugurated with a plucked reed and a ghost. As Watson, who participated in séances and served as Bell’s other end of the circuit, recalls in his autobiography: “The twang of that reed that I plucked on June 2, 1875, marked the birth of one of the greatest of modern inventions, for when the electrically carried ghost of that twang reaching Bell’s ear his teeming brain shaped the first electric speaking telephone the world had even known” (Exploring Life, 67-68, my emphasis).
And, for the task that lies before us a kind of dreaming-thinking might be required, or, at the very least, a development of the hyperlinks between what Freud names with his usual simplicity the primary and the secondary processes, along with all their analogues. Living along these links into the future will require a new kind of poesis that re-visions, without rejecting any of these processes, the relationship between the rational, the non-rational, the affective, and the mythological.
This is the dimension of literature, that, as Serres has said, provides passageways between otherwise disconnected continents. Literature sets up a different circuitry, and circuitry always implies a network of others who are always both talking and listening in. “Yes indicates that there is address to the other,” Derrida argues. “This address is not necessarily a dialogue or an interlocution, since it assumes neither voice nor symmetry, but the haste, in advance, of a response that is already asking. For if there is some other, if there is some yes, then the other no longer lets itself be produced by the same or by the ego….Time appears only as a result of this singular anachrony” (299). Literature brings with it temporality and the play of yes/no that is found, for instance, in Bartleby, the scrivener screened in his cubicle on Wall Street.
The Telecom télécarte repeats itself and asks, yet again, to be understood.
ignore la nuit,
Il est le
Like all reading and writing, this is an impossible task, but it must nonetheless be taken up time and time again from a host of different locales, in a host of different idioms. Otherwise, the call of telephonics will be entirely missed and ring on ears deaf to the possibility of possibility. The lines will be permanently shut down and literature will vanish like a flare of heat lightning that we vaguely remember we once saw on the threshold between waking and sleep, between day and night, without knowing which was to come. It is a telephonic world in which we live, which we have always been, and which, now, we are becoming in a different sense, as an updated and different model.
What is that faint noise? I hear, at least I think that I hear, a ringing in your ear. Our mobiles are all ringing at once. Who is calling? Do you know who, or what, it is even before picking up to answer? Who’s there? Will you say Yes? And Yes again?
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Bowie, Andrew. From Romanticism to Critical Theory: The Philosophy of German Literary Theory. New York: Routledge, 1996.
Brief History of the Telephone:
Derrida, Jacques. “Ulysses Gramophone: Hear Say Yes In Joyce.” Acts of Literature. Ed. Derek Attridge. New York: Routledge, 1992.
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Padmanabhan, Manjula. Harvest, in Postcolonial Plays. Ed. Helen Gilbert. New York: Routledge, 2001.
Readings, Bill. “Difficult Times: Manifesto for a Postmodern Literary History,” Postmodern Times: A Critical Guide to the Contemporary. Ed Thomas Carmichael and Alison Lee. DeKalb, IL: Northern Illinois UP, 1999.
Serres, Michel. “The Origin of Language: Biology, Information Theory, & Thermodynamics.” Hermes: Literature, Science, Philosophy. Ed. Josué V. Harari and David F. Bell. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP.
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