Cover of Telegraphic Realism by Richard Menke
Telegraphic Realism
Victorian Fiction and Other Information Systems
Richard Menke


336 pages.

Hardcover ISBN: 9780804756914


Excerpts and More

Menke's Telegraphic Realism is the first comprehensive reading of Victorian fiction as part of an emerging world of new media technologies and information exchange. The book analyzes the connections between fictional writing, communication technologies, and developing ideas about information, from the postage stamp and electric telegraph to wireless. By placing fiction in dialogue with media history, it argues that Victorian realism was print culture's sophisticated response to the possibilities and dilemmas of a world of media innovations and information flows.

About the author

Richard Menke is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Georgia.

"Telegraphic Realism is an important academic study whose novelty lies in the convincing way that it reveals connections between Victorian fiction, literary and media theory, and cultural history. Richard Menke offers excellent, highly original readings of well-studied works not previously associated with communications technologies."

—Laura Otis, Emory University

"Telegraphic Realism argues that Victorian realism was galvanized—in some cases quite literally—by Victorian technology. From the Penny Post to the electric telegraph to the wireless, Menke delineates a "media ecology" and an increasing awareness of writing itself as a technology. Attending to advertising, scientific writing, and political and social debates, he shows how novelists were preoccupied with technologies that claimed realist effects and challenged literary claims to mimesis."

—Teresa Mangum, University of Iowa

"Richard Menke has written a literary study which draws on the published history of networked communications technology to make arguments about the development of new technologies of writing by popular Victorain-era authors of British fiction."

Technology and Culture