Harriet Thompson (KCL) - 2018-19 Students

Transatlantic Transmissions: Telegraphic Literature in Britain and the United States (1851-1898)

‘Transatlantic Transmissions: Telegraphic Literature in Britain and the United States (1851-1898)’ explores nineteenth-century texts preoccupied with the electric telegraph as a new form of labour and communication. Victorian writers frequently dealt with the creative possibilities enabled by the electric telegraph as a site of human-machine relations. Beginning with the voyages to install the Atlantic Telegraph cable at the bottom of the ocean, I consider the ways in which telegraphic communication and its emergent labour and workforce were shaped in and by forms of literary production. By the end of the nineteenth century when Henry James published ‘In the Cage’ telegraphic labour, and consequently telegraph literature, was on the decline as it made way for newer forms of technological mediation.

Primary supervisor: Prof. Clare Pettitt, KCL

Secondary supervisor: Dr Seb Franklin, KCL

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