Luna’s Café: The Next Generation

Legacies of Modernism
The State of British Poetry Today | 9-11 June 2011 | Université Paris-Diderot

Friday 10 June, 3.15 pm Panel 5
Joe Luna, University of Sussex: ‘All your poems are belong to us: reading internets in contemporary British poetry’

‘Is that an extra code for something? Cuz my generation doesn’t deal with direct sarcasm’ (Ryan Trecartin)

‘Access denied’ (Milton, Paradise Lost, IV. 137)

Is there a new digital humanism afoot in contemporary British poetry? My paper will explore this fecund contradiction by positing links between traditional Romantic notions of Immortality and Spirit (as evinced by Hazlitt and Shelley among others) with a new breed of poets for whom ‘Immortality’ is found in the multiple lives of computer game characters, and ‘Spirit’ becomes isomorphic with the Ghost in the Shell. In his Lyric Poetry and Society, Adorno states that ‘In industrial society the lyric idea of a self-restoring immediacy becomes – where it does not impotently evoke a romantic past – more and more something that flashes out abruptly, something in which what is possible transcends its own impossibility’; but where, in the truly infinite abstractions of digital society, can we locate this ‘immediacy’, and what are its implications for the poetic recuperation of humanity at the risk of absolute dispersion by the tentacles of late-capitalist alienation? Arguably the dialectics of internet culture and video-game mentality produce a collectivization of human subjects who at once recognize their humanity through the increasingly ‘realistic’ semblances of life such diversions procure, at the same time as they are removed from the ‘reality’ of active subjectivity and their interaction reduced to chat boxes and status updates. How are contemporary poets responding to and working in the motherboards of digital Pop culture? I will argue that works by Justin Katko & Jow Lindsay, Jefferson Toal, Mike Wallace-Hadrill and Jonty Tiplady produce varying forms of ‘.jpeg transcendentalism’ that flesh out in belligerent chrome an ‘intense inane’ (Shelley) that instead of ‘impotently evoking’ a Romantic inheritance, recuperate and détourn the ersatz affirmation in digital culture precisely in order to transcend its own impossibility.

A new PhD studentship opportunity at Reading

This AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award Studentship is suitable for UK/EU applicants:

The Typeface Designs of Eric Gill

University of Reading – Department of Typography & Graphic Communication
St Bride Library, London

An AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Award studentship (fully funded fees and maintenance) between the University of Reading and St Bride Library, London is available to a suitably qualified UK or EU student.

The period in which Eric Gill's typefaces were first manufactured was the golden age of hot metal typesetting and Gill himself is arguably the most important British typeface designer of the twentieth century. However, as an artist he did not have the necessary technical knowledge of type production and so craftsmen and engineers also played a role in manufacturing Gill's typefaces. This research will document the complete body of Gill's work as a typeface designer for the first time; explain the role he played in the conception and manufacture of each of his designs; evaluate the impact of hot-metal typesetting technology on Gill's typefaces and investigate the extent to which this was carried forward into subsequent versions which were produced for photocomposition and digital typesetting.

In addition to extensive archival research at St Bride Library this doctoral research will draw on the archives of the Monotype Corporation Type Drawing Office held by Monotype Imaging, and of Ditchling Museum.

Closing date for applications: 24 June 2011