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Open AccessArticle

Time Is/Time Was/Time Is Not: David Mitchell and the Resonant Interval

School of Critical Studies, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8QQ, UK
Philosophies 2019, 4(3), 46; https://doi.org/10.3390/philosophies4030046
Received: 30 June 2019 / Revised: 8 August 2019 / Accepted: 11 August 2019 / Published: 14 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Philosophies of Time, Media and Contemporaneity)
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Abstract

Seven weeks before the release of his novel, Slade House (2015), David Mitchell began tweeting as a character, “Bombadil”, from the forthcoming text. The tweets appeared on an account, @I_Bombadil (2015), set up by Mitchell, with the platform affording the author the opportunity to extend the character’s narrative arc beyond the pages of the print-published novel and into Twitter’s digital environs. For Mitchell, the boundaries separating literary works are never absolute and the process of repeatedly returning to and referencing prior works, methodically expanding and stretching his corpus by thematically and structurally folding each new work into an extant literary universe, is the central characteristic of his literary practice. What was notable in the case of @I_Bombadil and Slade House, however, was that the connections across and between the works were also connections across and between distinct media environments. This article examines the ways in which the temporal-spatial entanglements between @I_Bombadil and Slade House, characteristic of Mitchell’s retrospective and recursive literary practice, were intensified and complicated as they were further tangled up with the temporal–spatial dynamics of digital and print media respectively. By utilising Marshall McLuhan’s media studies, and particularly his concept of the “resonant interval”—the borderline between “acoustic” and “visual” space produced in the dialogue between electronic (digital) and print media—as a means of articulating the dialogic double-space in between @I_Bombadil and Slade House, this article addresses the works as a symbiotic product of both literary technique and materialist media operability, adopting a nuanced, media-oriented perspective that fully engages with the temporal affordances of the Twitter platform as an inextricable aspect of the fundamentally temporal-spatial dynamics of Mitchell’s “resonant” literary practice. View Full-Text
Keywords: David Mitchell; Marshall McLuhan; temporality; resonant interval; Twitter literature; the novel; serialisation; digital media; print media David Mitchell; Marshall McLuhan; temporality; resonant interval; Twitter literature; the novel; serialisation; digital media; print media
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Purcell, S.J. Time Is/Time Was/Time Is Not: David Mitchell and the Resonant Interval. Philosophies 2019, 4, 46.

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