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.
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