Daniel Clinton

Dissertation Fellow
Image of Daniel Clinton.

How does a theory of photography offer a useful framework for analyzing the disruptive effects of mass culture upon the aesthetic framework of literary texts? In his dissertation, Mechanical Reproduction in the Age of Immediacy, Daniel Clinton (English) argues that the fascination with optical devices in the writing of antebellum American authors provides a model for their reconceptualization of literary artifice. By examining the duel influence of Romantic aesthetic theory and technical media on the works of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville, Mr. Clinton claims that literary allusions to visual media offer not only a reflection of emerging cultural dynamics, but also a deliberate theorization of literary effect as both a type of mechanism and a type of consciousness.