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Jennifer Gutman publishes essay on twitter novel

Posted by on Friday, January 24, 2020 in Uncategorized.

Congratulations to CMAP student Jennifer Gutman who just published her essay, “Cyborg Storytelling: Virtual Embodiment in Jennifer Egan’s ‘Black Box’,” in Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction.


Responding to criticism that Jennifer Egan’s 2012 Twitter story “Black Box” was a failed social media experiment, this paper argues for its critical bearing on contemporary cultural and literary concerns, including theories of new humanism, the value of beauty as an ethical dimension of art, and the role of storytelling in the digital age. The story’s dystopic future world refigures technological mediation of the self as a deeply political and ambiguously ethical act. Though lacking in the type of formal play we might expect from a Twitter story, “Black Box” mobilizes traditional storytelling conventions within a non-traditional medium as a means of bringing distracted digital readers into a reflexive relationship with their own modes of technological embodiment. In this way, “Black Box” does more than tell a story about human experience in the digital age; it actively contributes to such experience and serves as a kind of treatise for a new mode of online, cyborg storytelling.

Jennifer Gutman (2020) Cyborg Storytelling: Virtual Embodiment in Jennifer Egan’s “Black Box”, Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction,  DOI: 10.1080/00111619.2020.1716679