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Monumental Novels: Big Books in Times of Big Data

  • Inge van de Ven
Wednesday 25 April 2018
Lipsius Building
Cleveringsplaats 1
2311BD Leiden

What do the works of the authors Roberto Bolaño, Karen Tei Yamashita, Karl Ove Knausgard, Mark Z. Danielewski and books artists like Irma Boom have in common? The answer is not genre, geographical background, or thematic orientations, but rather: material characteristics of weight, length, bulk, size, and number of pages. In this talk, literary and media scholar Inge van de Ven (Tilburg University) addresses contemporary big books and novels in terms of the shift from the bound book to the newer materialities of the digital. Through an analysis of characteristics like hybridity, slowness, mediacy, and materiality, she examines big books’ bulk, their affective powers, and their ability to inhabit spaces, as part and parcel of their ways of making sense of our experiences in and of a changing media-landscape. She argues that monumental novels and big books make a double gesture of adaptation to, and provocation of, the shift to digital media and the ideologies of big data.

Inge van de Ven is Assistant Professor of Online Culture in the Department of Culture Studies at Tilburg University. She is writing a moderately-sized book on big books.

This talk is part of the Leiden Lectures on Media | Art | Politics, organized by Pepita Hesselberth and Yasco Horsman, and made possible with the support of

For more information about upcoming events, check out the event series webpage.

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