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Modernist ObjectsLiterature, Art, Culture$
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Noëlle Cuny and Xavier Kalck

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781949979503

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3828/liverpool/9781949979503.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 27 June 2022

Computer Science for (Live) Modernism(s)?

Computer Science for (Live) Modernism(s)?

Magazines as Metaobjects

(p.113) Chapter Six Computer Science for (Live) Modernism(s)?
Modernist Objects

Louise Kane

Liverpool University Press

This chapter frames little magazines and periodicals as modernist objects which are often preoccupied with their own materiality in a distinct and unprecedented manner. To illustrate this principle, I argue that the little magazine represents the textual equivalent of what is known in the field of Computer Science as a metaobject, a part of a computer system that has the power to modify and update itself via a process known as reflection. While the production of a book—the typesetting, printing, and assemblage or ‘gathering’ of pages tended to take place out of the sight of their writers, the limited economic funds of a little magazine meant that their editors had a direct role in the print process. Drawing on examples from global periodicals including the British Rhythm, the Japanese periodical Shirakaba, the American Crisis and Little Review, I argue that it is periodicals’ status as metaobjects that makes them modernist. Their editors’ material choices and continued self-conscious references to the magazine as object (often with a set object) produce uniquely subjective, live reading experiences which characterize magazines as indelibly modern. Their modernisms—able to be experienced just through reading the magazine – are therefore timeless and can be replayed again and again.

Keywords:   magazines, computer science, metaobject, reflection, Rhythm, Kyk-Over-Al, Shirakaba, The Crisis, The Little Review

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