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Talk: Listening to Lovecraft: 'Weird Fiction' Among the New Media
Date: 21 April 2011 

The School of Modern Languages and Cultures' American Studies Programme and The School of English have the pleasure of inviting you to the following talk: 

Listening to Lovecraft:  'Weird Fiction' Among the New Media

Professor James Steintrager
(The University of California, Irvine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong) 

Date: April 21, 2011 (Thursday)
Time: 5pm - 7pm           
Venue: LG104, K.K.Leung Building

Although recently canonized with a volume in the Library of America, H.P. Lovecraft's stories during his lifetime appeared in pulp magazines largely aimed at a teen, male demographic. A mass product of cheap print, Lovecraft's stories also took place in the context of rapid changes in media and communication technologies. Many of these changes are registered thematically in his works, and the tale on which I will concentrate—the horrific and somewhat comic 'Whisperer in Darkness'—features telegraphs, portable recording devices, gramophones, and, indeed, an imagined technology for transporting living brains throughout the solar system. In this talk, I will show how we can make out in the buzzes, hums, and distortions of the new media that Lovecraft evokes a creeping dread about the end of reading itself: the practice of silent, interior meaning production via the printed word.

About the speaker:
James Steintrager is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine, and is currently a visiting Fulbright scholar in the Department of Cultural and Religious Studies at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Cruel Delight: Enlightenment Culture and the Inhuman (2004) and the forthcoming First Sexual Revolution: Libertines, License, and the Autonomy of Pleasure (Columbia University Press), along with articles on topics as varied as Hong Kong cinema, postcolonial theory and translation studies, and the theoretical reception of the Marquis de Sade. He is presently editing, with Rey Chow, a special double issue of the journal differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies on sound, mediation, and objectivity.


All are welcome. No registration required. For enquiries, please contact Ms. Lucilla Cheng (

The Talk is organized by The School of Modern Languages and Cultures, and The School of English.

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