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My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts

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We live in a world, according to N. Katherine Hayles, where new languages are constantly emerging, proliferating, and fading into obsolescence. These are languages of our own making: the programming languages written in code for the intelligent machines we call computers. Hayles's latest exploration provides an exciting new way of understanding the relations between code a We live in a world, according to N. Katherine Hayles, where new languages are constantly emerging, proliferating, and fading into obsolescence. These are languages of our own making: the programming languages written in code for the intelligent machines we call computers. Hayles's latest exploration provides an exciting new way of understanding the relations between code and language and considers how their interactions have affected creative, technological, and artistic practices. My Mother Was a Computer explores how the impact of code on everyday life has become comparable to that of speech and writing: language and code have grown more entangled, the lines that once separated humans from machines, analog from digital, and old technologies from new ones have become blurred. My Mother Was a Computer gives us the tools necessary to make sense of these complex relationships. Hayles argues that we live in an age of intermediation that challenges our ideas about language, subjectivity, literary objects, and textuality. This process of intermediation takes place where digital media interact with cultural practices associated with older media, and here Hayles sharply portrays such interactions: how code differs from speech; how electronic text differs from print; the effects of digital media on the idea of the self; the effects of digitality on printed books; our conceptions of computers as living beings; the possibility that human consciousness itself might be computational; and the subjective cosmology wherein humans see the universe through the lens of their own digital age. We are the children of computers in more than one sense, and no critic has done more than N. Katherine Hayles to explain how these technologies define us and our culture. Heady and provocative, My Mother Was a Computer will be judged as her best work yet.


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We live in a world, according to N. Katherine Hayles, where new languages are constantly emerging, proliferating, and fading into obsolescence. These are languages of our own making: the programming languages written in code for the intelligent machines we call computers. Hayles's latest exploration provides an exciting new way of understanding the relations between code a We live in a world, according to N. Katherine Hayles, where new languages are constantly emerging, proliferating, and fading into obsolescence. These are languages of our own making: the programming languages written in code for the intelligent machines we call computers. Hayles's latest exploration provides an exciting new way of understanding the relations between code and language and considers how their interactions have affected creative, technological, and artistic practices. My Mother Was a Computer explores how the impact of code on everyday life has become comparable to that of speech and writing: language and code have grown more entangled, the lines that once separated humans from machines, analog from digital, and old technologies from new ones have become blurred. My Mother Was a Computer gives us the tools necessary to make sense of these complex relationships. Hayles argues that we live in an age of intermediation that challenges our ideas about language, subjectivity, literary objects, and textuality. This process of intermediation takes place where digital media interact with cultural practices associated with older media, and here Hayles sharply portrays such interactions: how code differs from speech; how electronic text differs from print; the effects of digital media on the idea of the self; the effects of digitality on printed books; our conceptions of computers as living beings; the possibility that human consciousness itself might be computational; and the subjective cosmology wherein humans see the universe through the lens of their own digital age. We are the children of computers in more than one sense, and no critic has done more than N. Katherine Hayles to explain how these technologies define us and our culture. Heady and provocative, My Mother Was a Computer will be judged as her best work yet.

30 review for My Mother Was a Computer: Digital Subjects and Literary Texts

  1. 4 out of 5

    Steen Ledet

    As always, an immensely ambitious and successful work on who and what we are as a species. Also as always, I find Hayles' theoretical work more fascinating than her readings, yet her readings are still strong.

  2. 5 out of 5

    VJ Um Amel

    will let you know

  3. 4 out of 5

    Erik

    I couldn't follow the argument of this book, although I found the topics of great interest to me. I feel the name-dropping and the literary theory and unclear language and argumentation got in the way of what could have been an interesting study. I was glad she liked Greg Egan however, one of my favorite authors.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    She did a good job of building and her argument and there were some good nuggets. Yet, I didn't like her examples as much in this book as others, and she did assume that the reader knew more than even the academic reader necessarily would. The writing style is overly academic, making little attempt to connect to the uninitiated in cyborg theory. I have read her other books, so I was able to wade through her text but I had to take my time with it much more than is normal for my own reading.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tbfrank

    This is not a book for the average reader. Chapter 1 is engaging up to a point but from then on the emphasis on literary scholarship narrows the attraction dramatically. I had to move on...

  6. 4 out of 5

    R

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Gray

  8. 4 out of 5

    Zach

  9. 5 out of 5

    Robert Delanghe

  10. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  11. 5 out of 5

    Claudia

  12. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zhoel13

  14. 5 out of 5

    Nicklally

  15. 5 out of 5

    Nikolaos

  16. 4 out of 5

    Keltin Barney

  17. 4 out of 5

    Subhajit Das

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kristina

  19. 5 out of 5

    Chris Rudge

  20. 4 out of 5

    Devin Becker

  21. 5 out of 5

    Amy

  22. 4 out of 5

    dipandjelly

  23. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  24. 4 out of 5

    T Nightbird

  25. 4 out of 5

    The Media Bunny

  26. 4 out of 5

    Grace

  27. 4 out of 5

    Stef

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jacob

  29. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  30. 5 out of 5

    Miguel Cardoso

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