A Quick Read(ies): Speed and Formula in Bob Brown's Pulp Fiction and Avant-Garde Machines
Author: Saper, Craig
Source: Avant Garde Critical Studies, The Popular Avant-Garde. Edited by Renée M. Silverman , pp. 175-182(8)
Abstract:Best-selling pulp-fiction writer, avant-garde poet, publisher, sloganeer, stock trader, and cookbook writer Bob Brown (1886-1959) invented a reading machine in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Contextualizing the machine with Brown's other, “popular” works and varied careers illuminates a link between the avant-garde and lowbrow culture. The speed and dynamism of his machine shaped the future of reading so as to serve the purposes of mass-producing pulp fiction. Yet avant-garde rhetoric, including Brown's own manifestos, claimed that the modernist work rejected the quick read of mass culture. Incorporating speed, algorithmic formulas, and a sense of adventure made his and other twentieth-century writing flow seamlessly across the high/low boundary. Brown's reading machine broke new ground at the crossing of popular culture and the vanguard, anticipating the way in which such inventions as the Internet (e-mail) and cellular telephones (text messaging) would transform writing.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: 2010-11-01
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