From Walt Whitman to the contemporary period, the long poem has been one of the more dynamic, intricate, and yet challenging literary practices of modernity. Addressing those challenges, Writing in Real Time combines systems theory, literary history, and recent debates in poetics to interpret a broad range of American long poems as emergent systems, capable of adaptation and transformation in response to environmental change. Due to these emergent properties, the long poem performs essential cultural work, offering a unique experience of history that remains valuable for our rapidly transforming digital age. Moving across a broad range of literary and theoretical texts, Writing in Real Time demonstrates that the study of emergence can enhance literary scholarship, just as literature provides unique insights into emergent properties, making this book a key resource for scholars, graduate students, and undergraduate students alike.
“This extraordinary book shows us exactly how the dynamics of the long poem enable the form, in Pound’s phrase, to ‘include history.’ Jaussen develops a suite of basic concepts that make possible revelatory readings of key works, and a new understanding of modern poetry’s most ambitious project.”–Michael Clune, Case Western Reserve University, author of Writing Against Time and American Literature and the Free Market, 1945-2000
Forthcoming from Cambridge University Press, 2017. Purchase here.