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Andrew Cutting, London Metropolitan University

How might we reread James for a digital age? Should we use him to resist the impacts of new media and technologies? Or can we exploit these technologies to better popularise and understand James's writing?

Almost all of James's fictions are now available online as e-texts. If you're interested in James and communications technology, read "In the Cage," the tale of telegraphy he dictated in 1898, and some of the recent papers on it. What more could you want? As the contents of Richard Hathaway's The Henry James Scholar's Guide to Websites indicates, James studies has responded to the digitisation of Western culture.

These responses are unlikely to be the final word, however. This paper lays out a possible agenda of issues for James studies in thinking about how further to respond to the ongoing social, cultural, and academic implications of new media. It explores the possible application of three central concepts that have established themselves during the last ten years of cyberculture studies (the cyborg, hypertext, and virtuality) though these concepts may well be superseded in future. At the time of writing, some of the most effective work pushing forward the theorising of new media is being undertaken by Lev Manovich, particularly in The Language of New Media (2001).

One of the aims of this paper is to indicate some key secondary texts in this way. Rather than attempt to resolve issues through detailed argument, I indicate, fairly briefly, some principal lines of enquiry. I have adopted a simple hypertext format of presentation, though readers can also print out an alternative linear version. My discussion reviews some of the major existing frameworks for debate and points to possible future developments. While some of these developments might be taken up by individual scholars, such as myself, other potential projects would require a more collective response.