#defiltered: Examining Instapoetry through the lens of literary naturalism

Knox, JuEunhae Ruth (2021) #defiltered: Examining Instapoetry through the lens of literary naturalism. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Currently 279,489,441 posts strong, the hashtag #nofilter belies Instagram’s infamy for filtered teenage selfies and embodies users’ increasing consciousness of their inauthenticity, especially among post-millennials daily exhibiting digitally manipulated identities. The extremely visual short-form genre of Instapoetry, boasting 14.7 million posts to #poetsofinstagram alone, represents this acute form of consumer unease, yet this so-called “fidget-spinner” literature has received little academic attention. While some magazines have featured the well-known Rupi Kaur, no academic work to date has extensively analysed the aesthetics and poetics of Instapoetry, nor the cultural antecedents that have contributed to its development.

This thesis therefore aims to examine a new oeuvre of digital literature by analysing its inheritance of rationalisation, which especially grew in the industrialisation of image and text during the early 20th century. In particular, I will juxtapose popular Instapoetry trends with longstanding motivations and practices of literary naturalists. While writers such as Jack London, Edith Wharton, Theodore Dreiser, and others are certainly separated from contemporary Instapoets by several decades, the naturalists similarly emerged during an increased shift toward a highly visual consumer culture. Their simultaneous participation in and resistance to the market forces that threatened their authorial autonomy, in the midst of public demand for rapidly manufactured, sensational texts, provides a helpful lens for examining contemporary Instapoetry practices. Paralleling the two genres’ similarities and distinctions in seeking monetary success and literary relevance, while manoeuvring within the creative economy, allows us to then grasp the potential for heteronomy or amelioration, effected by this most recent form of “authentic” and “accessible” digital self-expression.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Supervisor's Name: Gair, Dr. Chris and Stoddart, Dr. Helen
Date of Award: 2021
Embargo Date: 2 November 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2021-82553
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 08 Nov 2021 09:54
Last Modified: 08 Nov 2021 09:54
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82553
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82553

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