New Media, 1740–1915

From Media in Transition

New Media, 1740–1915

Edited by Lisa Gitelman and Geoffrey B. Pingree

A cultural history of media that were "new media" in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.





A cultural history of media that were "new media" in the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries.

Reminding us that all media were once new, this book challenges the notion that to study new media is to study exclusively today's new media. Examining a variety of media in their historic contexts, it explores those moments of transition when new media were not yet fully defined and their significance was still in flux. Examples range from familiar devices such as the telephone and phonograph to unfamiliar curiosities such as the physiognotrace and the zograscope. Moving beyond the story of technological innovation, the book considers emergent media as sites of ongoing cultural exchange. It considers how habits and structures of communication can frame a collective sense of public and private and how they inform our apprehensions of the "real." By recovering different (and past) senses of media in transition, New Media, 1740-1915 promises to deepen our historical understanding of all media and thus to sharpen our critical awareness of how they acquire their meaning and power.

ContributorsWendy Bellion, Erin C. Blake, Patricia Crain, Ellen Gruber Garvey, Lisa Gitelman, Geoffrey B. Pingree, Gregory Radick, Laura Burd Schiavo, Katherine Stubbs, Diane Zimmerman Umble, Paul Young


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262072458 306 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 42 illus.


$35.00 X ISBN: 9780262572286 306 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 42 illus.


Lisa Gitelman

Lisa Gitelman is Professor of English and Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University. She is the coeditor of New Media, 1710–1915 (2003) and author of Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture (2006), both published by the MIT Press.

Geoffrey B. Pingree

Geoffrey B. Pingree is Assistant Professor of Cinema Studies and English at Oberlin College.


  • This anthology will make a major contribution to the history of media by providing both new information and new models. In carefully prepared case studies—ranging from the employment of female telegraph operators to the use of sound recording to determine if apes had a language—this volume supplies new ideas about how media shape culture and how cultures shape media.

    Tom Gunning

    Chair, Committee on Cinema and Media, University of Chicago, and author of The Cinema of Fritz Lang: Allegories of Vision and Modernity