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Journal Article

The Vibrating Wire: Nicholson Baker's Vox and the Art of Analog

Casey Michael Henry
Journal of Modern Literature
Vol. 39, No. 2 (Winter 2016), pp. 20-38
Published by: Indiana University Press
DOI: 10.2979/jmodelite.39.2.02
Stable URL:
Page Count: 19
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The Vibrating Wire: Nicholson Baker's Vox and the Art of Analog
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There is a lack of critical understanding of Nicholson Baker's “phone sex novel” Vox (1992). Chiefly overlooked is the exact function of Vox's complex system of outmoded telecommunications technology, which the novelist uses in order to experiment with erotic possibilities of the human voice. Viewed historically, Baker's embrace of analog technology occurs out of sync with the concurrent development of the ARPAnet into the public Internet. His strategic disruption of the Internet's potential for communication foregrounds personal voice as a more intimate mode of sexual mediation than sterile and deterministic digital models. Understanding the full nature of Baker's analog-directed perspective is essential for unpacking Baker's recurring interest in idiosyncratic sexuality.

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