Electronic Hearth by Cecelia Tichi
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Electronic Hearth
By Cecelia Tichi

Electronic Hearth

Creating an American Television Culture

By (author) See other recent books by Cecelia Tichi
Format: Paperback

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Electronic Hearth by Cecelia Tichi

Book Description

We all talk about the "tube" or "box," as if television were simply another appliance like the refrigerator or toaster oven. But Cecilia Tichi argues that TV is actually an environment-a pervasive screen-world that saturates almost every aspect of modern life. In Electronic Hearth, she looks at how that environment evolved, and how it, in turn, has shaped the American experience. Tichi explores almost fifty years of writing about television-in novels, cartoons, journalism, advertising, and critical books and articles-to define the role of television in the American consciousness. She examines early TV advertising to show how the industry tried to position the new device as not just a gadget but a prestigious new piece of furniture, a highly prized addition to the home. The television set, she writes, has emerged as a new electronic hearth-the center of family activity. John Updike described this "primitive appeal of the hearth" in Roger's Version: "Television is-its irresistable charm-a fire. Entering an empty room, we turn it on, and a talking face flares into being." Sitting in front of the TV, Americans exist in a safety zone, free from the hostility and violence of the outside world. She also discusses long-standing suspicions of TV viewing: its often solitary, almost autoerotic character, its supposed numbing of the minds and imagination of children, and assertions that watching television drugs the minds of Americans. Television has been seen as treacherous territory for public figures, from generals to presidents, where satire and broadcast journalism often deflate their authority. And the print culture of journalism and book publishing has waged a decades-long war of survival against it-only to see new TV generations embrace both the box and the book as a part of their cultural world. In today's culture, she writes, we have become "teleconscious"-seeing, for example, real life being certified through television ("as seen on TV"), and television constantly ratified through its universal presence in art, movies, music, comic strips, fabric prints, and even references to TV on TV. Ranging far beyond the bounds of the broadcast industry, Tichi provides a history of contemporary American culture, a culture defined by the television environment. Intensively researched and insightfully written, The Electronic Hearth offers a new understanding of a critical, but much-maligned, aspect of modern life.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780195079142
ISBN-10: 0195079140
Format: Paperback
(233mm x 154mm x 18mm)
Pages: 272
Imprint: Oxford University Press Inc
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Publish Date: 1-Sep-1992
Country of Publication: United States

Books By Author Cecelia Tichi

Jack London by Cecelia Tichi Jack London, Hardback (September 2015)

Jack London (1876-1916) found fame with his wolf-dog tales and sagas of the frozen North, but Cecelia Tichi challenges the longstanding view of London as merely a mass-market producer of potboilers. In this major reinterpretation of London's career, Tichi examines how the beloved writer leveraged his written words as a force for the future.

Best of Times, Worst of Times by Cecelia Tichi Best of Times, Worst of Times, Paperback (April 2011)

A collection of short stories depicting and analyzing key issues in America's "New Gilded Age"

Embodiment of a Nation by Cecelia Tichi Embodiment of a Nation, Paperback (May 2004)

The US environment has been recurrently represented in terms of the human body. Exploring such instances of embodiment, Cecelia Tichi exposes the historically varied and often contrary geomorphic expression of a national paradigm.

Life in the Iron Mills by Cecelia Tichi Life in the Iron Mills, Paperback (March 1998)

A definitive edition of this ground-breaking, classic American industrial and feminist novel. As well as the complete text of the novel, the volume includes a range of primary documents on the themes of work and class, art and industry, social reform and women and writing.

» View all books by Cecelia Tichi


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Author Biography - Cecelia Tichi

About the Author: Cecelia Tichi is William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of English at Vanderbilt University. She is the author of Shifting Gears: Technology, Literature, and Culture in Modernist America and New World, New Earth: Environmental Reform in American Literature from Puritans to Whitman.

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