A World of Fiction

Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History
Katherine Bode

Proposes a new basis for data-rich literary history


During the 19th century, throughout the Anglophone world, most fiction was first published in periodicals. In Australia, newspapers were not only the main source of periodical fiction, but the main source of fiction in general. Because of their importance as fiction publishers, and because they provided Australian readers with access to stories from around the world—from Britain, America and Australia, as well as Austria, Canada, France, Germany, New Zealand, Russia, South Africa, and beyond—Australian newspapers represent an important record of the transnational circulation and reception of fiction in this period.

Investigating almost 10,000 works of fiction in the world’s largest open-access collection of mass-digitized historical newspapers (the National Library of Australia’s Trove database), A World of Fiction reconceptualizes how fiction traveled globally, and was received and understood locally, in the 19th century. Katherine Bode’s innovative approach to the new digital collections that are transforming research in the humanities is a model of how digital tools can transform how we understand digital collections and interpret literatures in the past.

 “A major international intervention in the fields of book history and digital humanities research, and a major recalibration of the relationship between Australian literature and world literary studies. A World of Fiction will have a significant impact.”­
—Professor Robert Dixon, The University of Sydney

“A terrific intellectual force. Excellent and lucid. This is a first-rate contribution to digital humanities and literary textual scholarship.”
—Johanna Drucker, UCLA

“Bode has been influential in Australian literary studies since she began publishing about a decade ago, and there is no doubt this book will be a field-defining intervention. It is a model of scholarly work, especially in its redefining of the literary system. Literary history and digital literary humanities are lucky to have such an intellectually accomplished and confident worker in the field.”
—Philip Mead, University of Western Australia

Katherine Bode is Associate Professor of Literary and Textual Studies at the Australian National University.

Praise / Awards

  • "The book's subtitle may sound far-reaching, but the book delivers. It is both timely and exciting...Bode’s fine scholarship will leave academic readers anxious to see how she next breaks ground...Highly recommended."
  • "Her knowledge of the historical era she explores is rich and deep, and the idea of a digital
    humanities praxis grown from literary-theoretical methods is genuinely interesting."
    --Victorian Periodicals Review
  • "A World of Fiction is a major achievement. I hope more scholars follow Bode's model."
  • "Katherine Bode has written a bold and illuminating book. A World of Fiction: Digital Collections and the Future of Literary History asks difficult questions and is groundbreaking in its interpretations."
    --Australian Literary Studies

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 260pp.
  • 24 Illustrations, 5 Tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2018
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-13085-6

Add to Cart
  • $59.95 U.S.

  • Open Access
  • 2018
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-90083-1

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