New Media Studies
Part 1: Historical Digital Fandom
part i historical digital fandom · 1 · fandom in the digital environment [Texts] are mirrors in the image of those who wrote them. They reflect their concerns, questions, desires, life, death. … They’re living beings: you have to know how to feed them, protect them … —Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas (p. 60) [I]n literature there are never any clear boundaries. Everything is dependent on every- thing else, and one thing is superimposed on top of another. It all ends up as a complicated intertextual game … —Pérez-Reverte, The Club Dumas (p. 95) In traditional parlance, a fan is a person who invests time and energy into thinking about, or interacting with, a media text: in other words, one who is enraptured by a particular media object. As the quotations from Arturo Pérez-Reverte’s novel The Club Dumas indicate, fandom can even extend towards antiquarian books. Corso, the hero of Pérez-Reverte’s novel, deals in centuries-old occult manuscripts that their collectors religiously revere and for whom these texts lead to new worlds: worlds inhabited by demons and devils, angels and authors. Indeed, in their quasi-religious devotion to these ancient texts, the book collectors are also, in a sense, fans, although perhaps of a more negative tenor. The Club Dumas, while ostensibly a novel about book collecting and the occult, also provides us with a traditional popular cultural 20 digital fandom 2.0 reading of fandom, and through it we can glean a number of salient details about popular conceptions of the fan. As...
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