Wikis > Remediation

by Polina Vinogradova

Remediation is essentially defined as “the action of remedying or correcting something” (OED). In Remediation: Understanding New Media, David Bolter and Richard Grusin note that “What is new about new media comes from the particular ways in which they refashion [i.e. remediate] older media and the ways older media refashion themselves to answer the challenges of new media” (15).

Remediation is a central topic in Victorian periodical studies. In “The Politics of Ornament: Remediation and/in The Evergreen” Lorraine Janzen Kooistra highlights the prevalence of remediation in Patrick Geddes’ The Evergreen: A Northern Seasonal. She observes that even a single artwork can remediate multiple sources: a headpiece by John Duncan titled “The Norland Wind”, for instance, remediates “Oriental art forms and fin-de-siècle aestheticism as well as medieval scribal traditions” (Kooistra 115).

The Victorians were preoccupied with remediation, but the act of transforming one form of media to another can also be observed throughout the history of human expression. In the digital age we remediate the remediated: Victorian periodicals, like The Evergreen, are digitized and readily available online. However, the process of digital remediation itself can be quite challenging “Given human and technological limitations and the scale of online repositories, marking up the physical features and constituent parts of periodicals remains a crucial but daunting problem” (Kooistra 120).

James Mussell argues that digital literacy is necessary for understanding periodicals in their remediated form—and “if we do not cultivate these skills, whether as teachers or as students, then we lose the opportunity to understand this latest manifestation of the forms of nineteenth-century print” (Mussell 160).

Works Cited:

Bolter, Jay, and Richard Grusin. Remediation: Understanding New Media. Cambridge: MIT Press, 1992.

Kooistra, Lorraine Janzen. “The Politics of Ornament: Remediation And/in the Evergreen.” English Studies in Canada, vol. 41, number 1, March 2015, pp. 105-128. Project Muse,

Mussell, James. “Newspapers and Periodicals in Class.” The Nineteenth-Century Press in the Digital Age. Birmingham, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2012. 149-91. E-book on RULA.

“Remediation.” OED Online. Oxford University Press, December 2016. Web. 24 February 2017.