The Server : A Media History From the Present to the Baroque

The Server : A Media History From the Present to the Baroque

by Markus Krajewski and Ilinca Iurascu
English | 2018 | ISBN: 0300180810 | 454 Pages | PDF | 4.5 MB

A cutting-edge media history on a perennially fascinating topic, which attempts to answer the crucial question: Who is in charge, the servant or the master?

Though classic servants like the butler or the governess have largely vanished, the Internet is filled with servers: web, ftp, mail, and others perform their daily drudgery, going about their business noiselessly and unnoticed. Why then are current-day digital drudges called servers? Markus Krajewski explores this question by going from the present back to the Baroque to study historical aspects of service through various perspectives, be it the servants' relationship to architecture or their function in literary or scientific contexts. At the intersection of media studies, cultural history, and literature, this work recounts the gradual transition of agency from human to nonhuman actors to show how the concept of the digital server stems from the classic role of the servant.

"The Server is an intellectual romp, a learned and literate account of proxy servers, mailer daemons, and an astonishing parade of historical factotums and underlings that presaged today's client-server logic. This is the history of agential knowing-in short, of media-dressed in livery, waiting on call, at your service."- Lisa Gitelman, New York University

"Markus Krajewski has rescued from neglect a whole cast of characters-such go-betweens as demons, angels, bookkeepers, and doorkeepers-to show them in all their rollicking mischievousness. This book is at once a literary, social, semantic, and technical history-that is, a media history, and it casts a fresh and strange light on our moment."-John Durham Peters, Yale University

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