U2 Studies Alert | Research Query: Reading U2 Diffractively.

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Nathan Frank, doctoral student in English at the University of Virginia, is researching for his forthcoming chapter “Ontoflecting through U2,” contributed to Diffractive Reading, Ed. Kai Merten, Rowman & Littlefield (expected 2020).

He’s asking the U2 Studies community if you’ve ever read a study of U2 that employs “diffraction.” Contact Nathan directly through the link above to his UVA page if you have some information to share with him.

His proposed chapter was accepted in response to this CFP and he shares his proposal abstract here:

A B S T R A C T : “Ontoflecting through U2”
Nathan Frank

Innocence and experience: just as William Blake saw to it that his “songs” about each would have to be read through the other, so U2 rolls out a double album in which each installment converses with its other half; that is, it speaks to itself, and by doing so, it sets itself up such that its grounds and its figures are both coequal and reversible. Moreover, such textual democracy pulls listeners into the interpretive process: if innocence makes sense of experience, and vice versa, then together they also supply meaning for the listener who, from within the soundscape, hears herself, just as U2 hear themselves from within their own sonic creations, and just as I (in turn) read my own material situation from this theory that Songs of Innocence (2014) and Songs of Experience (2017) occasion. I propose to describe the dynamic at work here as one of “ontoflection,” a new sort of diffractive-flecting that is less re- or in-, and more directly experiential for all involved; less meta- and more -physical; in a word, more innocent precisely by dint of an experience that spans the rhetorical spectrum and which, therefore, has everything to do with the interactivity that subtends this spectrum.

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