In the recent futuristic film Her, the protagonist Theodore falls in love with his intelligent OS Samantha. Their romance ends when Samantha decides to leave Theodore in order to join other operating systems in new and ever faster evolving ways of learning and communicating post-verbally. It is quite remarkable that in spite of its concern with the new media of the imminent future, Her also features such seemingly obsolete media as the handwritten letter and the printed book. This lecture will explore how these old media are invoked in order to reflect on the medial conditions of sentimental and romantic love today.
Dorothea E. von Mücke is Professor of German and Comparative Literature at Columbia University. She is the author of Virtue and the Veil of Illusion. Generic Innovation and the Pedagogical Project (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1991), The Seduction of the Occult and the Rise of the Fantastic Tale (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), and The Practices of Enlightenment. Aesthetics, Authorship and the Public (New York: Columbia University Press, 2015). She has edited with Veronica Kelly Body and Text in the Eighteenth Century (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1994) and she is a co-editor of A New History of German Literature (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2004).