Looking forward to: The Textual Life of Airports

As someone intrigued by all things airport, I’m always delighted to find kindred souls. Today I came across one of them – via his blog.

Christopher Schaberg, an assistant professor of English at Loyola University in New Orleans, has been sharing his thoughts about airports and flight at What is Literature .

That’s where he posted the artwork for the cover of his first book: The Textual Life of Airports, which will be published in November, 2011 by Continuum.

Textual Life of Airports

According to Schaberg, the book “explores how airports appear in literature and culture, with an eye toward the interpretive demands made on passengers, laborers, and other subjects.”

Here and there in his blog postings, Schaberg gives us a sneak preview of the topics and chapters in his book and in March included a link to The Airport Screening Complex, a section of the book that was published in Media Fields Journal.

Back in July, he shared news about the chapter he wrote for Boy Detectives: Essays on the Hardy Boys and Others. , edited by Michael Cornelius.

Schaberg’s chapter is titled “Terminal Immaterial: The Uncertain Subject of the Hardy Boys Airport Mysteries.”

Hardy Boys Airport Mystery

He writes:

In this essay I consider the roles of airports in three Hardy Boys detective stories, one from 1930s and two from the late 1980s and early 1990s. I find that these three garishly boyish representations of airports are in fact entirely consistent with (and no less philosophically complex than) the broader trends that I locate throughout my larger book project, tentatively called The Textual Life of Airports. In one chapter of my book project, I discuss the idea of “airport reading” as light, undemanding entertainment. In this sense, the Hardy Boys stories serve as excellent case studies for how the heaviness of airports infiltrates the lightness of everyday life in 20th-century U.S. culture.

I can’t tell if this Hardy Boys chapter will also part of The Textual Life of Airports,, but I’m looking forward to reading the entire book next time I’m flying somewhere or am lucky enough to be stuck at the airport.