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Review of Viviane Serfaty's The Mirror and the Veil: An Overview of American Online Diaries and Blogs

Authors
Publisher
Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies (RCCS) Book Reviews
Publication Date
Disciplines
  • Literature
  • Psychology

Abstract

Microsoft Word - 200611ReviewofVivianeSerfaty.doc Review of Viviane Serfaty’s The Mirror and the Veil: An Overview of American Online Diaries and Blogs (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2004). Review by Laurie N. Taylor, published in RCCS (Resource Center for Cyberculture Studies), November 2006: <http://rccs.usfca.edu/bookinfo.asp?BookID=304&ReviewID=375>. Viviane Serfaty's The Mirror and the Veil: An Overview of American Online Diaries and Blogs proves a welcome and needed entry into studies of online writing, and particularly studies of online diaries and blogs. The Mirror and the Veil adds to existing research done on online identities, particularly Sherry Turkle's Life on the Screen: Identity in the Age of the Internet with its case studies of online identity and research on various types of blogs (as seen in the work of Graham Lampa and other contributors to Into the Blogosphere: Rhetoric, Community, and Culture of Weblogs). More importantly, however, Serfaty's book confronts issues of interdisciplinarity and online research and then meticulously documents those issues and methods for dealing with them. In doing so, The Mirror and the Veil serves as an essential reference for studies of online personal writings as well as an essential basis for further studies of online writings as they relate to various fields, including sociology, psychology, literary criticism, game studies, and children's literature studies among others. The Mirror and the Veil is also relevant because online diaries and blogs in themselves are almost a fullly new media form and, thus, they allow for various new forms of writing and serve as updates to older forms. Working in a comparative mode between print and online diary forms, Serfaty, associate professor of American Studies at Université de Marne la Vallée, proves acutely aware of the benefits of her interdisciplinary approach, as well as the potential complications. Serfaty narrows the possibility for complications by limiting the types of wo

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