University of Oulu

Toikkanen, J. (2023). Intermediality and Medium Specificity. In: Bruhn, J., López-Varela, A., de Paiva Vieira, M. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Intermediality. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

Intermediality and medium specificity

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Author: Toikkanen, Jarkko1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: embargoed
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Palgrave Macmillan, 2023
Publish Date: 2025-04-09


This chapter surveys the historical development of a key concept in intermediality research in the West: medium specificity. From its classical origins, the discussion progresses through the early modern period to the modern period and the present day. The timeline is divided into sections that focus on the key ideas concerning medium specificity, either directly or with crucial relevance, both in the historical period in question and the influence of the ideas on later periods. The sections are constructed around quotations from original and secondary sources interpreted and explained to forge a somewhat logical narrative on the tale of medium specificity through time. In a fundamental fashion, the historical journey has to do with this question: Is “medium” a physical thing fixed with essential qualities that set it apart from all other media and so make it “specific,” or is it a concept to be understood in a more active sense, not as a fixed thing but as a changing set of practices by which we interact with the physical world in specific ways?

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ISBN: 978-3-030-91263-5
ISBN Print: 978-3-030-91263-5
DOI: 10.1007/978-3-030-91263-5_13-1
Host publication: The Palgrave Handbook of Intermediality
Host publication editor: Bruhn, Jørgen
López-Varela, Asunción
de Paiva Vieira, Miriam
Type of Publication: A3 Book chapter
Field of Science: 518 Media and communications
6122 Literature studies
Copyright information: © 2023 The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer Nature Switzerland AG.