This article argues that David Mitchell’s early novels, particularly Cloud Atlas (2004), express a notable brand of contemporary transcendentalism linked to new media forms that I will call digital transcendentalism. My first major claim is that Mitchell should be considered a postsecular author focused on representations of transcendence and spirituality beyond seemingly mutually exclusive choices of conventional religiosity or its wholesale rejection. I show that Mitchell’s variety of postsecular thought is modeled on nineteenth-century American transcendentalism. Secondly, I argue that Mitchell’s novels are interrogations of, and in part formal imitations of, contemporary forms of new media. Mitchell’s importance as a novelist lies in the significant way he has overlaid these major socio-political and formal problems as expressions of one another.
"Digital Transcendentalism in David Mitchell's Cloud Atlas,"
Criticism: Vol. 58
, Article 6.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.wayne.edu/criticism/vol58/iss1/6