Even though I’m reading The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock in print, I think this poem can be constructed as digital. In Peters’ work, “Digital,” he breaks down digital media into three parts: digits that count the symbolic, digits that index the real, and (combined and coordinated) digits that manipulate the social. Peters goes on to say “But digits do much else too: they also point, index, and reference objects at a distance.” Because of this definition, I think T.S. Eliot’s poem is digital.
The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock points, indexes, and references objects at a distance, which is why I think it is digital. The first thing Eliot points, indexes, and references to is the epigraph from Dante’s Inferno. Eliot points to this in Italian so that the people that don’t understand it see that this type of poem isn’t for them. Eliot wants his poem to be elite, and he doesn’t want anything to get lost in translation. Throughout the poem Eliot points, indexes, and references to other places (a city, inside a women’s home, etc) and to other famous poets’ works (Shakespeare, Chaucer, etc). Since Eliot’s work is within Peters’ definition of “digital” from pointing, indexing, and referencing objects at a distance, I believe that the printed form of The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock can be considered digital.