751 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2016
    1. “SAN DOMINICK,”

      Why this name and not the actual name of the ship that he was referring to in reference to Delano? Tryal was the actual name of the ship. Although, this might be Melville's way of putting his own perspective and some sort of fiction to the story; not to make it totally about Captain Delano's experience on the ship. [(https://melvillemichellefi.wordpress.com/2013/04/23/the-reality-of-amasa-delano/)

    2. While reading the novel we encounter cruel treatment with the slaves and have Captain Delano boarding the ship and not using all his power to command safely the slaves. Although this picture here mentions Captain Delano's recognition with the medal they kind of mock this recognition. On the other hand, I believe Melville encounters a balance of the information he provides about the captain and what goes on in the ship.<br> The image starts off with the recognition and it continues talking about things that the Captain could have done for the slaves but did not do.<br>

    3. Still, Captain Delano was not without the idea, that had Benito Cereno been a man of greater energy, misrule would hardly have come to the present pass.

      Melville scholar Allan Emery posits that the nineteenth-century American doctrine of Manifest Destiny, in conjunction with popularized ideas about non-Anglo nations in the aftermath of the Mexican-American War (1846-1848), informed the fictionalized Delano’s characterization of Benito.

      “Benito Cereno” was serialized over the last three 1855 issues of Putnam’s Monthly Magazine of American Literature, which published installments of Melville’s “Israel Potter” in between July 1854 and March 1855. In February 1854, Putnam’s Monthly published an anonymous article titled “Annexation” (pp. 183-194) that explicitly defends America’s right to the titular act.

      You can find the entire article here, but I've included what I thought to be one of the most relevant excerpts, as it demonstrates the common self-characterization of America as superior to other nations. Based on these ideas, which Melville would have been privy to (he likely read this very article), one could argue that Delano and Benito are a metonymic representation of the United States and the "others" it wished to annex.

      …we own no subject nations, no colonial victims, no trembling provinces—and we never desire to own them;—we waste no fields, we ruin no cities, we exhaust no distant settlements;—the weak Indian tribes among us we have striven to redeem and civilize; the weak Mexican and Spanish races among us, a prey to anarchy and misrule, we offer the advantages of stable government, of equal laws, of a flourishing and refined social life; and we aim at no alliances which are not founded on the broadest principles of reciprocal justice and goodwill (p. 191)

      Note that the author describes the “Mexican and Spanish races” as “prey to anarchy and misrule,” and that Melville uses “misrule” (for the second time) to describe the result of Benito’s shortcomings.

      On a linguistic note, the etymology of “annexation” (the noun form of the verb “annex”) outlined on OED Online reveals a few different but related Latin roots; chiefly, annect-ĕre, which means “to tie to,” but also nect-ĕre, which has a slightly different meaning of “to tie, to bind.” The second word much more explicitly connotes the act of violent enslavement. Given the political climate at the time, the use of “annexation” in describing American expansionism seems like a code to shroud the scant differences between westward expansion and the practice of slavery.


      It's interesting how Melville uses Captain Delano in his novel. Amasa Delano was a real American sea captain and this story includes one of the voyages he was in during his time. I can see how Melville uses Amasa's information and actual facts from newspapers to incorporate it in his novel. Even though they are very similar Melville uses his own knowledge to continue the story.

    5. For a time, the attack wavered; the negroes wedging themselves to beat it back; the half-repelled sailors, as yet unable to gain a footing, fighting as troopers in the saddle, one leg sideways flung over the bulwarks, and one without, plying their cutlasses like carters’ whips. But in vain. They were almost overborne, when, rallying themselves into a squad as one man, with a huzza, they sprang inboard, where, entangled, they involuntarily separated again.

      Close-readers commonly perceive it to be a contradiction for the slaves to have been acknowledged as possessing agency of their own (or any humanistic attributes), since, at the time, they would have been considered property and not human. Here, they are shown fighting as a unit; and this is only one of more than a few instances in the text where the blacks have agency of their own--especially Babo, who by now it has been revealed has been the secret commander since the slaves' revolt.

      Interestingly enough, this tribute to the real Captain Delano from the United States Gazette in 1806 mirrors that contradiction. “…a Spanish merchant ship called the Trial [which] a cargo of slaves had mutinied and in a most cruel manner, butchered the greater part of the Spanish crew.” The slaves are “cargo,” but they also “mutinied”; can cargo mutiny? Is cargo capable of cruelty? So, rather than the perceived contradiction in Melville’s story being a discrepancy in narrative stance or mood, it may actually have been a clever choice on his part to convey a contradiction that existed in the minds of people of both, Delano’s and his own, time periods. The slaves were either cargo or butchers, but nothing in between. But to admit that a slave has the agency to butcher cruelly or to mutiny would have (should have) dissolved the notion that they were beings of servitude—property.

      The Real Amasa Delano

    6. Captain Amasa Delano, of Duxbury, in Massachusetts

      Amasa Delano was a real sea captain who lived from 1763 to 1823. This story is based on an account of an actual voyage of his in 1806. He was indeed from Duxbury, Massachusetts and is known to have fought in the American Revolution in his youth.

      The name of the ship that Captain Delano commanded on this particular voyage was "Perseverance." He authored a book which is where Herman Melville found his inspiration; it was called, Narrative Voyages and Travels in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, Comprising Three Voyages Around the World, published in 1817.

      Amasa Delano would have been roughly 43 years old during the voyage that this story is based on. Furthermore, the details to come about the dense fogginess in the air over the sea is taken directly from Captain Delano's actual record--Melville's story begins very similarly to the original captain's-log.

      The Real Amasa Delano

      Five Sea Captains

    7. Sometimes the negro gave his master his arm, or took his handkerchief out of his pocket for him; performing these and similar offices with that affectionate zeal which transmutes into something filial or fraternal acts in themselves but menial; and which has gained for the negro the repute of making the most pleasing body-servant in the world; one, too, whom a master need be on no stiffly superior terms with, but may treat with familiar trust; less a servant than a devoted companion.

      This is one of a few instances in the text where the narrative and the actual Amasa Delano's perceptions were nearly opposite. Interestingly, this sentence very closely parallels a passage in the actual captain's sea-log; though, the mood towards the subject (Babo) is very different.

      Delano wrote, "...the negro, who kept constantly at the elbows of Don Benito and myself, I should, at any other time, have immediately resented; and although it excited my wonder, that his commander should allow this extraordinary liberty, I did not remonstrate against it, until it became troublesome to myself."

      From Delano's language, it is clear that he was less accepting of the behavior of the real Babo; he probably would have disagreed with the notion of him being, "less a servant than a devoted companion." And while Melville's text is not written with a first-person narrative--the narration being of a 3rd-person--it is not an omniscient narrator either, but a close-3rd perspective. Since Delano is the protagonist, the ideas, opinions, and observations provided by the narrator can be assumed to be akin to those of the character.

      Five Sea Captains


      Why did Melville change the name of the slave ship from Tryal to San Dominick? A few separate searches for “San Dominick” resulted in “Benito Cereno” excerpts only. But then I remembered some excerpts from Toussaint L’Ouverture I read last semester in English 395…

      L’Ouverture was one of the leaders the Haitian Revolution that took place in the then-French colony of Saint Domingue from 1791 to 1804. While this rebellion, which can be reductively classified as a nation-wide slave-revolt against imperialist forces, ended fifteen years before Melville was born, it received renewed attention under the name “Santo Domingo” or “St. Domingo” starting in the 1830s and continuing through the Civil War, as issues regarding slavery came to the forefront of the collective American conscious. In addition to being alluded to in myriad newspaper articles, St. Domingo featured in academic circles. Here are some sources:

      The History and Present Condition of St. Domingo by J. Brown, M.D. (1837)

      St. Domingo, its revolution and its hero, Toussaint Louverture by Charles Wyllys Elliott (1855)

      Historical sketches of the revolutions, and the foreign and civil wars in the Island of St. Domingo, with a narrative, of the entire massacre of the white population of the island by Peter Stephen Chazotte (1840)

      The Life of Toussaint L'Ouverture: the negro patriot of Hayti; comprising an account of the struggle for liberty in the island, and a sketch of its history to the present period by Rev. John R. Beard (1853)

      Here's an image from the last title that seems particularly applicable to "Benito Cereno."

    9. He said that he is twenty-nine years of age, and broken in body and mind; that when finally dismissed by the court, he shall not return home to Chili, but betake himself to the monastery on Mount Agonia without; and signed with his honor, and crossed himself, and, for the time, departed as he came, in his litter, with the monk Infelez, to the Hospital de Sacerdotes.

      It is no coincidence that Benito is 29 years old. This could easily be a reference to the 29 hanged mutineer leaders during the Nore mutiny, which is explained in detail in History of the Mutiny at Spithead and the Nore by Neale Johnson which was a part of Melville's annotated collection (and most likely a large part of the writing process). The 29 years could be representative of the blood that's technically on Benito's hands for revealing the true nature of the farce so the slave's couldn't escape in the end. Unfortunately, Melville's notes were erased by himself and he made quite a bit of them.

      The page I've included was one which Melville included a small note. It's in regards to the fact that Richard Parker, leader of the Nore mutiny, most likely didn't receive a fair trail and that the people were excited for his hanging.

    10. he fugitives had now almost gained an offing. It was nearly night; but the moon was rising. After hard, prolonged pulling, the boats came up on the ship’s quarters, at a suitable distance laying upon their oars to discharge their muskets. Having no bullets to return, the negroes sent their yells

      "Captain Amasa Delano of the ship Perseverance of Boston, has received from the King of Spain a Gold Medal, with his Majesty's likeness, as an acknowledgement to Capt. D. for the humane and spirited exertions of himself and his brave crew..."

      From: Salem Gazette 08-21-1807

      I think that this is definitely an instance in which Melville pokes fun at the "bravery" of the crew. In this scene, the sailors aboard Delano's ship are seen to shoot at the ship harboring the slaves but in return, the slaves are unable to do anything due to their ineffective weaponry. They are only able to return their yells while they are slaughtered from a distance.


    11. because the negro Babo, performing the office of an officious servant with all the appearance of submission of the humble slave, did not leave the deponent one moment; that this was in order to observe the deponent’s actions and words, for the negro Babo understands well the Spanish; and besides, there were thereabout some others who were constantly on the watch, and likewise understood the Spanish;

      "The man of true humility, on the contrary, will not spare the vices and errors of his fellow-creatures, any more than he would his own; he will exercise manfully, and without fear or favor, those judicial functions which God has committed, in some greater or less degree, to every member of the human community" (Taylor, 37) From Sir. Henry Taylor's Notes From Life

      We shouldn't see the actions of Babo as anything but humility as defined by Taylor. Taylor believes that Babo won't spare the actions of Benito Cereno, the slaver but instead show him the same humility that he is deserving of. The same for Delano: any kind of courtesy he paid Delano was to advance the farce enough to deliver justice, not sparing their actions.

    12. Some months after, dragged to the gibbet at the tail of a mule, the black met his voiceless end. The body was burned to ashes; but for many days, the head, that hive of subtlety, fixed on a pole in the Plaza, met, unabashed, the gaze of the whites;

      "For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?" (Psalms 6:5)

      Melville took away one of the Psalms in constructing the aftermath of Babo. Babo was not buried, but his head was placed upon a pole, seeing everyone and still extracting power even in death. People will remember Babo but in a twisted way: people give thanks that he's dead, but at the same time, he still exerts a form of power.

    13. “You generalize, Don Benito; and mournfully enough. But the past is passed; why moralize upon it? Forget it. See, yon bright sun has forgotten it all, and the blue sea, and the blue sky; these have turned over new leaves.”

      The world is as large as Delano believes it to be. Delano becomes Emerson's ultimate vision of the self where the subject imprints himself on anything out of his own will.

      "He cleaves to one person, and avoids another, according to their likeness or unlikeness to himself, truly seeking himself in his associates, and more over in his trade..."

      (Emerson, 133) from Ralph Waldo Emerson's essay: "Spiritual Laws"

      As seen in Melville's Marginalia.

    14. Considering the lawlessness and loneliness of the spot, and the sort of stories, at that day, associated with those seas, Captain Delano’s surprise might have deepened into some uneasiness had he not been a person of a singularly undistrustful good-nature, not liable, except on extraordinary and repeated incentives, and hardly then, to indulge in personal alarms, any way involving the imputation of malign evil in man. Whether, in view of what humanity is capable, such a trait implies, along with a benevolent heart, more than ordinary quickness and accuracy of intellectual perception, may be left to the wise to determine.

      It is interesting to note that Melville omits from the text details about prior deception inflicted upon Delano prior to his encounter with Cereno -- which has, by contrast to how Melville's narrator depicts Delano's demeanor, caused him to be skeptical and guarded.

      Case in point is Delano's relationship to several of his crew members. As written in A Narrative of Voyages and Travels, he admits to discovering that many of his crew members were in fact criminals, and snuck onto his ship without his knowledge. In order to ensure his crew would not commit mutiny, Delano would exercise, "very strict discipline, and giving them good wholesome floggings," (Norton Critical Edition, 201). This is with Delano having knowledge of some of his crew planning to desert him with his boats, explaining why he wouldn't leave the presence of his ship, for fear of it being hijacked (202).

      Ultimately, this is where the difference between the POVs of Delano and the narrator in Melville's text differ -- the narrator sees Delano as a naive and too-trusting individual, while in actual history, Delano was not so trusting. Leaving such history out of Melville's text renders Delano's naivete as more believable in the story. Otherwise, Delano should have deduced the San Dominick's slave mutiny very early on.


      Amasa Delano reveals in A Narrative in Voyages and Travels that the actual name of the Spanish ship is Tryal (Norton Critical Edition, 199).

    16. some things which could never have happened

      In 2006, Catherine Toal published an essay in Nineteenth-Century Literature titled "Some Things Which Could Never Have Happened: Fiction, Identification, and 'Benito Cereno'." Toal argues that the form Melville uses in "Benito Cereno" (i.e., the fictionalization of real events) can be traced to a letter he wrote to Nathaniel Hawthorne three years before "Benito Cereno" was published.

      In the letter, which scholars have labeled "The Agatha Story," Melville writes, "...you can construct a story of remarkable interest out of this material...You have a skeleton of actual reality to build about with fulness & veins & beauty." Toal contends that this metaphor is reversed in "Benito Cereno" vis-à-vis Melville’s attempts to construct a skeleton around the source material.

      While this connection is not wholly intertextual, it does demonstrate that the trope of using “actual reality” as fictional fodder is something Melville thought about quite a bit.

    17. He smote Babo’s hand down, but his own heart smote him harder. With infinite pity he withdrew his hold from Don Benito. Not Captain Delano, but Don Benito, the black, in leaping into the boat, had intended to stab.

      This seemingly hyperbolic, almost religiously empowered depiction of Delano's bravery is not an entirely obtuse one, seemingly. Papers of the time cite Delano as an hero of the utmost honour, receiving awards and commendation from both the King of Spain and the Chilean government. (Article from the Pensylvania United States’ Gazette (April 21, 1806)

    18. Some disclosures therein were, at the time, held dubious for both learned and natural reasons.

      Whilst the events of Benito Cereno take place in 1805 (despite Melville's assertion that it begins in 1799), Melville publishes his consideration of them in 1855. Although 50 years may seem minimal in history, these years were highly formative in the worlds view of slavery and civil rights. Only 5 years before, the Christiana massacre occurred, a case which largely divided and challenged contemporary Americans and their legal system. David R. Forbes considers this in his account of the trial, noting the newspapers emotive, impassioned presentation of the African-Americans engaged in the fray. I can't attach the snippet to support this directly, but it can be found here. Such social shifts undoubtedly effect and morph Melville's narrative and presentation of the legal proceedings in Benito Cereno. (taken from A True Story of the Christiana Riot, http://hl.handle.net/2027/hvd.32044018986661)

    19. “A prudent idea, Don Benito. You are part owner of ship and cargo, I presume; but none of the slaves, perhaps?” “I am owner of all you see,” impatiently returned Don Benito, “except the main company of blacks, who belonged to my late friend, Alexandro Aranda.”

      It is, with an air of frustration and distress, that Benito considers his lack of possession over the slaves upon the ship. Once more, contemporary references tell us the disdain with which many of Melville's readers would have read this concept of ownership and non-sentience in slaves. William Goodell writes in 1853 a critical pamphlet outlining the history of slave culture, law and treatment, ridiculing this notion (shown here and found here

    1. Mr. Bryant sets aside the idea of final intention and focuses instead on the stages of a text's evolution. As he defines it, a fluid text is "any literary work that exists in more than one version." He goes on to argue that "all works — because of the nature of texts and creativity — are fluid texts." Building off the work of scholars like Jerome McGann, who have put the emphasis on writing as "social text" rather than the individual product of genius, Mr. Bryant shifts the editorial emphasis away from one "definitive" version and onto "the multiplicity of versions" that come about as an author revises and as editors, printers, and other "collaborators" make their own changes to a manuscript.

      Sound familiar?! Interesting to see this emphasis on the "social text" projected backwards, so that the most "classic" and canonized of American books appears as unending process.

    2. Melville a plagiarist? Say it ain't so!

    3. Scholars estimate that the writer owned about 1,000 books at the time of his death. Some went to friends and family; the rest were dispersed to secondhand booksellers in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and from there made their way into public library collections and the hands of private collectors. The whereabouts of 285 titles have been tracked, which means that more than 700 could still be extant somewhere, waiting for scholars to find them.

      Fascinating link with Blair's anecdote of early modern humanists' notes being fought over by heirs. Here the "failed" (not-yet-recovered) writer's papers have no value.

    4. "The name died before the man,"

      Wow: we should keep this in mind when we do a data visualization project on Melville's rediscovery in the 1920s!

    1. The book has pages that are wonderfully, even improbably, varied.

      Which in a way could give the book its uniqueness that is lacked within the digital space.

    1. The point about the immediacy with which a surrogate can be called (references) is definitely true when it comes to e-books. It has even developed to a point where a dictionary can be used to define words almost immediately from the text as well.

    2. "we might consider extending the ways a book works as we shift into digital instruments"

      This is excellent because it harks back to the idea of taking what you already have and expanding on it rather than reaching for the next thing which might not be as useful.

    3. I'm very interested in the Sophie project but unfortunately it's a bit tough to see any use-cases from their website. You can actually download Sophie server and host it yourself

    4. "This idea comports well with the critical legacy of post-structuralism's emphasis on performativity..."

      I am intrigued by the way that Drucker bridges the reader-response theory of criticism it seems she is proceeding from into the post-structural realm, where the reader enacts the process that the book undergoes (what she pegs as “performativity”: the shared reading and interpretation of text). However, it seems that reader-response thought still is willing to lend to the literary work some kinds of fixed boundaries, within which the collective process of interpretation in a reading community sculpts out what the final iteration will look like, while poststructuralist’s notions of Textiness seem to imply a fluid and transitory thing. Invoking the Text in e-space conceptualizes within a matrix that feels linked moreso to an abstract location in consciousness than around an item that floats through collective consciousness. While the idea of Text pushes questions about materiality to the side, Text in e-space both makes peace with its immateriality but still has the capacity for presenting blank “space” on which topographical metaphors (like the illusion of fixed "boundaries") can be rendered.

    5. The literal space of the book thus serves as a field of possibilities, waiting to be "intervened" by a reader.

      Communal reading! The relationship between storyteller and listener! Rubery! Benjamin! The interaction between the reader and text that we have been seeing over and over in different readings for Digital Humanities is reinvented here with the term "intervened." The use of this term is interesting, and implies more of an active role on the part of the reader that physically changes the outcome of the text.

    6. As an interesting point of reference, we have several examples of older book forms at Hunter's Library - @jallred if you haven't checked them out already, there's manuscripts from up to 600 years ago, as far as I know!

    7. This would be an understanding based less on a formal grasp of layout, graphic, and physical features and more of an analysis of how those format features effect the functional operation and actual work done by a traditional book.

      Fascinating. The evolution from one form to another allows an observer to pick out the function of the original. E-readers with backlights and commenting functions for example, speak to people's desire to increase the time spent reading, and also the time at which they read. Further, the commenting function speaks to the way people tend to like marking up their books and thereby make them their own.

    8. I totally agree with Drucker, where he says that with e-books we will be more focus on the ways a book actually works rather than the way the book looks. We often tend to pick up a book because of how the book looks and if the outside grabs our attention and not the inside.

    9. Can't highlight for some reason, but I like the idea of the desperate need to connect the e-book to previous modes instead of understanding it as independent - bearing in mind that bound novels as we know them are still relatively knew. I'm sure at one stage the 'smell/sound' of scrolls seemed irreplaceable to scholars and scroll-worms alike.

    1. Mr. Bryant shifts the editorial emphasis away from one "definitive" version and onto "the multiplicity of versions" that come about as an author revises and as editors, printers, and other "collaborators" make their own changes to a manuscript.

      My only fear from this is that it might break the convention of singularity from certain works. Works that were studied for years might now have to have their singular interpretation shelved for a multiplicity of possible interpretations - all which didn't make it into the original version.

    2. When he died in New York City in 1891

      Fun little NYC hidden gem.

    3. These projects continue a decades-old tradition of Melville scholarship that dates back to 1919, the centennial of the writer's birth, when, after years of neglect, Melville and his literary remains began to attract the close attention of scholars. But Mr. Olsen-Smith's and Mr. Bryant's projects also mark a departure from traditional ways of handling and editing manuscript material, one that takes advantage of new technology and recent turns in scholarly editing.

      This is quite the incredible project because it can allow us to see alternative scenarios that the author's have created for their books. It's almost as if anything can have a multitude of endings exist because of the research we can potentially find.

    4. Mr. Olsen-Smith is part of a new wave of Melville scholars who are combining old-fashioned textual scholarship with new digital technology

      Along the lines of what we're doing now with Melville's Marginalia. That site is excellent for checking out his notes and everything in an easy to use format

    1. Not just the book, but the marginal recipes and spells remain his property.

      This is getting way too meta

    2. it was recognized that it could foster for the child a means of self-expression

      Foster expression by a form of implicit control?

    3. from infantile unlettered marks; to care-fully scripted signatures; to lists of things, words, dates, and times.

      Maybe an argument here that longer works, or works that take a while to go through can indicate growth in an individual outside of the work?

    4. It becomes part of the child’s body, sharing pen or pencil trials or colors that bear the pres-sure of the hand.

      The book then becomes an extension of the child. I feel as if this could also be interesting for À la recherche du temps perdu so to speak.

    5. For the historian of childhood, the margin has long stood as the place of personal imagination.

      Harks back to the argument of marginalia annotations equaling ownership. Leaving our own mark on something signifies a sort of ownership over something.

    6. The physical appearance of a volume—paper quality, ink color, layout, binding, and annotations—has come to be seen as bearing as much meaningful information as the printed text itself.

      Influence also comes from the aesthetics of the work. Are we less inclined to annotate now that we've moved beyond physical print? Or does its own aesthetic manifest where we still feel compelled to "scribble"

    7. A millennium and a half later, Frederick Douglass recalled in his autobiography how he learned to write by copying the letters between the lines of his young master’s copybook.1

      Marginalia eventually leads to text, one way or another.

    8. The margin can become the site of contested liter-ary authority, a place for scholarly, archival, and critical interpretation.

      A literary battle zone between the text and its reader perhaps.

    9. he annotations I explore, by contrast, are sometimes barely legible, tan-talizingly irrelevant to the texts before them, evasive, duplicitous, or just plain weird.

      Reminds me of stream of consciousness writing, a genre in and on itself, that is sprinkled with equal parts ridiculousness and genius. See: Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, "my mother is a fish."

    10. In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the young student gets, by chance, a battered textbook and finds in its handwritten additions and corrections a new magic for the classroom.5

      Yet again I'm ahead of the game by commenting upon this last week haha, it's certainly an interesting inclusion in the series to talk about marginalia. One must wonder if JK studied it in her Exeter years.

    11. works on objects the way jokes work on language, bring-ing out their inherent magic, nowhere more so than when those objects have become routinized and social, like money or the nation’s flag.”2

      I love this idea. Having the pleasure of living near some of Banksy's original graffiti works has sculpted how I view commentary and annotation is as much as it turns what is so often considered a brutal act of defacement into a beautiful, delicate and subtle social commentary

    12. The margin can become the site of contested liter-ary authority, a place for scholarly, archival, and critical interpretation. It can become, as well, the source of novelistic narrative, especially (as I suggest here) in the nineteenth century, when an archival sensibility informs the fic-tional encounter with the past

      And yet in the education system (at least, to my experience) we are encouraged to refrain from book annotation until we are in our early teens, lest the novel be corrupted by our vicious imaginations. Adults spend so much time envying and punishing childlike imagination and then question why the younger generations turn to phones, start acting like adults and become increasingly disenfranchised from their natural ability to create.

    13. Is the book in a child’s hand to be likened to a volume in a dog’s mouth? An exhibition such as this one tells us little about what children actually do to books, but it says a great deal about what adults think those children do

      I once lovingly drew the queen of hearts in my mum's copy of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in lipstick. She didn't appreciate the gesture...

    14. As Hermann Melville (himself an inveterate annotator) recognized in his novel Redburn, the best reading is invariably on flyleaves. The marks of an “incorrigible pupil,” the crayon sketches “of wild animals and falling-air cas-tles” are “all part and parcel of the precious book, which go to make up the sum of its treasure.”

      I've always loved the idea of books published or released in their original form - not as '1st editions' but as true original copies, typos and all. I've always wanted to look at Tolkein's notes and see his little Icelandic scribbles and the designs of the intricate settings and trinkets that fill his world.

    15. , relevance to the text, and honesty are qualities that make for, as she puts it, the “many features to admire in even very ordinary marginalia.” These are marginalia, as Jackson puts it, “I enjoy.”

      This classification of quality in marginalia is what i've been desperately seeking in the critical texts we've studied - it seems obvious but for the purposes of explaining to those who are unfamiliar with marginalia and the act of annotation (poor, unfortunate souls) it's much easier to be taken seriously when you provide strict boundaries and qualifications for what makes an annotation 'good' and what makes it an irrelevant scribble of a monkey using chopsticks.

    1. Now, when the Coleridge of 21st-century marginalia emerges, he should be able to mark up the books of a million friends at once.

      The sharing aspect is definitely a step in the right direction. If you know your friend to be a genius on a certain topic, take his notes. If your friend is reading the story for the first time, stay away. The choice is important. Hell, if I could have a copy of Kafka's works marked by Adorno and Benjamin, I would be ecstatic.

    2. the ability to import not just your friends’ notes but notes from all of history’s most interesting book markers.

      Im wondering if this is Google Book's next venture.

    3. st month, Amazon announced what could be a landmark in electronic marginalia: public note sharing for the Kindle — Coleridgean fantasy software that will make your friends’ notes appear (if you want them to) directly on your own books. This is exciting but still a few leaps away from my ultimate fantasy of e-marginalia: the ability to import not just your friends’ notes but notes from all of history’s most interesting book markers. Imagine reading, say, “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” and touching a virtual button so that — ping! — Ernest Hemingway’s marginalia instantly appears, or Ralph Ellison’s, or Mary McCarthy’s. Or imagine you’re reading a particularly thorny passage of “Paradise Lost” and suddenly — zwang! — up pops marginalia from a few centuries of poets (Blake, Coleridge, Keats, Emerson, Eliot, Pound), with their actual handwriting superimposed on the text in front of you. (If someone’s handwriting gave you trouble, you’d be able to toggle between script and print.) You could even “subscribe” to your favorite critic’s marginalia — get, say, one thoroughly marked-up digital book every month. Or, if you preferred to keep it contemporary, you could just read along with your friends in an endless virtual book club — their notes and your notes would show up on one another’s e-readers the moment they were made.

      I got tragically excited whilst reading this segment. I have always loved reading things like letters or notes written by authors during/after the composition of their great works as it can say so much about what they would change, or never would, or reflect upon.

    4. people would mark up books for one another as gifts, or give pointedly annotated novels to potential lovers.

      I love this idea. Reading a strangers annotations on second-hand books can often be highly illuminating - and funny - too.

    5. real-time commentary happening in the core of the thing being commented upon

      Reminds me of "live tweeting," where people tweet their reactions at the very moment the thought is born. This is specifically done in response to movies, books, tv shows, fan fiction, etc. Live tweeting itself has become a kind of entertainment genre that many people follow religiously. For example, Muggle Hustle was incredibly popular a couple of years ago on Twitter, so much so that the guy responsible managed to create a whole brand out of it, including merchandise, etc. Muggle Hustle basically follows the live tweets of an adult man reading the Harry Potter series for the first time. It's great.


    6. Books have become my journals,

      I so rarely write in notepads anymore, primarily because they turned into mental scrapyards for the scribbles and abstractions of my mind. So with the stimulus of text, that scrapyard is kinda refined, like having a crane to pick out the good (or semi-ok) thoughts and then polish them off. Even moreso is this done online, honestly, through hypothes.is/social media as my thoughts are outlined so much more eloquently laid out

    7. a way to not just passively read but to fully enter a text, to collaborate with it, to mingle with an author on some kind of primary textual plane.

      becomes strange when you annotate something that the author will inevitably see (@Jallred), because there is a certain security in private annotation

    8. Bridle argues that in a world in which we’ll no longer own books as discrete physical objects, the only really meaningful thing we’ll own will be the reading experience itself.

      Fascinating idea, yet couldn't one say the same about any type of reading, through the physical copy of a text or otherwise? What seems to matter more than anything else is act of marking up a text, making a mass-produced object unique. If one fails to mark up the text, the "really meaningful thing" remains in the reading process, rather than its products (marginalia).

    9. Yet books are curious objects: their strength is to be both intensely private and intensely social — and marginalia is a natural bridge between these two states.

      Great sentence.

    10. a way to not just passively read but to fully enter a text, to collaborate with it, to mingle with an author on some kind of primary textual plane.

      Woah, interaction with the text! The definition of Digital Humanities, the evolution of Benjamin's storyteller and listener relationship into the novel and the reader(/writer). Fascinating stuff.

    11. jotting important page numbers inside of back covers.

      This is so helpful! I've found myself doing this less and less however, as I begin reading on electronic devices more and more. Ctrl + F is the new bookmark.

    12. The author argued that you didn’t truly own a book (spiritually, intellectually) until you had marked it up.

      I am consistently curious about the difference between marking up a book and marking up a textbook. I've heard it all my life, the importance of choosing a limited number of lines worthy of marking up - "you're not coloring!" teachers would tell me as I took a highlighter to a textbook. I genuinely cannot imagine anyone saying that to me about a book. Why is that, I wonder? Is it because there is this perception that there is more room for the reader within the margins of a book vs. a textbook (and maybe there is)?

    1. All the same, his criticism of the girls appears to be valid. Is it not a reasonable assumption then that the novel was constructed as a means of turning the reader’s criticism of social opportunism back upon himself ? This is not mentioned specifically in the text, but it happens all the time. Thus, instead of society, the reader finds himself to be the object of criticism. (775)

      What's the trap that Thackeray springs on readers? What happens if you identify with one of the protagonists? What happens if you refuse this identification and seek identification with a different character, or with the narrator? Why does this dynamic matter to Iser's argument?

    2. The author has not yet withdrawn ‘‘to pare his fingernails,’’ but he has already entered into the shadows and holds his scissors at the ready.

      What's modern about Vanity Fair? How would you describe the moment it represents, in comparison to what comes before and afterwards in the novel's development as a genre?

    3. From the start the novel as a ‘genre’ was virtually free from traditional constraints and so the novelists of the eighteenth century considered themselves not merely as the creators of their works but also as the law-makers.2* (764)

      creators v. law-makers: this makes the novel seem more game-like in ways that look forward to our gamification of BILLY BUDD.

    4. For now the reader himself has to discover the true situation, which becomes clearer and clearer to him as he gets to know the characters in their fetters of illusion. (771)

      Sound familiar? How does Iser's reading of reading shed light on Melville's Benito Cereno?

    5. In this way, we get involved because we react to the viewpoints advanced by the narrator. If the narrator is an independent character, clearly separated from the inventor of the story, the tale of the social aspirations of the two girls Becky and Amelia takes on a greater degree of objectivity, and indeed one gains the impression that this social reality is not a mere narration but actually exists. The narrator can then be regarded as a sort of mediator between the reader and the events, with the implication that it is only through him that the social reality can be rendered communicable in the first place. (767)

      Weird argument that the reality of "realism" is signaled by its non-narratability. It's not "just a story" purely because it is nonsensical and only forms a pattern because of the intervention of a narrator (as independent character).

    6. If the sense of the narrative can only be completed through the cooperation of the reader (which is allowed for in the text), then the borderline between fiction and reality becomes increasingly hazy, for the reader can scarcely regard his own participation as fictional. (771)

      What is real about "realist fiction" for Iser? Or better, how is the sense of "reality" produced by the interaction between the "writerly" and "readerly" layers of narrative?

    7. 768: How is the reader's position different in Vanity Fair and an earlier novel like Jane Eyre? Where do the reader's sympathies and identifications lie in each case? Why does this matter to Iser's argument?

    8. 766: position of "author" ramifies into many guises of narrator ("master of the performance," "reporter of the story," etc.); likewise the novel positions the reader variably, as (low) consumer of spectacle, as (high) analyst of spectacle, as (ambivalent) consumer-made-miserable by comparing him/herself to the debased images of fair-goers in the novel.

    9. between the man who writes the book (author), the man whose attitudes shape the book (implied author), and the man who communicates directly with the reader (narrator)

      and the women who are getting extremely sick of being excluded from this realm of reading (author, implied author, narrator - all). Benjamin's exclusion of women from the realm of storytelling is not unlike this one. Both authors are so intrigued by the way writing and reading facilitates with an exchange of ideas and ideologies that they forget different ideas stem from different types of people.

      I am reminded of Gilbert and Gubar's "anxiety of authorship" where women are forced not to face the struggles of their predecessor's past achievements, but the notion that they are incapable of creating at all.

    10. shaped by the dialogue that the author wishes to conduct with his reader.

      The interesting shift from Benjamin's storyteller and lister to the author and the reader. Interaction is possible, but it does take new forms! The breaking of the Fourth wall with Twitter speaks to this social interaction with the author/creator even further. JK Rowling, for example, is still tweeting replies to fans about the world of Harry Potter, adding to its universe despite having "finished" it. As Benjamin hoped, the stories continue.

    11. The aspect of the novel which we have discussed so far is the narrator’s continual endeavor to stimulate the reader’s mind through extensive commentaries on the actions of the characters.

      This again reminds me of Calvino - so little is focussed on the actions of others and more so on the interactions between the narrator - you - and so a really unique discourse is formed. It almost self-annotates, especially in the preface in which Calvino seems to almost magically know exactly what you are doing, and in an attempt to change the discourse of the book, you rebel against it. It's almost an act of physical annotation, in my mind, because you're interacting with the book in a whole new dimension. Might be getting to hyped about the word annotation though...

    12. Vanity Fair has as the subtitle, A Novel without a Hero, which indicates that the characters are not regarded as representing an ideal, exemplary form of human conduct, as established by the conventions of the eighteenth-century novel. Instead, the reader’s interest is divided between two figures who, despite the contrast in their behavior, can under no circumstances be regarded as complementary or even corrective.

      This reminded me, perhaps obscurely, of Italo Calvino's If On A Winter's Night A Traveller - the real 'narrator' of the story, be that you or the unnamed 'protagonist', isn't really a hero, he is almost a suggester.

    13. The first stage in our discussion must be to modify the term ‘author’. We should distinguish, as Wayne Booth does in his Rhetoric of Fiction , between the man who writes the book (author), the man whose attitudes shape the book (implied author), and the man who communicates directly with the reader (narrator): ‘‘The ‘implied author’ chooses, consciously or unconsciously, what we read; . . . he is the sum of his own choices. . . . This implied author is always distinct from the ‘real man’ – whatever we may take him to be – who creates a superior version of himself, a ‘second self ’, as he creates his work.’’ The narrator, of course, is not always to be identified with the implied author.

      I find this so interesting considering authors who write under a pseudonym, as well as authors who contort or abbreviate their name so as to conceal gender, ethnicity or background. We are so fascinated and obsessed in the modern age with context and meaning, and less with the experience of reading. I often wonder if online texts which don't include biographies of authors or do not make their names so apparent directly affect our readings of their novels.

    14. And so the novel as a form in the eighteenth century is shaped by the dialogue that the author wishes to conduct with his reader. This simulated relationship gives the reader the impression that he and the author are partners in discovering the reality of human experience. In this reader-oriented presentation of the world, one can see an historical reflection of the period when the possibility of a priori knowledge was refuted, leaving fiction as the only means of supplying the insight into human nature denied by empirical philosophy.

      Another reason I find Defoe's work so interesting. I won't pretend Robinson Crusoe was an easy nor enjoyable read, but upon reflection I find his discourse and fictional discussion with the reader interesting - by "lying" to them and creating what is considered the earliest fictional novel, can we consider the relationship between the contemporary reader as at all similar to the historic readers? (Slightly confusing point I suppose, it's difficult to verbalise)

    15. considered themselves not merely as the creators of their works but also as the law-makers

      I found this interesting in terms of the earliest novelist, oft-times credited as the father of the modern novel - Defoe. He really irked people by writing what presented itself as a true account of a shipwrecked man, and many discredited him as a liar and not as a novelist. At least, that's how I was taught it last year. I almost am beginning to view this kind of adaptation of real events/realistic events as a kind of annotation of real life (Thanks, Allred399)

    1. The most interesting entrant in this field is hypothes.is.

      I've found myself using hypothes.is to improve my private note taking as well, on articles and pdfs, that I later use to improve my participation in class. It is fascinating that while annotations themselves may not be social, that they can thereby increase social interaction with the text later on.

    2. product reviews on Amazon
    3. we’re not annotating something

      Papers and essays for literature classes seem to be entire annotations in and on themselves, where students structure their work around their initial annotations of a text and begin to build off them.

    4. networked writing spaces

      in light of the triggering hashtag scandal that's risen in the last few days, one must wonder about the safety of the internet and the communications it allows.

    5. Facebook updates

      Especially with the increase in "reactability" on facebook now - still no dislike button though!

    1. Meantime, while these things were running through the honest seaman's mind, the servant had taken the napkin from his arm, and to Don Benito had said

      Noticeable moment of omniscience by the narrator.

    2. Atufal
    3. St. Francis

      If you have men who will exclude any of God's creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men. -St. Francis of Assisi

    4. Upon a still nigher approach, this appearance was modified, and the true character of the vessel was plain—a Spanish merchantman of the first class, carrying negro slaves, amongst other valuable freight, from one colonial port to another.

    5. smelter's

      Smelting is a form of extractive metallurgy; its main use is to produce a base metal from its ore. This includes production of silver, iron, copper and other base metals from their ores.


    6. forced to black bread themselves, they deemed it but equity that each person coming nigh them should, indirectly, by some slight or affront, be made to partake of their fare.

      Confused here. Is "black" a verb?-- he's forced to black bread i.e. burn it, and thus wants to share his suffering with all others? Or is it literally just black bread? In which case, is black bread really so awful? I've had plenty in my life and it's quite alright.

    7. sealer

      Fishermen/hunters/poachers of seals. Ecologically destructive practice.

    8. See Ezekiel 37 reference of revival of dry bones

    9. Hecate

      Hecate- Greek goddess of the three paths, guardian of the household, protector of everything newly born, and the goddess of witchcraft

    10. Lazarus in Abraham's bosom

      Luke 16:24 And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'

    11. That was in the lion month of March

      March: In like a lion, out like a lamb.

    12. Quito

      Quito: Capital of Ecuador

    13. "With fairest flowers, Whilst summer lasts, and I live here, Fidele—"

      Melville selects a quote from Act 4, Scene 2 of William Shakespeare’s Cymbeline to present in this epigraph. This specific line is spoken by the character Arviragus in his burial speech for a girl named Imogen. Imogen actually disguised as a boy, Fidele, who is believed to be dead (Dillingham 335).

      By preceding the story with this quote, Melville introduces the dominant theme of perception. This scene from Shakespeare depicts an illusion used to disguise reality as the live girl, Imogen, succeeds in pretending to be a dead boy named Fidele (Hattenhauer 73).


    14. Aurora Borealis

      What is the significance of astronomy?

    15. Whoever built the house, he builded better than he knew; or else Orion in the zenith flashed down his Damocles' sword to him some starry night, and said, "Build there." For how, otherwise, could it have entered the builder's mind, that, upon the clearing being made, such a purple prospect would be his?—nothing less than Greylock, with all his hills about him, like Charlemagne among his peers.

      Personally, I find it bizarre to be mixing such different allusions. I guess this is where annotated versions of something come in handy; instead of looking up each reference manually, someone else has done that leg work for us. It makes the reading go smoother.

    16. Considering the lawlessness and loneliness of the spot, and the sort of stories, at that day, associated with those seas, Captain Delano's surprise might have deepened into some uneasiness had he not been a person of a singularly undistrustful good-nature, not liable, except on extraordinary and repeated incentives, and hardly then, to indulge in personal alarms, any way involving the imputation of malign evil in man. Whether, in view of what humanity is capable, such a trait implies, along with a benevolent heart, more than ordinary quickness and accuracy of intellectual perception, may be left to the wise to determine.

      Similar to the Lawyer's mode-of-thinking (pseudo-charitable, wanting to help the main character) from Bartleby. Like with the lawyer in Bartleby, Delano's naivete and trusting nature works to his disadvantage, as he is unable to act upon his suspicions later in the novella.

    17. "His mind wanders. He was thinking of the plague that followed the gales," plaintively sighed the servant; "my poor, poor master!" wringing one hand, and with the other wiping the mouth. "But be patient, Señor," again turning to Captain Delano, "these fits do not last long; master will soon be himself."

      While apt for slave-master relationship, Babo's insistence of addressing Cereno as "master" constantly makes a suspicion of any ulterior motives palpable. He actually reminds me somewhat of Gollum from Lord of the Rings.

    18. somnambulist

      Someone who sleep-walks (Merriam-Webster).

    19. pulmonary

      "Relating to, infecting, or occurring in the lungs." (Merriam--Webster).

    20. oakum

      Defined as, "loosely twisted hemp or jute [strong, coarse] fiber impregnated with tar or a tar derivative." (Merriam-Webster).

    21. satyr in a mask, holding his foot on the prostrate neck of a writhing figure, likewise masked.

      This imagery is nothing short of gnarly. What is the relationship between the two actors, and why is one authorizing violence against the other? And why are the two characters here making wearing masks?

    22. noddy

    23. Robles, who knew how to swim, kept the longest above water, making acts of contrition, and, in the last words he uttered, charged this deponent to cause mass to be said for his soul to our Lady of Succor:

      This part has to be absolutely hysterical. It gives accounts of drowning sailors that couldn't be proven and gives the idea that this man is doing this holy act as he's dying. But the point is serious - it is placed to make the story even more devastating -- that the men who died and we're killed by the mutineers were devoutly religious men and it gives the story that much more credibility to it's audience.

    24. and uncomfortable to look at as inquisitors' racks, with a large, misshapen arm-chair

      The importance of the inquisitors rack here is the fact that the master's tools are being used against the master. The rack was a torture device used during the inquisition that hung people and dropped them (the Spanish Inquisition version)

    25. The old man looked like an Egyptian priest, making Gordian knots for the temple of Ammon.

      "Turn him to any cause of policy,

      The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,

      Familiar as his garter" (Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1 Scene 1. 45–47)

      The gordian knot is a reference to an unsolvable problem; an enigma. The fact that it's being made for the temple of Ammon leads us to believe that he is just purely there playing his role in the farce. The knots have no meaning just like the gordian knots have no meaning when brought before the temple of a god. That is his job and even though it may seem moot and meaningless, his act of doing and undoing these knots allows his part to be indefinite.

    26. So, Don Benito—padlock and key—significant symbols, truly.

      This use of metonymy is great because it properly defines Benito. In one sense, the padlock represents his repressed state: he's captive in a cage and can't speak up about it or it will cost him his life. On the other hand, he holds the key to exposing the entire farce. Power from the "powerless"

    27. Charles V., just previous to the anchoritish retirement of that monarch from the throne.

      This is referencing the fact that Charles V actually stepped down due to abdications. Comparing Benito Cereno to this further shows the confusion of Delano because of how reserved of a captain he appears to be. It's also a good example because of it being geographically relevant with Charles V being related to Spain.

    28. hypochondriac abbot

      Oxymoron - a distinguished and nervous captain, compared to an anxious monk.

    29. somnambulistic character

      Of relation to sleepwalking. Almost a foreshadowing of the action that is to come where everything isn't as it seems -- like a dream

    30. kith and kin

      Literally, "friends and family"

    31. This the negroes have since said; * * * that one of the ship-boys feeling, from Captain [pg 262] Amasa Delano's presence, some hopes of release, and not having enough prudence, dropped some chance-word respecting his expectations, which being overheard and understood by a slave-boy with whom he was eating at the time, the latter struck him on the head with a knife, inflicting a bad wound, but of which the boy is now healing; that likewise, not long before the ship was brought to anchor, one of the seamen, steering at the time, endangered himself by letting the blacks remark some expression in his countenance

      Seems that Melville is either critiquing white's attitudes of slaves and slavery or really good at perpetuating racist caricatures

    32. ratlin

      Small ropes or lines that traverse the masts of a ship and work as a ladder to clime up.

    33. bulwarks

      A solid wall enclosing the perimeter of a ship's deck for the protection of persons or cargo.

    34. spars

      A stout pole, such as those used for masts.

    35. surtout

      Surtout-- a hood with a mantle worn by a woman

    36. Indian

      "Indian," here, is used to describe the natives of Peru, not the people of India.

    37. Captain Delano took to negroes, not philanthropically, but genially, just as other men to Newfoundland dogs

      these are extreme racist attitudes. I'm curious if Melville purposefully included these as a form of criticism of racist stereotypes or if he is mirroring racist attitudes from ignorance as a white male during his time.

    38. The whites, too, by nature, were the shrewder race. A man with some evil design, would he not be likely to speak well of that stupidity which was blind to his depravity, and malign that intelligence from which it might not be hidden? Not unlikely, perhaps. But if the whites had dark secrets concerning Don Benito, could then Don Benito be any way in complicity with the blacks? But they were too stupid

      totally confusing reasoning of thought here. Delano's comparisons of race are pretty paradoxical. He is sort of a racist -- but doesn't mind blacks, but still uses some racially-charged in the vernacular

    39. black met his voiceless [pg 270] end

      While reading this part, this took me back to my facebook page, where I saw a video of three black children and two white children. The two white children were being bullied by the black children and the person recording was related to the black children. It was very sad on how they were hitting and telling them bad things black people were once being told. How is it that now some people just don't care and teach their children to behave how once they were or might have being treated? Why not raised them different and help them become a better person?

    40. "You generalize, Don Benito; and mournfully enough. But the past is passed; why moralize upon it? Forget it. See, yon bright sun has forgotten it all, and the blue sea, and the blue sky; these have turned over new leaves.

      Delano appears to connect things through the trope of nature...here with Benito's attitude

    41. There is some one above.

      Delano alludes to the idea of a god

    42. But ere long Captain Delano bethought him that, indulgent as he was at the first, in judging the Spaniard, he might not, after all, have exercised charity enough. At bottom it was Don Benito's reserve which displeased him; but the same reserve was shown towards all but his faithful personal attendant. Even the formal reports which, according to sea-usage, were, at stated times, made to him by some petty underling, either a white, mulatto or black, he hardly had patience enough to listen to, without betraying contemptuous aversion. His manner upon such occasions was, in its [pg 126] degree, not unlike that which might be supposed to have been his imperial countryman's, Charles V., just previous to the anchoritish retirement of that monarch from the throne.

      This paragraph have me thinking on how can you exercise charity? How is it that a human being is taught on whether to act against other individuals that are not their same race or color? Yet, this is still going on now; although it has improve but not completely.

    43. whites it was not without humane satisfaction

      Story on Black and White?

    44. vapors

      Meaning fog

    45. The sky seemed a gray surtout

      Interesting comparison. I have never compared the sky with clothes but I kind of like the comparison. (Surtout-- meaning a hood with a mantle worn by a woman, as sais by nickj )

    46. There he had touched for water

      He had access to water?

    47. Benito Cereno, borne on the bier, did, indeed, follow his leader.

      Melville portrays the bond between two males that is then struck by tragedy, specifically, the death of one or the other, in not only Benito Cereno, but also "Bartleby" and Moby Dick. While that bond can take the form of friendship, it is strangely, often one of dependence. Here, Benito Cereno follows Babo even into death, when previously, he was so eager to be rid of him. While we briefly discussed the homoerotic subtext in "Bartleby," I wonder if that same relationship can also be seen here. This is especially intriguing when one learns about the close friendship that Melville shared with Nathaniel Hawthorne as well.

    48. met, unabashed, the gaze of the whites;

      While Delano is undoubtedly our narrator, it does make me wonder, especially in lines like this, if we are also getting a glimpse of Melville's own perspective. While this line could undoubtedly be read a variety of ways, it sounds, to me, like admiration.

    49. Only at the end did my suspicions get the better of me, and you know how wide of the mark they then proved.

      The appearance of power, the illusion of it, therefore does not at all speak to its actual presence. The reader and Delano both are disillusioned by the way things appear to be, for there has been an unspoken acceptance of the way things are (be it in the context of the story or in that time period and at that particular time) and therefore are temporarily unable to see past them, at least until all is unveiled. Is Melville, then, speaking to the institution of slavery as a whole? Perhaps Melville is condemning the notion that the superiority of one person over another, based solely upon race, as a mere fabricated illusion.

    50. There's naked nature, now; pure tenderness and love, thought Captain Delano, well pleased. This incident prompted him to remark the other negresses more particularly than before. He was gratified with their manners: like most uncivilized women, they seemed at once tender of heart and tough of constitution; equally ready to die for their infants or fight for them. Unsophisticated as leopardesses; loving as doves. Ah! thought Captain Delano, these, perhaps, are some of the very women whom Ledyard saw in Africa, and gave such a noble account of.

      Some say that love is the difference between animal and man. In this passage, Delano's observation of the woman interacting with her child initially pulls him away from his animal comparison from before. Delano even refers to her as a woman, albeit an "uncivilized" one. However, she is instantly forced back into the "other," into the position of animal, as he once again compares her love for her child to that of a leopardess or a dove.

    51. His attention had been drawn to a slumbering negress, partly disclosed through the lacework of some rigging, lying, with youthful limbs carelessly disposed, under the lee of the bulwarks, like a doe in the shade of a woodland rock. Sprawling at her lapped breasts, was her wide-awake fawn, stark naked, its black little body half lifted from the deck, crosswise with its dam's; its hands, like two paws, clambering upon her; its mouth and nose ineffectually rooting to get at the mark; and meantime giving a vexatious half-grunt, blending with the composed snore of the negress.

      While there has been a continued "other-ing" that occurs throughout Benito Cereno, with the use of color, specifically, in order to designate and refer to the Africans, this passage seems to surpass that entirely. Delano compares the woman and her child to a doe and fawn, and this description as a whole seems to render them entirely animal. Delano peers at these two people like animals in their natural habitat (caged?), as seen by his focus on their bodies, with the woman's breasts, and her child's hands - "paws" - and "its" features.

    52. As master and man stood before him, the black upholding the white, Captain Delano could not but bethink him of the beauty of that relationship which could present such a spectacle of fidelity on the one hand and confidence on the other.

      This reminds me of Nathaniel Parker Willis's "Night Funeral of a Slave," wherein a slave owner mourns the death of his slave. In the piece, there is a deliberate emphasis by the owner that his slave is also his friend, his most trusted companion. However, that manipulation can be seen blatantly throughout the text as ownership and possession are hidden in the guise of friendship, through the use of extremely racial rhetoric, specifically, the emphasis on color. This type of manipulation, or perception perhaps, can be seen often in Benito Cereno, particularly when Delano perceives Babo.

    53. slave I cannot call him

      And yet.

    54. This distempered spirit was lodged, as before hinted, in as distempered a frame. He was rather tall, but seemed never to have been robust, and now with nervous suffering was almost worn to a skeleton.

      The state of the spirit seems entirely connected to the state of the body, the "frame." What then is Melville trying to say about race? This play on the "goodness" of black and white is undoubtedly related here as well, and perhaps it is this ambiguity that not only speaks to the similarity of spirits (in dissimilar frames) but also the shades of grey in the human condition as well.

    55. Ezekiel's Valley of Dry Bones

      Engraving of "The Vision of The Valley of The Dry Bones" by Gustave Doré.

      I was uncertain what this was referencing and had to look it up. Just as the ship seems to come to life before Delano's eyes, so do the bones of humans before Ezekiel. In a vision, the prophet Ezekiel is given a prophecy from God and through him, the "dry bones" of the dead are resurrected and brought to Israel.

    56. white-washed monastery after a thunder-storm, seen perched upon some dun cliff among the Pyrenees. But it was no purely fanciful resemblance which now, for a moment, almost led Captain Delano to think that nothing less than a ship-load of monks was before him. Peering over the bulwarks were what really seemed, in the hazy distance, throngs of dark cowls; while, fitfully revealed through the open port-holes, other dark moving figures were dimly descried, as of Black Friars pacing the cloisters.

      This play on light and dark is extremely fascinating, particularly if one considers Melville's use of the color white in Moby Dick. While the color white is often used to symbolize purity and goodness, Melville inverts this idea entirely. Ishmael ponders over the what Moby Dick's whiteness means - is it evil? And if so, is black then, good? Or is the color white the combination of both evil and good, or perhaps the absence of both altogether? Melville may be playing with these ideas again in Benito Cereno, as he likens the whiteness of the ship to religious motifs of the monastery and the monks, and yet he also fills that very same ship with shadows.

  2. www.jstor.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu www.jstor.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu
    1. What we call the works ofAristotle,for example, are thought to be mostly composed from student notes.

      Would it be accurate to say that we have read Aristotle, then? Or to completely attribute these ideas to a singular author?

    2. The note taker can process manytexts in this way and can integrate the selections from different sources intoone set of references.

      This picking apart of a work, note taking itself, is reminiscent of Barthes's "text." It allows individuals to pick certain parts of a whole and choose what is transmitted, what is kept, in not only the human memory but also one's "references" that are then also utilized in the reading of other texts.

    3. Human memory is thestorage medium with the longest history, and it remains crucial today de-spite our reliance on other devices, from ink on paper to computers.

      This reminds me entirely of Benjamin's nostalgia for oral storytelling, and how as storytelling transforms into the novel, so does our transference of "storage," so to speak, from the human mind to other devices.

    4. These short-termnotes would be copied over onto a more permanent medium and typicallysorted or integrated into preexisting notes in the process.

      This further reinforces the connection I made with Blair's analysis of note-taking to Freud's analysis of dream interpretation. The short-term notes are latent, raw/inarticulate accounts of memory, while the permanent notes are the translated/manifest content of memory.

    5. a powerful aid to memory.

      Or rather, as an extension of memory. A transcript of it.

    6. Merchants, forexample, were long famous for keeping two separate notebooks: a daybookto record transactions in the order in which they occurred and a secondnotebook in which these transactions were sorted into categories.

      As Blair explains this model of rough original notes versus more articulate final notes further on, I see this dynamic similar to Freud's theory on how we interpret dreams (in which the raw dream content itself is considered latent, and the translated/articulated version of how we interpret it is the manifest content). In this logic, the original, unsorted notes are raw, unedited transcripts of memory; by contrast, the sorted and dichotomized notes are the manifest.

    7. Yet even today note taking generally remains an areaof tacit knowledge, acquired by imitation rather than formal instruction,and about which there is little explicit discussion.

      I think that note taking goes even beyond imitation. I see the entire initial process (eg. writing notes while listening to a lecture or writing annotations as you read a certain text) as entirely intuitive; you write notes based on how you learn the material, how it's being taught to you -- this can change from class to class, so the notetaking itself becomes fluid.

    8. We most conveniently use paper and rejoice in the prin-ters; this way of writing is so easy that leisure is not more pleasant thanwork.”

      "rejoice in the printers" :/

    9. Bequests of personal notes were explicitly includedin wills and even fought over in cases of disputed legacy.

      Hemingway, anyone?

    10. Therefore anothermethod of analysis (and the principal one for earlier periods) is to hypoth-esize from finished texts about the methods of note taking from which theywere composed.

      There is still a certain fascination with reading the notes and annotations of our favorite authors. Kurt Cobain's journal that he used while song writing is a best seller; there is a digital copy available of Sylvia Plath's annotations of The Great Gatsby. There is a special bond created when you read the ideas and commentary of another author on their favorite texts or even their own texts; it allows the reader to feel as though they are having a more intimate conversation with the author.

    11. but also by our current experience with new tech-nologies and our sense (often more diffuse than articulate) that the com-puter is changing both the way we take notes and the kinds of notes andwriting we produce.7

      I'm not sure if this is a positive or negative commentary on modern education, but my notes are less thoughtful, more plentiful, and easier to be made when using a digital device. If I am reading something I find interesting, I can flag it, favorite it, bookmark it, or download it to Microsoft Word and add my own footnotes and annotations. In primary and secondary school, we learned that there was such a thing as too much highlighting; now, my books or documents feel empty if they aren't filled to the brim with my own ideas. A piece is more or less what we make of it; there comes a time when every academic must decide what kind of reader they want to be, outside of the metrics of academic pursuit.

    12. olleges offer support servicesin the form of handouts and seminars in study skills and what they callnotemakingto emphasize the active role the learner plays in making (ratherthantaking) notes.8

      I'm not sure how effective a note-taking seminar would be. Part of me feels like note-taking is so personal, so connected to our own thought processes that one person's strategy probably won't fit another's. Then again, I have had two teachers--one in middle school and one in high school--who strongly influenced my method/style of note-taking. The middle-school teacher did actually demonstrate to me the technique of bullet notes with the possibility of an endless chain of sub-bullet notes--this changed my life. The high school teacher taught psychology and in his note-slides certain words were always highlighted certain colors. He never explained this and no one, in my class at least, asked about it, but I started underlining the words that he had highlighted. He was highlighting key words that, if you were reading his slides speedily, you could choose to only concentrate on them and retain the info quicker because it made the definition or fact more concise. I still practice this in my own note-taking. So, perhaps strategies can be taught.

    13. with a typicallifeexpectancyof around 300 years, the notes survive only in small fragments or underspecial conditions

      Highlighting the point that physical notes will inevitably meet their doom.

    14. Note taking differs from the transmission of whole textsinthatonlypartsof a whole are selected for transmission. The note taker can process manytexts in this way and can integrate the selections from different sources intoone set of references.

      Do references then gain authenticity and then assert themselves as a new text?

    15. Bequests of personal notes were explicitly includedin wills and even fought over in cases of disputed legacy.54The notes ofhighly regarded scholars were especially valued. I surmise that the sons andnephews who inherited them and pursued learned careers of their own mayhave put these notes to good use in their own work;therewereevenattemptsmade to purchase such notes.

      Kind of mind-blowing, that notes could be an intellectual "inheritance" in as literal a way as cold hard currency. The French sociologist of culture, Pierre Bourdieu, argues that "cultural capital" is transmissible across generations, and this is the most vivid example I've ever seen.

    16. from the method of drawing up analphabetized index that Locke was proud to share with readers of theBib-liotheque universelleof 1686 to the index of special symbols with whichGeorge Berkeley annotated his notes.

      Reading about the vibrant "how to" literature on note-taking, I can't help but think about blogs like ProfHacker in the Chronicle of Higher Ed and Lifehacker for regular civilians, which work similarly with a similar style.

    17. Theact of copying out a passage helps to read it more slowly and retain it inmemory, and the notes collected in this way should be the object of focusedstudy, even to the point of memorization. “It is not enough to excerpt,with-out remembering what you excerpted” (A, p. 56; see alsoA, pp. 67, 84–85).

      Which should make us consider in a critical light the ease of copy and paste here (as I just did), where one grabs the author's words instantly and thus doesn't get to/have to repeat them in manuscript form.

    18. Newtechnologies of the early modern period included erasable tablets made ofspecially treated paper from which marks could be wiped off with a littlemoisture; these were likely used for quick note taking, for example, whileaway from one’s quill, ink, and desk, pending the opportunity to enter thematerial into a more permanent and systematic record

      Analogous to RAM in computing: short-term memory that either gets trashed or saved to long-term storage medium.

    19. the Palm Pilot.

      Wow: how quickly things have changed. I had one in graduate school...

    20. but also by our current experience with new tech-nologies and our sense (often more diffuse than articulate) that the com-puter is changing both the way we take notes and the kinds of notes andwriting we produce.7

      Shades of Benjamin: social computing kills traditional notetaking on paper but lends a "strange beauty" to the latter.

    21. note taking presents some consistent featuresthat are identifiable across many differences of time and place.

      I love the way this argument puts the brakes on a) progressive ways of thinking about history--that we now know how to do X or Y better/faster/smarter because of tech; and b) naive celebrations of technology as radically "new" (so Evernote or Pocket is not new but a different modality of the very old commonplace book).

    22. The transmission served by personal notes most often operates within oneindividual’s experience—from a moment of reading and note taking to alater moment when the notes are read and sometimes rearranged and usedin articulating a thought. But personal notes can also be shared with others,on a limited scale with family and friends and on a wider scale throughpublication, notably in genres that compile useful reading notes for others.A history of note taking has significance beyond the study of individualsetsof extant notes by shedding light on aspects of note taking that were widelyshared, notably through being taught in schools or used in particular pro-fessional contexts.

      Subtle argument about the mix of privacy and publicness in notetaking: even when the notes themselves are private, the habit of notetaking, the mode of notetaking, the kinds of things that get notated, are part of a deeply social process of education and acculturation.

    23. Drexel’s third class of notes (historicaorexempla) comprises anecdotesof human behavior taken from human history of all places and periods.Drexel notes that the historical passages may be “noted briefly or describedin their entirety,” but he does not call for a distinction to be made betweenan exact quotation and a summary or paraphrase

      One must wonder how many faults and holes in the narrative of history are caused by faulty annotation or citation... d'oh.

    24. Finally, Drexel explains how to index one’s notes.

      Or, colour coded sticky notes. Yay!

    25. florilegium

      had to google this, and so for future/shared reference: a collection of literary extracts; an anthology.... so nothing to do with flowers.

    1.  The  Text  is  not  to  be  thought  of  as  an  object  that  can  be  computed.  It  would  be  futile  to  try  to  separate  out  materially  works  from  texts.  In  particular,  the  tendency  must  be  avoided  to  say  that  the  work  is  classic,  the  text  avant-­‐garde;  it  is  not  a  question  of  drawing  up  a  crude  honours  list  in  the  name  of  modernity  and  declaring  certain  literary  productions  'in'  and  others  'out'  by  virtue  of  their  chronological  situation:  there  may  be  'text'  in  a  very  ancient  work,  while  many  products  of  contemporary  literature  are  in  no  way  texts.  The  difference  is  this:  the  work  is  a  fragment  of  substance,  occupying  a  part  of  the  space  of  books  (in  a  library  for  example),  the  Text  is  a  methodological  f

      The dichotomy that exists between a work and a text is that a text can exist within a variety of realms of spaces; there is no finite definition of what or where a text can live.

    2. We  know  that  today  post-­‐serial  music  has  radicallyaltered  the  role  of  the  'interpreter',  who  is  called  on  to  be  in  some  sort  the  co-­‐author  of  the  score,  completing  it  rather  than  giving  it  'expres
    3.  The  work  is  normally  the  object  of  a  consumption;  no  demagogy  is  intended  here  in  referring  to  the  so-­‐called  consumer  culture  but  it  has  to  be  recognized  that  today  it  is  the  'quality'  of  the  work  (which  supposes  finally  an  appreciation  of  'taste')  and  not  the  operation  of"  reading  itself  which  can  differentiate  between  books:  structurally,  there  is  no  difference  between  'cultured  reading  and  casual  reading  in  trains.

      Isn't there a positive aspect to people reading at all, despite the caliber of content? Especially in cities like New York, where public transit is the only transit, there is so much opportunity for consumption. Who are we, and we being literary scholars, to judge what kind of information people choose to consume and maintain informed about?

    4. 2.  In  the  same  way,  the  Text  does  not  stop  at  (good)  Literature;  it  cannot  be  contained  in  a  hierarchy,  even  in  a  simple  division  of  genres.  What  constitutes  the  Text  is,  on  the  contrary  (or  precisely),  its  subversive  force  in  respect  of  the  old  classifications.  How  do  you  classify  a  writer  like  Georges  Bataille?  Novelist,  poet,  essayist,  economist,  philosopher,  mystic?  The  answer  is  so  difficult  that  the  literary  manuals  generally  prefer  to  forget  about  Bataille  who,  in  fact,  wrote  texts,  perhaps  continuously  one  single  text.  If  the  Text  poses  problems  of  classification  (which  is  furthermore  one  of  its  'social  functions),  this  is  because  it  always  involves  a  certain  experience  of  limits  (to  take  up  an  expression  from  Philippe  Sollers).Thibaudet  used  already  to  talk  -­‐-­‐but  in  a  very  restricted  sense  -­‐-­‐of  limit-­‐works  (such  as  Chateaubriand's  Vie  de  Rancé,  which  does  indeed  come  through  to  us  today  as  a  'text');  the  Text  is  that  which  goes  to  the  limit  of  the  rules  of  enunciation  (rationality,  readability,  etc.).  Nor  is  this  a  rhetorical  idea,  resorted  to  for  some  'heroic'  effect:  the  Text  tries  to  place  itself  very  exactly  behind  the  limit  of  the  doxa  (is  not  general  opinion  -­‐-­‐constitutive  of  our  democratic  societies  and  powerfully  aided  by  mass  communications  -­‐-­‐defined  by  its  limits,  the  energy  with  which  it  excludes,  its  censorship?).  Taking  the  word  literally,  it  may  be  said  that  the  Text  is  always  paradoxical.

      As an English major, this is where my personal struggle lays. What makes a text worthy of scholarly attention? If I am reading outside of the boundaries of my studies, is reading "bad" literature the same thing as not reading at all? Actresses like Tina Fey and Lena Dunam are now publishing their own works, outside of the frame of their professional personas. Where do their works stand on the spectrum of the pop culture canon?

    5. so  the  combined  action  of  Marxism,  Freudianism  and  structuralism  demands,  in  literature,  the  relativization  of  the  relations  of  writer,  reader  and  observer

      And this is where the intersectionality of Digital Humanities exists; the traditional roles of reader, writer, editor, scholar are now being blurred, using secondary media sources to allow "regular" people to act as critics to the texts in which they correspond

    1. This ‘split-level’ technique conveys a far stronger impression of reality than does the

      Allows the reader to see the text objectively rather than like a traditional novel, place himself or herself into the text.

    2. Often the behavior of the characters is interpreted far beyond the scope of the reactionsshown and in the light of knowledge which at best could only have been revealed by thefuture.20In this way the reader is continually placed at a distance from the characters.

      By adding a multiplicity of views in to the mix, the author then removes any kind of governance the reader thinks he or she has over the text. The reader is not only subjected to the will of the author, but is also subject to an author who is also a level removed.

    3. the man whose attitudes shape the book (implied author)

      Reminds me a bit of John Hosper's theory of music where all levels of experience were isolated and objective: the music had it's own expression, the author had his/her own expression and the listener had their own response -- much like how it is here: all three levels are separate from one another.

    4. Joyce, at the other end of the scale drops only the ironic informationthat the author has withdrawn behind his work, ‘‘paring his fingernails.’’5The reader ofmodern novels is deprived of the assistance which the eighteenth-century writer hadgiven him in a variety of devices ranging from earnest exhortation to satire and irony.

      Called it.

    5. Such interventions are meant to indicate how the author wants his textto be understood, and also to make the reader more deeply aware of those events forthe judgment of which his own imagination has to be mobilized.

      I see the death of this around Joyce's time and the rise of the modernists.

    1. 764-5: Iser opens with two major arguments relevant to our course: a) the novel genre grows out of a distinctive relationship between author and reader, in which the very form seems driven by the desire to create intimacy between an "implied" author and an abstract reader. b) the structure of the novel's narrative is gamelike, with the author less the scribe who captures experience than the "law-maker" who determines how experience will be structured.



    1. a lot of Barthes' comments, specifically about the "breaking down" of certain words, reminded me of Saussure and the concept of "sign, signified, signifier" model.

    2. Who says? Is Barthes creating his own ideology here? He writes as if he is speaking indisputable grammatical law. His distinction is interesting, though; despite his language being so very elevated.

    3. The theory of the Text can coincide only with the practice of writing.

      This is one point of origin (along with the book S/Z by Barthes) of the theory of the "writerly" text that we've discussed. So an ambience in which a group is writing intensively on texts together, as we are doing now, is exactly what Barthes is talking about, even if the material basis for inscribing texts in this way (or this fluidly) did not yet exist.

    4. The Text is very much a score of this new kind.

      Now you know that I've cribbed this idea of text as "score" from Barthes.

      And you can see as well that producing an audiobook is precisely rendering the "work" as an object of "play" in RBs sense.

    5. The Text ... decants the work ... from its consumption and gathers it up as play, activity, production, practice.

      A beautiful image: the pleasurable spilling of the "work" into a messy space where it can be made to perform in new ways. This could be the motto of our course.

    6. It is not that the Author may not "come back" in the Text, in his text, but he then does so as a "guest." If he is a novelist, he is inscribed in the novel like one of his characters...

      I love this, especially for the way it anticipates our coming "gamification" of Billy Budd, in which we will bring Melville into his own text in just this way.

    7. The work is caught up in a process of filiation

      This is the money passage for us. "Work" describes a way of thinking about literature bound up in the figure of the "great" author as the "father" of the text (and yes, the sexist language is deliberate since we're talking about patriarchal values around "work"). This attitude is part of what Benjamin chafes against: the author of a printed novel is alone and apart, unlike the storyteller and his/her auditors. "Text" ushers in a more fluid situation re: authorship and a more active readership. The Web 2.0 technologies we've been playing with (and are doing so now) materialize this rather lofty theory from the 70s in a dramatic way.

    8. oued

      A streambed that only runs with water occasionally, as in a monsoon season.

    9. That object is now the text

      In plain English (not French): we used to naively think we read stable "works" just as we used to think things moved in X direction or Y velocity; now we have to read "texts" in ways that are like the physics of Einstein or Heisenberg, seeing the "text" as a relativistic, fluid phenomenon that changes as it is written/read/compared and has a webby, indistinct relationship to all other texts.

    10. Point 6 on the quality of text

      cough cough 50 shades of Grey cough cough

    11. In particular, the tendency must be avoided to say that the work is classic, the text avant-garde.

      I had a whole 4 week topic on the nature of 'classic' last year, on what makes a 'text' classic, and our bastardisation of the word. A book can be released in 2010 and be published as a penguin 'classic' where one assumes it means an older, well loved piece.

    12. in our conception of language

      lol idk wth u r talkin abt

      (couldn't resist)

    2. These platforms also provide an opportunity to highlight what democratic deliberation shares with academic discourse: the general form of conversation.
    3. The participatory ethos of social annotation aligns it with the promise of radical democracy: free expression, common ownership, mutual commitment; liberty, equality, fraternity. The promise stands in marked opposition to those aspects of higher education pedagogy and scholarship that remain, even in democratic societies, hierarchical, exclusive, proprietary, and competitive.
    1. Annotation is of course far older than the web. For as long as there has been writing, there have been readers who follow along and “write back.”

      Even though this proceeds the web, the web has amplified the ability to "write back"; the first thing that comes to mind are threads of Facebook and YouTube comments.

    2. The fact that more or less anyone can publish to the web often makes people think that self-publication is its main use.

      Wikipedia, anyone?

    3. Annotations

      Can annotations be used as a secondary source for a paper?

    1.  The  Text  can  be  approached,  experienced,  in  reaction  to  the  sign.  The  work  closes  on  a  signifie

      The text can continually be expanded while the work remains limited

    2.  genres.  What  constitutes  the  Text  is,  on  the  contrary  (or  precisely),  its  subversive  force  in  respect  of  the  old  classifications.  Ho

      Because the text is a non-object, it's undefined as compared to the "work"

    3.  The  Text  is  not  to  be  thought  of  as  an  object  that  can  be

      I would argue that it's a medium of substance rather than a fragment of substance.

    4. urity;  it  begins  effectively(as  opposed  to  the  mere  expression  of  a  pious  wish)  when  the  solidarity  of  the  old  disciplines  breaks  down  -­‐-­‐perhaps  even  violently,  via  the  jolts  of  fas

      So essentially disciplines have to collapse before they're acknowledged to potentially merge into a certain inter-discipline? The following point on scientific mutation tries to justify it - I guess what's here is the fact that it takes a question unanswerable by a discipline to be completed by another discipline.

    1. the death of the author was the birth of the listener.

      Interesting on how the death of the author brings up the birth of the listener. It's similar to when a singer dies or someone from the public sphere dies everyone is posting about them but when they were alive they were not posting anything.

    1. Figure three looks like a boring activity to do with the family because of the way everyone it's on their own moment. It looks like their listening to the audio but not paying attention to the actual context of the audio.