7 Matching Annotations
  1. Nov 2021
    1. While scholars have long identified an early modern tendency to borrow and redeploy texts, Bound to Read reveals that these strategies of imitation and appropriation were rooted in concrete ways of engaging with books.
  2. Sep 2021
    1. Encourage imitation. By seeing imitation as intellectually empty and even fraudulent, we neglect one of the most powerful learning tools we have. How might we build imitation more deliberately into our pedagogy? How might we use an intentionally-designed apprenticeship model for more types of learning?

      The history of rhetoric is littered with suggestions to imitate. Early commonplace book handbooks encouraged it heavily.

      Cross reference: https://hyp.is/mCsl9voQEeuP3t8jNOyAvw/maggieappleton.com/echo-narcissus

  3. Aug 2021
    1. This now brings diversity to the table. It is deliberately interdisciplinary. Notes from poets interact with notes from scientists and notes from wise elders.

      This is the closest phrase I've seen in the zettelkasten space that ties back directly into the commonplace book tradition of sententiae.

      Kudos to the author for this.

      I like the fact that he highlights the diversity of thought he's getting by plumbing the depths of a variety of types of writers and creators. Very reminiscent of another early commonplace book tradition of the bee analogy.

    1. You would take a Didion sentence like 'Only the very young and the very old may recount their dreams at breakfast, dwell upon self, interrupt with memories of beach picnics and favorite Liberty lawn dresses and the rainbow trout in a creek near Colorado Springs,' and learn how to see it as "Only the ____ and the ____ may ____, ____, ____ and ____." A reusable format for pointing out similarities between two distinct things.

      An excellent little example of copying form and style.

    2. I used to think copying was unseemly before one of my writing professors in college filled me in on the big, unkept secret. He handed us a small trove of writing samples from folks like Joan Didion, John McPhee, Barbara Kingsolver, and Ernest Hemingway. Essentially a Who's Who of New Yorker essayists. We had to copy out their work, then write our own pieces using the copied sentences as 'templates.'

      This general thought goes back to antiquity (and possibly earlier). In writing about classic rhetoric Seneca the Younger wrote in Epistulae morales

      "We should follow, men say, the example of the bees, who flit about and cull the flowers that are suitable for producing honey, and then arrange and assort in their cells all that they have brought in; these bees, as our Vergil says, 'pack close the flowering honey | And swell their cells with nectar sweet.' "

      (Sound a bit like he's one of the original digital gardeners, but in an analog world?)

      He's essentially saying, read the best, take their thoughts and ideas, consume them, make them your own."

      Generations later in ~430 CE, Macrobius in his Saturnalia repeated the same idea and even analogy (he assuredly read Seneca, though he obviously didn't acknowledge him):

      "You should not count it a fault if I shall set out the borrowings from a miscellaneous reading in the authors' own words... sometimes set out plainly in my own words and sometimes faithfully recorded in the actual words of the old writers... We ought in some sort to imitate bees; and just as they, in their wandering to and fro, sip the flowers, then arrange their spoil and distribute it among the honeycombs, and transform the various juices to a single flavor by some mixing with them a property of their own being, so I too shall put into writing all that I have acquired in the varied course of my reading... For not only does arrangement help the memory, but the actual process of arrangement, accompanied by a kind of mental fermentation which serves to season the whole, blends the diverse extracts to make a single flavor; with the result that, even if the sources are evident, what we get in the end is still something clearly different from those known sources."

    1. I should perhaps also note that I try, whenever possible, not to collect raw quotes or information simply copied from the Internet or from books, but to write excerpts or summaries in my own words on the basis of my reading. Luhmann called this "reformulating writing" and argued that such an approach is most important for one's own intellectual life. But this idea is not a new discovery Luhmann made. In fact, the idea that excerpts should be used to keep on's research goes back to at least the Renaissance when people first began to make extensive excerpts on paper.

      This is also related to the ideas of invention as well as the analogy of the bee in relation to commonplaces. Link this to the bee analogy of Seneca the Younger and Macrobius in Saturnalia.