402 Matching Annotations
  1. Jan 2018
    1. Of course, interest in the execution was not very high, not even in the penal colony itself.

      What's the tone of this story? Why does it matter that no one is interested in the execution, including the condemned?

  2. Nov 2017
    1. Since Number Five is out of the bathroom now, We think of lukewarm water, hope to get in it

      anticlimax: focus on quanitites and abstractions; imagination circumscribed by circumstances.

    2. We are things

      Shocking moment: things!

    1. I shall wait, if you wish: revise the psalm If that should frighten you: sew up belief If that should tear: turn, singularly calm At forehead and at fingers rather wise, Holding the bandage ready for your eyes

      New model for warrior for justice: behind the scurryings, doing the affective labor and bodily care.

    2. Children, confine your lights

      Apostrophe to children: new address

    3. children, pray, to pray

      More antiquated diction

    4. mail of ice and insolence:

      hard not to hear "male" here

    1. It was you, it was you who threw away my name!    And this is everything I have for me

      Negativity of the X transformed into positivity, perhaps.

    2. I shall create! If not a note, a hole.    If not an overture, a desecration

      Talk about "creative destruction"...

    3. barbarous and metal little man

      What's the little man? The building? The window itself?

    4. treasonable faith


    5. cry of art

      cry of art/heart

    6. Marc Crawford

      Look this up.

    1. Settle for sandwiches! settle for stocking caps!    for sudden blood, aborted carnival, the props and niceties of non-loneliness— the rhymes of Leanin

      enigmatic closing, and note that the (male) scheming culminates in feminine fantasy/reality.

    2. Their country is a Nation on no map

      Alien to established leadership, even radical leadership. Gloss for students: Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown.

    3. but swallow, straight, the spirals of his flask    and assist him at your zipper

      antisenimental depiction of youthful life.

    4. Bowery Boys, Disciples, Whip-Birds

      Names of Chi gangs in 60s?

    5. Cottage Grove.

      Where is this?

    6. Blackstone bitter bureaus (bureaucracy is footloose)

      Play on bureaucracy and politics: alternative, emergent model.

    7. cold bonbon


    8. cancel, cure and curry

      Vision of leadership: dash of West Indian influence, caring/curing/preserving.

    9. Sores

      sore/soar; heal/heel (like a dog)

    10. Thirty

      Mere quantity: aggregate blackness


      funny diction: discipline in Foucaultian sense?

    12. Rangers

      anagram for "rage" and "anger"

    1. disruptorinterruptbusinessasusual

      Business as usual that valorizes itself for being "disruptive"! Your project, then, is a disruption of "disruption."

    2. InconnectingtheprecariousnessofnetworklifeandlaborinTransmissiontotherhetoricsandrealitiesof“uberization,”mystudentswerepreparingfortheirfuturemembershipinthe“newdangerousclass”oftheprecariat(Standing)

      But thinking about Erin's argument, are they not training, by collaborating on an open platform, to resist the Uberization model, where laborers are atomized and casualized and discouraged from associating together?

    3. Whatevertheirdisciplinarytraining,however,precarityintermsoflabor,debt,climatechange,citizenshiphasnowbecomethe“stateofexception”(Agamben)forstudents

      Completely agree with the political frame around the pedagogical question of assignment structure, but I don't follow the relevance of Agamben here: what's "exceptional" about "precarity"?

    4. Inotherwords,ifwethinkofeverystudentessayasaritualofmembership,weneedtoconsiderthekindofcommunityimaginedbythethreetofivepageessayandthepriceofthismembership.

      I would add that the printed essay is basically a memo written for one's "boss" rather than a publication broadcast to a readership. When students "publish," even just to peers, they own their intellectual work in a different way via sharing it.

    5. threetofive(orten)page“typed,”doublespacedessay

      Amen, brutha! I love the "typed."

    6. other,“scholarly”Scalarpagesbeforet

      I love this focus on history of the material text to temper the technoutopian sense that we're now "doing things yet unattempted in prose or rhyme" when we should be historicizing new tech.

    7. studentspracticedadeepformofactivereading,repeatedlygaugingandexplainingtotheirpeerstherelevanceofparticulararticlestogrouptopicsandquestions

      I'm curious for more detail re: assignment design here. What did you do to guide this "deep" practice and keep it focused, especially for Ss not familiar with literary research?

    8. usedgroupbasedgoogledocs

      Man, this is a useful object lesson in why the scrappy .orgs and .edus in Erin's argument have such an uphill struggle! I'm not being sanctimonious: I use these platforms too every single term!

    9. cognitivecapitalism

      Not familiar with this term: gloss?

    10. studentseagerlyembracedtheopportunitytoescapetheusualmediumforrepresentingstudentlearning

      Selfishly, since my paper bitches about traditional litcrit pedagogy, I'm curious what the terms of their eagerness were...

    11. takeKennethBurke’sfamousdictumthatliterature“betreatedasequipmentforliving”asseriouslyaspossible

      I never realized how much Burke makes literature sound like an iOS app until I read this sentence. But he also said he thought a literature's value was "in keeping a society becoming too assertively, too hopelessly, itself." I'm interested to trace how the novel and your collective reading it/writing on it constitutes a kind of counter-engineering...

    1. But if the point of these technologies is to prepare students to critically understand and act in our digitally-mediated world, then it seems that it is also our duty

      Thanks, Erin: this is great stuff. As a closing point, I'm struck by the short-sighted fetish of comp sci in the academy and "teach yourself to code" in the culture more broadly. I think it's the role of DHers to put the brakes on everyone running for the "learn to code" bandwagon and refocus attention, as you do here, on the more critical and humanistic side of computing, the need to foster collaboration, self-determination, and autonomy.

    2. Social Paper never achieved this utopian visio

      Though it is integrated into the Commons, which is running a pilot this spring to incentivize instructors to use the Commons (with Social Paper and other open tools) as an LMS. So there's some diffusion going on here: maybe it's part of an archipelago of tiny utopias!

    3. nfortunately these models have been largelyignored in the technological practices of higher education, thus directingtheuniversity’s technical, infrastructural, and social capitalto directlysupportcapitalist digital media companies’s broader monopoly on our technologicalimagination andthe globalproduction of digital tools, platforms, and services.

      Not to be all Pollyanna, but I'm struck by the handful of remarkable successes out there: Wikipedia whupped Encarta (or whatever), WordPress whupped Blogger. And HTML, in the most dramatic example, conquered AOL in the early 90s. None of these successes were inevitable, all struggled with the same challenges of building user bases of folks willing to put up with less slick UI/UX to build them up. How/why did they succeed, and what do these successes have to offer us? I should also mention hypothes.is as a scrappy and so far successful story...

    4. the “invisible discipline,”

      Nice phrase. If it's not the name of a Bushwick-based postpunk outfit, it should be.

    5. And without mass adoption (which is somewhat a result of these limited resources), they are unable to offer interactive access to a networked population, arguably one of the most valuable “features” of social platforms with massive user bases

      Here, the academia.edu v. the various open commonses in the academy comes to mind. At CUNY, where we have an unbelievable commons, I guarantee more faculty have academia.edu profiles than profiles in our scholarly commons!

    6. a genuine, popular, and sustainable alternative to capitalist digital media

      Your argument reminds me that nonprofit/open resources have such a uphill battle in ways that are analogous to or really isomorphic with co-ops more broadly in late capitalism: for every Park Slope Food Co-op that thrives next door to Whole Foods/Amazon (for now, at least!), there are innumerable scrappy, idealistic small-scale outfits that lose: it's hard to convince folks to pay the tax, so to speak, of $$ and convenience to work within the nonprofit structure's limitations.

    7. The Free Software Foundation, The Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Internet Defense League, Fight for the Future, Platform Coop, and Unlike Us

      Can we get some links here? I know some of these players but not others.

    8. rogressive, collaborative, student-centered, and publicly-engaged learning in the classroom (Kai-Wai & Kennedy 2013) as critical alternatives to institutional technologies that are often driven by management imperatives rather than educational principles (Stommel 2017; Watters 2014)

      I'd like to hear more about the arguments you marshal here: which capitalist tech are counterposed to which ed tech options?

    9. a rejection of capitalist digital tools and the important time-saving, collaborative, and networking affordances they offer, may feel equivalent to professional suicide

      I'm thinking guiltily about my own use of GDrive with students. I do try to embrace open platforms/interfaces whenever possible, but Google is JUST SO GOOD at some things that are really boring and routine but important to workflow.

    10. and the still emerging details of the fake news scandal of the 2016 U.S. election have helped draw public attention to some of these issues, there is still little sign of effective resistance or democratic redirection of these technologies formore fully human aims.

      My Hunter colleague Jessie Daniels has a great piece on how social media has enabled white supremacist organizations: as you suggest, it's not just "not being evil"--it's creating the infrastructure that enables others' evil with nothing but hand-wringing and -washing as a response.

  3. Oct 2017
    1. Build OERs with your students. Though students may be beginners with most of the content in your course, they are often more adept than you at understanding what beginning students need in order to understand the material.

      Very happy to see this utopian dimension that comes from the #digped side. At my institution, discussions from admin side tend to focus on the $$ savings issue in isolation; therefore, it becomes limited to simply replacing the $100 ECON text with "free" (read: created with fac labor) replacements and often embedded in closed LMSs.

    2. How will they afford childcare on top of tuition fees? How will they focus on their homework if they haven’t had a square meal in two days or if they don’t know where they will be sleeping that night? How will their families pay rent if they cut back their work hours in order to attend classes? How much more student loan debt will they take on for each additional semester it takes to complete all of their required classes? How will they obtain the credit card they need to purchase an access code? How will they regularly access their free open textbook if they don’t own an expensive laptop or tablet?

      This is a crucial point for those of us, like me, who teach outside of elite SLACs and private Us. A CUNY colleague of mine, librarian Maura Smale, has done amazing ethnographic work on "student taskscapes"--the way students' education is lived. What stands out so powerfully is the "last mile" problem y'all eloquently speak to here: time and $$ budgets required to find paper, printers, tablets, electricity, free time, a couple ft. sq. of space, and so on. Forget about a room of one's own: a corner to squat in, 50 pp of copying @ $0.05 per, and enough Luna bars to get through the day.

  4. Nov 2016
    1. The excitement of and capitalization upon names and naming is for Stein no longer a matter of grammar, sentences, paragraphs, or prose, but of poetry.

      Introduction of poetry to argument about sentences, paragraphs, and grammar comes out of left field here!

    2. “Diagraming sentences” turns out not to be a case of what “I” do, but itself the subject and object of a “doing” of which “I” am the incidental product.

      See my above comment: nice summary of the aporetic nature of grammar.

    3. This “edge” of grammar, this “forgetting” of grammar, and this “difference” of “repeat and duplicate” form the beginning of a thought about the ways in which grammar may not quite “meet” or “arrive at” itself, and about the “why” of “making,” about the “thinking” that attends this nonidentity to itself of grammar. What does grammar—the reserve of a writing understood to “make” things like “emotion,” “paragraphs,” and incidentally “me”—itself hold in “reserve”?

      Fascinating and rich. The simplest implication here is that HTW poses the problem of where "the subject" is located: in the I that speaks grammar, or in the grammar that makes it possible to construct a speaking I?

    4. paradoxical nature of this “reserve” of exemplary value in Stein?

      This, too, is really opaque (speaking of opacity). I take it that Lezra's point is that a) economics and psychoanalysis co-evolve in Stein's era around analogous structures; b) that Stein tries to ground her move from singularity to example in a similar structure.

    5. The concurrent aesthetico-political debate over the legacies of early modernism cannot be separated from these broader crises in the conceptualization of the value-form

      Cool move. Stein's (and many others') engagement of the value of words, the way signifiers are exchanged for signifieds, is implicated with economic decoupling of value from the "mystical constant" of gold etc. in the interwar period.

    6. four aspects of the imbrication

      Tough sledding here. Roughly:

      1. HOW TO WRITE implicated in "self-legitimation" to broader audience
      2. passage from sentences to paragraphs tied to passage from singularity to exemplarity, to Stein being an example of a way to [write, speak, be, be read] rather than sui generis.
      3. HOW TO WRITE part of temporality in which earlier works are retroactively made precursors to later works (ex: making of MAKING OF AMERICANS)
      4. Stein's reading of Stein helps the "perfective" become "the infinitive"
    7. paragraphs and sentences—roughly aligned, as she describes it, with the affective difference between the emotional and the nonemotional, between the natural and the nonnatural.

      Useful analysis of the initially confusing distinction Stein makes: grammar aligned with "affective and organic states."

    8. self-commodification

      Useful biographical context: HOW TO WRITE appears amid shift towards Stein's celebrity and outreach to lay readers. Hesitancy between "unruled reception" (lovely phrase) and construction of onramps to broaden access.

    9. The apposition permits a desperately interrogative tone to emerge—“How to read? How to write?”—quite at odds with the forthright sense of Stein’s title and of my own today, if rather more faithful to most readers’ experience of Stein’s work of the period.

      Somewhat Steinian exploitation of ambiguity in syntax here. How to read how to write can be read two ways, depending on syntax.

    1. Whether it’s penciling notes in the margins of a beloved novel,

      "Penciling"? What's a pencil!?

  5. Oct 2016
    1. makesitgodead

      What makes it go dead? Recognition? As "beauty"?

    2. became

      everyone became consciously aware WWI as singular event for distributing the agreement in "composition," of recognizing the work of the "outlaw."

    3. andromanticism

      One of the most puzzling moments: romanticism is linked with 1914 and with a widespread linkage of sameness and difference. Is the idea that romanticism, as the first "modernism" in language, normalizes the idea of a break, of discontinuity in search of continuity?

    4. usingeverything.

      Three principles of "composition": continuous present, beginning again and again, using everything. Unpack this for students.

    5. writingasitismade

      Introduction of Stein's "continuous present," the idea of creating a rich, contingent space for the writer in the act of writing and the reader in the act of reading, a temporality that abolishes the neat past/present/future triad of traditional narrative.

    6. goingtobethereandwearehere

      Another motif that recurs throughout: composition creates a distance in space and time. We are here and its is "going to be there," appearing to us from a distance.

    7. eginningagainandagain

      First occurrence of this motif: central principle of composition is repetition, is "beginning again," a phrase which Stein evidently loves for its poetic qualities as much as its investment in creating loops of time.

    8. athingacceptedbecomesaclassic

      Side note: Stein's argument here is extremely close to that of Eliot's in his 1919 "Tradition and the Individual Talent," though Eliot is advocating for the "classic" rather than the newness of the new.

    9. isanoutlawuntilheisaclassic

      Temporality of "composition": the experimental artist disrupts and then is integrated into history as a "classic." Stein jokes (seriously) that "there is almost not an interval" between these two moments, that we forget that (for example) Picasso was an "outlaw" once he has become "classic" and "beautiful." It's certainly the case that a tour through MoMA is rich in examples!

    10. time-sense.

      New term. The discussion of war leads to the discussion of "composition" with "time-sense," temporality, the idea of the new art as making a break in time.

    11. thewar

      Beginning of a set of riffs on WWI narrowly and war more broadly: war as that which makes a break, produces difference. To this extent, modernism is deeply implicated with WWI and (perhaps) with war in general.

    12. makesacomposition,itconfuses,itshows,itis,itlooks,itlikesitasitis,andthismakeswhatisseenasitisseen

      Stein emphasizes that "ways of looking" change, and the list of verbs emphasize the power of the "composition" to derange looking and make us see "the same thing" anew in ways that "make a difference."

    13. BythisImeansosimplythatanybodyknowsitthatcompositionisthedifferencewhichmakeseachandallofthemthendifferentfromothergenerationsandthisiswhatmakeseverythingdifferentotherwisetheyareallalikeandeverybodyknowsitbecauseeverybodysaysit

      This word "composition" will be THE keyword in the piece. Note how much S freights "composition" with here: a) it inserts a wedge between generations (i.e., each generation has its own "composition" that is authentically "new"); b) it's something that only those who "know it" perceive, thus internally splitting a generation between those who are down with its "composition" and those who lag.



    1. This word "composition" will be THE keyword in the piece. Note how much S freights "composition" with here: a) it inserts a wedge between generations (i.e., each generation has its own "composition" that is authentically "new"); b) it's something that only those who "know it" perceive, thus internally splitting a generation between those who are down with its "composition" and those who lag.

  6. May 2016
    1. Indeed, in Barthesian terms West constructs a writerly album by utilizing the advent of Web 2.0. TLOP is/was made through the simultaneous collapse of the record-industry model and the creation of Web 2.0. Although it’s more than probable that both of these events contain a causality rather than a slight correlation, the heavens aligned and opened up before West, as one could only undergo such a creative undertaking in a world where “content is king.”

      I like this provocative connection but wonder what Barthes would do with the way "celebrity" is wrapped up in Kanye's album (and career). To my eyes, Barthes's leftism is invested in a Literature that is demystified by dissolving the "author-function" into a shared ambience of reading-writing. It's certainly true that Kanye's work invites his fans in as "writers" in a sense (twitter, Genius, etc.) via Web 2.0 tech, but all this "writing back" also aggrandizes and inflates Kanye's own image (and lines his pockets). I don't say this by way of censure--to me Kanye is like Warhol in this dimension, and he's damn near as clever about it--but by way of distinguishing between two very different charges assigned to the "writerly" mode.

    1. Following the Orion reference, "the boatman" is stated outright this time alluding to Charon, the ferryman of Hades who carries souls along Styx. This directly references the sea that the hunter is trapped on: the division between the world of the living and the world of the dead. This also serves as a potential reference to where Kafka acquired the idea for the appearance of the hunter windows would be shut, they would all lie in bed, with sheets thrown over their heads Max Brod, one of Kafka's closest friends and his literary executor who defied Kafka's wishes and published his work rather than burn it studied religions and might've been familiar with the pagan tradition of covering the face of the deceased to prevent the spirit from leaving the body to be a ghost for all eternity. Kafka might've lifted this idea to show how afraid the citizens of Riva would be if the hunter, a wandering spirit, would ask for help. Go back to the page The thought of wanting to help me is a sickness and has to be cured with bed rest. Rest cures were a very common way of treating sicknesses at the time this was written. Kafka at the time of writing this story was just diagnosed with tuberculosis and was going through the preliminary stages of seeking treatment. He would then be subject to rest cures for the years to follow up until the completion of this story in 1922. The fact that this is written at the end could match the timeline and Kafka's failing health even with the rest cures (with his death only two years later). Go back to the page I have lived for centuries. The hunter is now trying to solidify his place among biblical figures - a claim almost equating to himself as someone without sin for living an extremely long life. Biblical scholars have for years equated declining longevity in the bible to the introduction and practice of sin. Go back to the page And now are you intending to remain with us in Riva? "Remain in me, and I will remain in you" (John 15:4). Go back to the page it journeys with the wind which blows in the deepest regions of death. A typical end to Kafka's work. The ending is full of lament, anguish and anxiety. There is no end to the hunter who is to forever remain in purgatory - but aren't the people of Riva living in their own form of purgatory as the cycle of their mundane lives repeat? The accident of the hunter's fall deals less with death but the inability to die. Kafka's life closing soon in a very depressing fashion could lead him to believe that life itself is the true accident of existence. Go back to the page

      missing a "back to the page" link

    2. Julia, th

      annotation missing?

    3. beir


    4. it being a

      its being a

    5. it's

      Its, not it's

    1. by clarifying that Hermione Granger’s skin tone had never once been mentioned.

      Interesting. This comment reveals how fans, as well as authors, can also be driven by unconscious biases.

    2. Just as one can become more of a writer through reading, it seems that an annotation can also become a Text through ceaseless annotations upon it, and an annotator can thus also become an author.

      Again, fabulous transition that pushes the argument in a new direction without losing the prior thread.

    3. the potential to become a form of entertainment,

      Cool. You make me think about temporality here, too: we think of novels as existing somewhat out of time, but these practices (not to mention the midnight vigils to buy new of HP novels) create an intense simultaneity for readers that makes them more like TV or film.

    4. there is a total number of 78,787 and 95,683 listed Harry Potter related works respectively.

      This archive begs for "distant reading" modes: how does this body of writing compare to the "original" texts?

    5. though Rowling confirmed his homosexuality in interviews and on Twitter, many fans feel that the paratextual confirmation of Dumbledore’s sexuality is a cop-out.

      This is a funny idea, no? Does Rowling know Dumbledore's sexuality better than her readers do? Who controls the authority of textual interpretations? You also might consider the rather aggressive role played by readers who want to prescribe X or Y depictions of sexuality here: do you see a problem with stipulating how "out" a character is in a text?

    6. Fan fiction is effectively marginalia, annotations on an original source text that has gained a life and autonomy of its own. I

      Lovely connection, and rhetorically speaking, a fabulous transition.

    7. Milton’s Paradise Lost, for example, could be read as fan fiction of the Bible.

      This is WONDERFUL: hilarious and true.

    8. something that is inherently natural

      See above on "naturalizing."

    9. the traditional roles of author and reader.

      Avoid naturalizing print as the "traditional" here, since you're making very broad arguments encompassing oral-print-digital: it seems that your point is that "tradition" is evolving in ways that hearken back to pre-print tradition!

    1. Barthes, Roland. “The Death of the Author.” Image-Music-Text. Trans. Stephen Heath. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1977.

      I would include MYTHOLOGIES rather than this later text, which is more illustrative of poststructuralism: Barthes is a convenient pivot-point between pre-late 60s structuralism and poststructuralism, since he's central to both periods.

    1. This startling discovery confirms the idea that the repetition in the text is not completely random. Making the same discovery would have been difficult through close reading, since the text is replete with many shorter repetitions, and impossible through more straightforward string searches without preknowledge of its existence.

      Here the argument gets really weird but/and interesting: Stein has written a text that only computers can read? Stein writes like a computer? Computers can write like Stein? I don't want to get too delirious here, like the "dreamy" bit from Voss and Werner above, especially since Clement's central point is that computing power is a tool in service of making meaning. But the example of Stein, whom many readers have found unreadable (for better and for worse) does push one's thinking in this direction.

    2. Ultimately, these analytics and visualizations help us generate new knowledge by facilitating new readings of the text and by affording a self-reflective stance for comparisons, a perspective from which we can begin to ask why we as close readers have found some patterns and yet left others undiscovered.

      Like Jeremy, I find this a weak broth. Quantifying approaches risk doing what social scientific disciplines sometimes end up doing: confirming what we already know with more data.

    3. While it is not within the purview of this discussion to debate whether the categorical systems that structure the archive are any less structured than the database, the notion that we are constantly met with interfaces (such as the card catalog) that reflect real structures with real people (with all of their quirks and fallibilities and imaginative wonderfulness) in real institutions reminds us how material and constructed (how situated) is the context in which the reader accesses and analyzes cultural content with text analysis, data mining, and visualization methodologies.

      Consistent reminder that analog cultural tech is still tech: that the card catalog or magnifying glass is as technological as the database or search tool.

    4. that depend on differential (close and distant, subjective and objective) reading practices, technologies of self-reflection and collaboration, and the value of plausibility, all of which have always been crucial to literary inquiry.

      So it's not just "distant" reading; rather, it's using computing to pose and answer a wide range of questions, some of which may be quite traditional.

  7. Apr 2016
    1. All parts of the process—from creating quantified information to producing visualizations—are acts of interpretation.

      Crucial point to make at the outset: dataviz is aesthetic and value-laden, not "objective" (whatever that means).

    1. Here and throughout, you do a wonderful job of filling in the empty space around the "handsome" depiction of Budd. You really demonstrate how the game opens up imaginative possibilities of reading Melville in a "writerly" way a la Barthes.

    1. Many of my critics have thought: Clag sticky in English but a more convincing one, Anklaegar accuser in Greek (which alludes to Satan meaning accuser and adversary in Hebrew). I may have drawn inspiration from Paradise Lost. Being foreign, neither English nor Latin in origin of his name, is what makes this character stand out as was the accuser foreign and sudden, with no background, from the garden. Perhaps this was my intention or perhaps not but alas, I cannot remember for I am old in my days. Maybe if my characters could just speak to and remind me… Related

      This fanciful riff nicely captures the creative process and I love the joke about wishing his characters could speak to him, which is quite possible in this game.

    1. ….not. I think our Handsome Sailor is setting up a mutiny, why else would he be so nice? The way he charms all my men on the ship, the way he acts so “sweet” and inn-nnn-nn-o-ccc-eeennnt. I think he’s up to no good. I heard stories, about what happened with that man Delano and the slaves revolting against that poor Cereno lad.*  He thought that soup incident was so funny. Wait till he thinks how funny he is when he walks the plank.

      Exemplary instance of using the gameplay to explore off-kilter, unusual angles on the plot. Here you channel B. Johnson a bit and explore the possibility that Claggart is sincere and Billy devious: I love it.

    2. I love this crossing of the streams. And many critics note parallels between BB and BC in terms of the questions of vision, blindness, and justice.

    1. ****”You just couldn’t let me go, could you? This is what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.” The Dark Knight, Dir. Christopher Nolan. I chose to reference this quote because like Batman and the Joker, Billy and Claggart are forces that (by virtue of being opposite) are by nature destined to clash. In the context of this quote, the Joker is the “unstoppable force” (signifying “evil” like Claggart), Batman being the “immovable object” (signifying “good” like Billy). In that sense, Claggart is the unstoppable force, in which he eventually provokes violence against Billy the immovable object, leading to Claggart’s demise. Related

      I'm fascinated that both you and Jeannine have referenced comic books (she mentioned DEADPOOL) with regard to the text. There must be something about the play of the game that is comic-like, no?

    1. One of the most interesting moments for me in the Dansker’s narrative is when he cries this utterance, and I was desperate to find the different connotations of the phrase. I really like the idea that Dansker couldn’t quite verbalise what he was saying to Billy, that his language is so caught up in the nautical (cat’s-paw is also a knot often used in maritime settings), that he can’t quite breach into the wider English language. Related

      Nice reading: exemplary instance of linking a creative performance to a more cerebral "close reading" in the same move. And I love that the "cat's paw" is a knot that is associatively linked with the knot in BENITO CERENO: I hadn't noticed that detail before.

    1. With each wax and wane of the sun and sky the tension builds. I’m not the only one on the ship to notice it, and neither am I the only one to ignore it. But these young ones, these children – babies! They don’t ignore because they know the world like I do. They ignore the problem to save their wet hides, like a stowaway among the onions.

      I love the voice you create here for the D-man. I also am really excited by the back-and-forth that your group has invested in around this move.

    1. How I long for the days with Nelson, when the most thinkin’ I’d do would be in combat; when this scar on my face meant something more than “This old timer stood for something once”.

      I love how much interpretation you fit into this move: the idea that the Dansker is very lively and verbose on the inside, the comparison between Nelson and Vere.

    1. Love the use of the strikethrough to capture things thought "under erasure": nice use of the blogging medium to do things that are not customary in print.

    1. ideo gameplay (and this was especially true in an arcade of the 1980s) is necessarily a hybrid experience, bodily as well as mental.

      This is the thesis, in brief. And it's useful: we should dispense with words like "disembodied," which occlude our understanding of the ways our bodies inhabit virtual spaces via real interfaces in material ways.

    2. MacDonald’s

      I love that academics don't even know how to spell McDonald's.

    3. From a different perspective, McGann and Johanna Drucker’s Ivanhoe project is a practical experi-ment developed to use dynamic digital simula-tions in a gamelike environment to explore the ongoing reception histories of literary works (see Rockwell). I

      Yay! #ivanhoe

    4. He advocates a “quantum poetics” in which texts are seen not as “discrete phenomena” but as non-self-identical events that include the position and engagement of the scholar (Radiant Textuality228–31)

      Cool extension of the good/old model of Iser: not only is a new text produced by each reader/reading, but neither reader nor text is a stable unit outside of the encounter of reader/text. Similarly, in the above reference to Hayles, one can't isolate the cultural forms of Web 2.0 media from the subjectivities that experience them, since the two sides constitute each other anew, constantly.

    5. The author’s avatar visiting an educational site in Second Life

      I don't know why I find this so hilarious. Can someone tell me?! Nominees for thought bubble addition to scene?

    6. Flying avatars are fun, as I’d be the first to admit. But the overall experience of Second Lifeduring any given session is much less totally immersive, self-contained, and disembodied than the uninitiated might have been led to be-lieve.

      What did we once think the future would look like? How does the future look now? Why is the fantasy of "disembodiment" in virtual reality naive? How does the author describe the interface between one's body and the visual phenomena onscreen in 2ndLife?

  8. Mar 2016
    1. Players will be rewarded to the degree that their critical interpretations have been made explicit within an interactive community of other players through the creation of well-documented commentary on their individual contributions, and critical assessment of other players' work.

      This claim makes me realize how game-like, in a way, the marginal space of hypothes.is is: the gratification of sharing ideas with peers or being praised or replied to or disagreed with, etc.

    2. Because we all bring that world with us into the classroom as (so to speak) the cultural air we breathe, New Critical models of instruction now regularly specialize and restrict both the materials and the arena of that general education the Humanities educator has always so carefully cherished. Because the Humanities have never been about specialization but about the training and education of broadly informed citizens, we are being called to imagine new instructional methods and procedures. IVANHOE is being developed to help answer that call.

      Strong claim to the broader significance of the game, its implications for thinking about how the humanities is changing (or should change) in the 21st C.

    3. Interpreters are expected to keep a journal in which their interpretive moves are justified and explained in relation to the originary work and/or the moves made by the other agents.

      Great design feature: as a litcrit professor, very important to keep the reflective aspect front and center even as we're immersed in the play. For similar reasons, Brecht thought that theater-goers should smoke cigars, like boxing fans, since the smoking created some distance from the "game" and hence space for critical reflection rather than mere absorption.

    4. Performative interpretations of all kinds—translation, for example—have much in common with IVANHOE.

      Obvious links to the way recording a novel underscores its status as a "score," a means of generating performances, and with Barthes's musical metaphor for "playing" a text.

    5. the most important of which was the idea that the game would have to be played "in" a role, or en masque, under an explicitly assumed conceit of identity.

      I'll be curious to see what you students think, but I think the WordPress plugin would be cooler if each user could play any role in any move.

    6. We took that avoidance as a sign of a poverty of criticism, which goes broke by following a Gold Standard of value. IVANHOE would encourage, instead, as much circulation and exchange as possible.

      I like this. To take a "lame" or "out of fashion" text and make it cool again by reading/playing it in a radically new way. In one of his essays, Benjamin talks about the "revolutionary energies of the outmoded," and this game would seem a way of generating such energies.

    7. concept of criticism as "a doing,"

      Doing things with novels: get it, folks? There is nothing new under the sun.

    8. For example, when many Victorian readers complained about Scott's decision to marry Ivanhoe to Rowena and not Rebecca, they were clearly responding to one of the book's underdeveloped possibilities

      Useful link to fanfiction in our own moment and of a piece with Rubery's analysis on one hand and Barthes's on the other, allowing for a "readerly" approach that "rewrites" the text with each reading.

    1. divergent thinking is similar to the concept of emergent play, a kind of play game designers hope to promote. Emergent play refers to the way creative and unpredictable gameplay emerges from a set of rules. Similarly, playful pedagogy uses rules as constraints that foster creativity, rather than stifle it

      The concept of the "liquid text" moves in this direction, as well as Barthes idea of the "play" within the text (like a door loose on its hinges).

      Here's a divergent game.

    2. Course objectives, learning assessments, grading rubrics, and so on. When it comes to the element of rules, learning is not so much the opposite of play as it is zombie play, a jerky, lurching automatic response devoid of vision, passion, and awareness

      "Zombie play": I love it. And as the parent of a Pre-K and 1st grader in the era of Common Core + high-stakes testing, it's amazing how accurate this account is, even for the youngest students.

      Here's a zombie game.

    3. Ambiguity over Certainty. As anyone who has played Euchre knows, once the outcome of a hand of cards is certain, the round is over, even if cards remain to be played. Certainty is the enemy of play, while ambiguity sustains it.

      Again, a keyword from literary aesthetics--ambiguity--creeps in the back door.

    4. Play abounds with mistakes, failures, and most importantly, second chances. Every “Game Over” is also the start of a new game.

      Yay failure! Losers of the world unite; you have nothing to lose but your games!!

    5. play is defined by six key elements: play is voluntary, separate from other aspects of life, uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, and simultaneously more or less dependent upon make-believe (9-10)

      I'm not the first to observe this, but "play" in this account sounds exactly like the "aesthetic" in Immanuel Kant's philosophy.

    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. 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.

    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. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. 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.

    6. oued

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

    7. 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.

  9. www.jstor.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu www.jstor.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu
    1. 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.

    2. 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.

    3. 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.

    4. 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.

    5. the Palm Pilot.

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

    6. 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.

    7. 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).

    8. 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.

  10. Feb 2016
    1. What’s striking about annotation at the present time is how ubiquitous it is—indeed it is so common that it is almost becoming invisible.

      Reminds me of Liu's point about Web 2.0's dissemination of the author-function, or the way it dissolves the distinction between authors and readers (while keeping coders as a remarkably distinct/powerful/scarce function).

    1. the affordance isn’t sociality itself but, as noted above, the speed and scale at which it can be practiced

      Great point and in line with the drift of our course: X cultural technology is not radically new but instantiates a thought-provoking contrast/comparsions with past technologies and practices.

    2. collaborative annotation platforms offer teachers a tool for democratic practice. When teaching literature, such practice might involve encouraging students to "talk back" to a canonical author in the margins of the author’s work, or inviting them to engage in conversation there as equals with their professor and classmates

      Schacht might lean harder on this, since "democratic practice" is (ironically) very far from the norm for traditional assignments, with the closed loop of student==>professor==>student and the regime of grades.

    1. The ergonomics of reading warrant attention since modern audiences seldom think of reading novels as work—at least not to the same degree as an audience for whom books entailed manual as much as mental labor

      I want to push back here, since I think the difficulty of reading books is still a strong element in culture. Maybe not in such ergonomic terms, but we still think of TV and surfing the web as "easy" or "light" in comparison to "heavy reading" or "serious reading."

    2. What stands out nevertheless is how one-sided the conversations are in favor of recorded books; rarely does one find a defense of printed books, as one finds so readily among the next century’s defenses of the tactile pleasures of holding a material object in one’s hands. Nostalgia for the book required a more pressing threat than the tinfoil phonograph.

      Interesting point: no discussion of the "decline of reading" or "death of the novel" at this juncture.

    3. The phonograph at home reading out a novel.

      Note that Mom is actually texting under the table while pretending to do needlepoint.

    4. To put it another way: silently reading Cicero is no less of a compromise than reading aloud Eliot, Dickens, and Thackeray. This did not prevent the orator from being read in print, of course. The second book printed on Gutenberg’s press was Cicero’s De Officiis.

      Great point. Not to mention Homer!

    5. Cellar full of bottled music.

      Amazing illustration: good find! But who are all those people? Are those the names of important public figures now lost to memory (or my memory, at least)? Funny to think that our podcast queues are basically exactly what this image images.

    6. This essay accounts for the book’s premature obituary through its attention, first, to the initial responses to the phonograph as a potential rival to the printed book, and, second, to a series of hypothetical reading machines proposed by Edward Bellamy, Octave Uzanne, Albert Robida, and others writing at the end of the nineteenth century. As we will see, the questions about the book’s future that were raised by these writers in response to the new media of their time have once again become pressing questions in our own time.

      This is a really clever rhetorical move by the author: the anxious discussion about the book in the l.19thC yields surprising echoes of (and valuable perspective on) the kinds of arguments that we read in the "Dickens Four Ways" piece.

    1. The perfume of old paper filled the air.

      See, look how horribly distracting reading in print is! She hasn't even read the first sentence, and she's all lost in a Proustian haze about the smell of the binding...

    2. Little Dorrit was an accidental choice, but I could hardly have done better. Its length, multiple story lines, 19th-century allusions, and teeming cast of characters helped me to test the functionality of different formats. Beyond the artifice of my reading experiment, though, please don't think that technology compromised my ability to appreciate this beloved novel, written in 1857 at the height of Dickens's power and popularity. Just the opposite.

      I would add that it's in the public domain, which is a real magnet for my e-reading. I almost always want to buy a new-ish book in print if I think it's any good, but the $0.00 price of classics makes them perfect for throwing on the e-reader for me, especially if it's not "serious" (read: teaching/research) reading for me.

    1. The distinction between professional and amateur readers brings us

      to the second reason that digital audio technology has the potential

      to change the way we think about reading practices.

      Strong contrast between a-book and other forms of media: I would argue that it's much easier for yahoos like us to compete with professional voice actors than with professional musicians, not to say professional directors/actors/editors in cinema! Isn't there something inherently democratic about reading/listening?

    2. It should be said that a ‘talking article’ may have been the most effective way to make the case for digital audio presented here.

      Whoa there, Matt. I'd rather shoot myself than read 99% of academic articles in an a-book format, even ones written as lucidly as this one. Nor would I like to take in most experimental work in this fashion: I agree with the drift of the article that there's something about the Victorian period's comfort with oralization that makes it a good fit for the a-book.

    3. Only by vocalising these expressions through the practice of reading aloud are we assured of appreciating how central voice is as a source of meaning in the Victorian novel.

      Productive force of reading aloud: it doesn't merely produce a new version, it feeds back into one's reading of the printed text.

    4. In 2004, for instance, the BBC became the first British broadcaster to make its radio programmes available to the public for free download via digital formats. The radio has been of profound importance overthe last century in sustaining a listening culture, though it is only with the advent of digital playback that this content can now reach audiences beyond its fixed time slots.

      Very subtle comparison of different technologies, reading/listening practices, and historical moments here. With almost 10 years of retrospect on this argument, we can see how prescient Rubery is, especially thinking about the success of podcasts like SERIAL, which are almost novel-like in their extensiveness, long narrative arcs, and serial installments.

    5. To take an extreme case,

      Tolstoy’s War and Peace requires 45 cassettes when spoken by Walter

      Zimmerman (1982) or 50 compact discs when told by Neville Jason

      (2006). These cumbersome formats showed little improvement over

      Edison’s wax cylinders in terms of convenience – it may be easier to

      bring back the live orator in such cases than to swap discs that many


      This reminds me of listening to the unabridged version of Tolkein's The Hobbit in the back of the family station wagon in the early 80s! It was an awful lot of cassettes...

    6. members.16 If there is a

      sense in which no one ever reads a Dickens plot for the first time, it

      is because that story has been heard to some extent before it has been

      read. A Christmas Carol is only the most obvious example of such a twice- heard tale.

      Wow: this comment takes us all the way back to the traditional storytelling mode that Benjamin contrasts with the printed novel (as we'll see next week). For Benjamin, traditional storytelling has little use for the idea of originality or authorship and hence locates both teller and hearer as reversible positions: one listens closely, because one might be a teller next. With Victorian lit, Dickens is still Dickens when he's oralized; nonetheless, the text has something of a "twice told" and unoriginal aspect in this format.

    7. To put it another way, there was a vast readership that would

      have heard rather than read these narratives. Although this may be the

      era during which Great Britain became a ‘reading nation’, we should

      not forget the extent to which it remains a ‘listening nation’ to this very


      Link to the piece by Berube et al. on "community reading": in both cases, the authors want to push us readers to question our assumptions about the "right" or "normal" or "proper" way to read, uh, I mean experience literature.

    8. My intent will

      be to trace a number of continuities between today’s reading practices

      and the presumably outdated forms of reading aloud favoured by

      the Victorians. As the title of this piece indicates, one unexpected

      consequence of the new digital audio has been to bring back old

      ways of reading, specifically the practice of reading aloud associated

      in the popular imagination with the Victorian family.

      Rubery emphasizes usefully the rhythm of continuity and difference along two axes: a) the relationship between past auralizations of Dickens and present ones and b) the relationship between Dickens's work as printed object and as oral performance.

    9. Ahem.

      I love the cheekiness of this opening for the way it calls attention to throatclearing, an element of spoken discourse that infiltrates into this written document.

  11. www.mlajournals.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu www.mlajournals.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu
    1. In answer to Where is this going? we might not arrive at a coherent interpretation of the book or at a satisfying work of creative imagination, but we might come to trust our capacity to express a viewpoint or opinion, to support or contest a divergent opinion, to en-gage in disagreement without rancor or sus-picion, to work with others toward a common goal, even if that goal appears, for the time being, beyond our capacities. If this is all that comes from community reading and writing, it might be more than enough

      I want to hear more about the tech side of things here. Is the face to face interaction of the Whitehead event and the writing/reading at the nursing home the "special sauce" here? What about the virtual communities that grow up around literature in spaces like Twitter, Facebook, and (well) hypothes.is?

    2. The pleasures of literature arise largely from its capacity to introduce us to things unforeseen: experiences alien to our own and surprising plot twists. Encouraging trust in acts of imag-ination untethered from predictability and precedent, reading literature fosters the imag-ining of unprecedented social arrangements as well, opening limiting social imperatives to the horizon of inventive possibility.

      I'm curious about what the authors think about genre: are all genres and modes good at this, or is this fundamentally an argument about the novel?

    3. What's the boundary between the "literary" mode of civility and the boisterous modes of exchange that happen elsewhere on the web (say, among Trump and his legions of Twitter followers)? The norms of the rational public sphere here seem like something that is often honored in the breech.

    4. Yet reading was not always so solitary...

      Reminiscent of Liu's discussion of the interrelation of the margins of the text and the margins of society.

    5. Reading for pleasure, Griswold notes, has been “very rare and very recent,” since it is typically associated with “education and with urban social elites.”

      I'm reminded of Ian Watt's moving account of how difficult it was to read the novel for non-elite readers in the 18thC, the cost in terms of desperately needed sleep, candles, lamp oil, books themselves, and the opportunity cost of other, free forms of entertainment.

    6. They became, in other words, a community of readers (and, to the degree that interpretation is also an act of creative reshaping, a community of writers). To gauge by the complexity of their questions and their response to Whitehead, they were a community that found The Intuitionist de-lightful and instructive.

      Note the implicit challenge to the inherited model of solitary reading of novels, as in Benjamin's "The Storyteller": the communal setting for the event, and the communal reading leading up to it, renders the novel as a space that convenes everyone as a writer, just as for Benjamin traditional storytelling convenes everyone as a potential teller of the tale.

  12. Jan 2016
    1. Whatever else it might be, then, the digital humanities today is about a scholarship (and a pedagogy) that is publicly visible in ways to which we are generally unaccustomed, a scholarship and pedagogy that are bound up with infrastructure in ways that are deeper and more explicit than we are generally accustomed to, a scholarship and pedagogy that are collaborative and depend on networks of people and that live an active, 24-7 life online. Isn’t that something you want in your English department?

      Gorgeous ending: props to MK for including pedagogy (a missed opportunity in the essay is to discuss how DH elevates the stature of pedagogy, making teaching/scholarship more closely aligned endeavors) and for emphasizing the public-facing aspect of DH, a particularly important facet in a political moment of defunding of education and culture.

    2. Twitter, along with blogs and other online outlets, has inscribed the digital humanities as a network topology, that is to say lines drawn by aggregates of affinities, formally and functionally manifest in who follows whom, who friends whom, who tweets whom, and who links to what. Digital humanities has also, I would propose, lately been galvanized by a group of younger (or not so young) graduate students, faculty members (both tenure line and contingent), and other academic professionals who now wield the label “digital humanities” instrumentally amid an increasingly monstrous institutional terrain defined by declining public support for higher education, rising tuitions, shrinking endowments, the proliferation of distance education and the for-profit university, and underlying it all the conversion of full-time, tenure-track academic labor to a part-time adjunct workforce.

      Astute reading of how the form of Twitter maps onto the densely networked structure of the DH field/movement itself. Might also consider the flipside of the second point, however: the networked culture of DH speaks to the collapse of the academic job market in the humanities, but its also gains some of its high profile from the support from upper-level admins who are chasing the "next big thing."

    1. Historians are only telling half the story when they describe the talking machine as if it were a singing machine

      Edison's invention as proto-dictaphone, not proto-walkman.

    1. Really, there was one game board that all the new decentralizing literary-critical approaches I mention above skewed into a new social geometry by adding what can be generalized as a margin. In various ways, for example, deconstruction, cultural criticism, and the field of the history of the book defined marginal zones of literary activity that renegotiated the roles of literary sociality. Thus Jacques Derrida famously created such marginal interpretive paratexts as the single, running footnote that extends through his essay “Living On / Border Lines.” Cultural and multicultural criticism attends to the writings of marginalized peoples. And the field of the history of the book, as earlier mentioned, studies annotations that are literally in the margin, not to mention such “ephemera” as ballads figuratively marginal to canonical literature.

      Crucial point that has lots of ramifications. Two occur to me with extra force: a) spaces like wikis are especially radical here, since they don't really have a main text or "board" to which comments can be marginal; and b) coupled with the earlier comment about post-68 criticism ("it was all subversion") makes us think that the "board" has been reimagined such that "it was all margins" with no board.

    1. Shades of Ranciere's work on the pedagogue/igoramus relationship.



    1. Now that Nancy’s murder has caught your ear

      Another bit of "phatic" play.



    1. Methodology: challenging issue of how to recover the aural aspects of literature for the present. How many authors saved "prompt copies" from the era before recordings?

    1. Clever opening that calls attention to what theorist Roman Jakobson calls the "phatic" function of language: basically the "channel" that the message is using to convey itself. The glottal "ahem" foregrounds the aural dimension of language and plays with the slippage between writing and speech that is a central concern of the essay.

    1. So, here’s how easy it is to get set up with your own locally hosted WordPress blog with the hypothes.is plugin activated:

      Props for shifting from the political/theoretical argument to "ok: here's how you do it if you're a yahoo like me." The reclamation project needs builders of onramps in the worst way!

  13. May 2015
    1. Dos Passos even makes it a point to debase Margo to her image. Near the end of The Big Money, a companion of Mary French points, during a chance meeting at a party with Margo, the rumor that, “if it’s true… [that] It seems she’s through; it seems that she’s no good for talkingpictures…voice sounds like the croaking of an old crow over the loudspeaker” (Dos Passos 442). While Margo is more than capable to use her sexuality as currency with her numerous beaus, her voice would prove damaging to public opinion. She has a face for the public sphere; the rest of her means nothing. The public, like Charley, value Margo for nothing else but her image.

      For me, at least, this moment describes the way "technological obsolescence" touches even "culture": it's not just craft workers who are put out of work by machines; it's also actors who obsolesce as technologies change.

    2. “Margo Dowling's climb to stardom is an ironic inversion of the American Success Myth. With the narrative cliches of a poor, but golden-haired orphan, a teenage rape and elopement, a dead child, pursuit by a millionaire's son, the period as an airplane magnate's mistress, modeling, and obscurity before discovery, Margo's story conforms to the paradigm of the American Dream. But, as Donald Pizer points out, Margo's Hollywood apotheosis "is achieved not by hard work and good luck but rather by the open exploitation of her sexuality and by her ability at every stage of her rise to achieve an effective level of phoniness. By short-cutting the road to success through the prostitution of body and beliefs, the star devalues original American visions of opportunity and justice and takes her place among "your betrayers America" (BM 437)” (2)

      Format at "block quote" thing.

    3. The Bowery section of New York City was the first to experience this urbane phenomenon:

      Evidence? I would be wary of sweeping claims to "firsts" here.

    1. ,

      Nice: here's the bit on Lippmann and Dewey I was hoping for. I think you identify a real faultline in JDPs thinking, too: on the one hand, like Kenneth Burke and others on the US Left, he wants an "Ivy Lee of the left"; on the other, he wants to preserve a Habermasian idea of a "critical public sphere" in which a wide democratic audience can participate in rational discussion about matters of general importance.

    1. The Big Money isn’t relying on hyperbole, either. The opening pages of Bernay’s Propoganda, a book released in 1928 that explored controlling the public’s collective conscious, suggest the powerful “peaceful” influence public relations possess: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government, which is the true ruling power of our country. ...We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of” (Bernays). And men we have heard of, too.

      Good point. You might cite Hunter's own Stuart Ewen here and mention as well the debates between Walter Lippmann and John Dewey re: the ir/rationality of "the public" which unfolded in the 20s-30s.

    2. Bernay’s


    1. J.W.’s idea that they must “eradicate the prejudice” is based upon the swaying of public opinion back in favor of their product. As discussed in the “A New Need” section, patent medicines were particularly vile to the public. Simple advertising of the product will not work; Savage and his coworkers must work to not change the actual product, but change how the image of the product is received. Substituting the word “patent” for “proprietary” heightens the prestige of the brand, thus winning the consumer’s confidence—‘If it’s good enough for Park Avenue, it’s good enough for me’. Instilling the consumer with confidence that their decision potentially trumps that of a doctor (“the average sodajerker knows more about medicine today than the family physician did twentyfive years ago”) creates a, probably false, mentality that, through their own agency and knowledge, they have cured their ailments themselves.

      I'm losing your critical perspective here: do you move with the grain of Lee et al., arguing that PR was rather scientific and oriented towards communicating to the public, or with the grain of the muckrakers, arguing that only the "fourth estate" of the press can keep capital honest?

    1. I find myself wanting a broader statement of argument. Something like "muckraking and PR emerged at roughly the same time. Although they seem opposite, and exist at opposite ideological poles, they are related in X and Y ways."

    2. libel? liability?

    1. A bit more intro would be useful here, especially to explain to readers why JDPs trilogy is just a good place to trace this broader phenomenon.

    1. But most importantly, Nadja does not tell her own story, unlike Claude Cahun and Cindy Sherman.

      need a more precise analysis here, since Sherman claims to be "absent" from her work and Cahun to be "carrying around many faces." So arguably Sherman and Cahun are not exactly telling "their" story but telling stories about the confines of traditional gender ideologies.