Araby map

I mapped North Washington Street and contrasted its current state with its depiction in Araby. The houses and Christian Brothers School are still there, but the lanes where the boy describes playing have been turned into parking lots and a paved street. Two street lamps are present on the street, as they're described in the story, and one stands almost directly across from a row house. This could be the boy's house, as the narrator describes "the light from the lamp opposite our door."

Map of "The Fire Sermon"

View The Fire Sermon in a larger map

Most of the locations on this map are grouped near the Thames River.  I'm not sure what to make of the spatiality of the diagram alone.  The map does not offer much new analysis as far as I can see.  The landmarks show that the speaker never gets far from the shore of the Thames and remains very close to London until the very last lines.  

As I was mapping these points, though, the speaker's movements are erratic and often double back on itself.  For instance, the movement from Greenwich reach to the Isle of Dogs would require the speaker to travel from East to West.  "Elizabeth and Leicester," which I plotted with an educated guess, is a West to East movement (if I'm allowed to read the "and" more as a "to").  The other points maintain what seems to be a wandering and aimless traveller until the end.  The last three places the speaker mentions are "Moorgate" (where the Globe Theatre is), Margate Sands, and finally Carthage.  These places, read sequentially, take the reader from the center of London to the eastern coast, and then to the northeastern tip of Africa, which is further east than the last location in England in this section.  From here, the poem ends in India near the Ganges River.

By placing these locations in this order in his text, Eliot forces the reader to imagine in an eastward direction.  I think this might tie into the thematic conflation of eastern cultures/ literatures and rejuvenation (or a false sense of escape).  I think I'd need more locations plotted to make more of the spatial diagram of forces that Moretti focuses on in his chapter, "Maps."  

Serials and variables

I found Dr. Latham’s paper to directly answer a question discussed in 21st century American literature last week. We are reading a novel about two comic book illustrators (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay), and someone mentioned that the book was like reading a comic book. While the book suggests comic book aspects, it does not offer the same experience a comic book does. After reading this article though, I’ve decided the most notable difference is that one is available as part of a series, and the other comes as a single unit, much like the magazines. Dr. Latham writes, “Put bluntly: despite masquerading in a codex form, magazines are not books” (3) and so the opposite, that books are not magazines is an obvious statement. I think the same thing applies to things that are offered as smaller parts of series: comic books, television shows, newspapers, etc. You don’t need to read every issue of Scribner’s to understand one issue, (though being familiar with all issues will offer a more informed perspective), and it’s not necessary to read the first Batman comic ever to get his story. Essentially, reading a magazine is an undecipherable equation with constantly shifting variables and exponents of answers. Novels and films don’t allow that personal choice (yet) because there is one set path to follow.

This term of emergence explains that well, how it “provides a powerful way of thinking about how all those textons that we can mark and measure in a text manage to produce something more than the sum of their parts” (15). Karen’s presentation last week is relevant to this, as she noted the editorial decisions made in differing magazines with their different editors and values for a singular episode of Ulysses. It is important of course that individual experiences are factored in when we discuss “how” to read a magazine. These nuances are as subtle as the magazine experience in itself; it is affected by several people (writers, editors, ads) and put together in a single work to be interpreted by many different people.

I also think this idea of things working together in emergence works for the Moretti graphs centered around David Foster Wallace, Toni Morrison, and Johnathan Franzen. Moretti compiles maps that show books Amazon recommends buying when a certain work is selected from one of these authors, creating miniature codexes on these internet pages. Like the magazines, these suggested books work together to create a message that has multiple, individual-driven interpretations. The difference with the Amazon page is that it is not carefully composed by editors and authors, but by computer algorithms and multiple and varied Amazon users.