Egoist's Ego

Egoist 1:4 Most common words What are the preoccupations collectively of the writers for the second installment of A Portrait?

Clement and Distant Reading

I was fascinated by the Clement article and by her approach to The Making of Americans.  I’m not familiar with Stein’s story or the computer programs Clement used, but it seemed that the text provided the methodology.  Clement, pointing out what seems to be the accepted understanding of Stein’s work, says, “the repetitive form… renders the reader’s usual process of making meaning useless and emphasizes the fact that ‘Sense-making is a fundamentally cultural activity’” (362).  Later, she argues that Stein understood her own text as “foreground[ing] the process of meaning-making rather than meaning itself.”  The article, in many ways, encourages the process of making-meaning as well.  I couldn’t help feeling that Clement’s article was defending “distant reading” through the analysis of Stein’s story.
 

Just as The Making of Americans has two halves (one traditionally linear and one repetitive, “mimetic reminder of the impossibility of exact replication”), reading similarly has two-halves, close and distant (376).  Clement argues that the D2K application discovered patterns from the “chaos of the more frequent repetition,” and shows textual constructions that “may have [been] missed with close reading” (363).  The overall effect of distant reading and close reading Stein’s text “leads the reader to consider that the formation of knowledge is a cycle of the ongoing creation that results from this push and pull” of the “hole of knowledge” and the “whole of knowledge” (376).
      

It seems to me that close reading and distant reading provides a similar method of the formation of knowledge conveyed in Stein’s work.  Moretti says distant reading is a “specific form of knowledge,” suggesting that it provides a unique approach or specific vantage point of text.  I’m interested in the preparatory work done before initiating a computer program.  Clement decided to analyze the frequency of repetition in Stein’s work, and then map the “co-occurrences.”  This decision seemed to be based on the background (the critical complaints) of the text.  I want to know what happens to analysis when one algorithm is privileged over another, one motif or technique studied instead of another.  Does distant reading focus too narrowly on the pre-set conditions of the computer software?  Or, are these programs more efficiently mimic the way we read?  I’m interested in what would happen if we distant read A Portrait, and whether it would complement or disagree with our readings.

 

Stanley Fish NYT "Blog Posts" on DH

 Most of you have already seen these because I posted them in Modernism and New Media, but here are all three blog posts in which Stanley Fish dicusses DH:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/26/the-old-order-changeth/

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/09/the-digital-humanities-and-the-transcending-of-mortality/

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/23/mind-your-ps-and-bs-the-digital-humanities-and-interpretation/

The final one may be of particular interest because he mentions some of the larger debates within and about DH and links to what appear to be important articles.  

DeadBook?

I don't know if this is necessarily the proper place for this, but we have the ultimate Digital Humanities items in use right now. Facebook. What happens 100 years from now and all of us are dead? Will everything we posted to our pages be archived? Will WE be archived? Will the famous have their Facebooks printed and bound in book form? How is Facebook an adequate measure of the digitized human?

 

And, how will they know we are dead? What if they go by the fact that we haven't logged in for a long time? What if they accidentally archive someone in the dead file when they are in fact living. What a strange idea...it's like being buried alive.

Modernism began in the magazines

 Robert Scholes and Cliff Wulfman's chapter "Modernity and the Rise of Modernism: A Review" in Modernism and the Magazines says that modernism was in many ways not as much a sythesis of sybolism and realism but a struggle between the two with certain magazines and individuals taking certain positions within the debate.  For this week's assignment I looked at The Little Review v5 n5 and several of the pieces in there.  Here is what I paid particular attention to: 

 

"The Western School" by Edgar Jepson pages 4-9

T.S. Eliot "Sweeney Among the Nightingales," "Whispers of Immortality," "Dans le Restaurant," "Mr. Eliot's Sunday Service." Pages 10-14

James Joyces, Ulysses episode VI pages 17-37

Ezra Pound "Notes from an Ivory Tower" Pages 50-53 

Marsden Hartley, "The Reader Critic: Divagations" Page 59-

 

In looking at these selections I notice that this issue of TLR includes several highest of the high modernists like Joyce, Eliot, and Pound (as well as prose fiction from Sherwood Anderson and Ford Madox Ford and poetry from W.B. Yeats) alongside articles like the ones by Jepson and Hartley on the aesthetics, functions, and sources of poetry and art.  So in many ways the texts present a situation much like what Bornstein outlines in "How to read a page: modernistm and material textuality."

 

Bornstein describes how the sites where poems and other works appear originally is significantly different from how they are received in other publications later on (e.g. Norton Anthologies).  His example is how a Keats' poem is originally published in a highly political periodical The Examiner.  Bornstein's point is that the appearance of Keats' poem in a politically left periodical would perhaps associate not only Keats himself as a public figure with these left-leaning politics, but also contribute to how a reader would interpret the poem.  I would argue that a similar situation is taking place in TLR.  Jepson for instance is (mawkishly) praising T.S. Eliot's poetry at the expense of other American poets such as Frost, Lee Masters, and Lindsay.  The fact that not only is Eliot's poetry praised in a publication in which other of his poems also appear, but Jepson and Hartley make larger claims the elements of good poetry and art.  Hartley, like Jepson, praises (he's a little less effusive) Joyce's Episode IV of Ulysses against the realism of Flaubert.  So we have come back around to the struggle that Scholes and Wulfman describe as a struggle between symbolism and realism that takes place in the magazines.

 

I would say though that some ambiguity arises because it's difficult to determine how writers like Joyce, Pound, and Eliot understood how their work was being "used" in these magazines.  Of course, Pound was likely very aware considering he was on the editorial board, but I do know that he was an ardent supporter of Frost's poetry early on.  However, Jepson's description of the situation opposes Pound and Eliot's work with the likes of Frost.  This suggests to me that whether or not the poetry that appears alongside aesthetic manifestos like Jepson's express similar values, the poems and poets are implicated in the larger debates taking place.   Having read "Signature/Event/Context" and Limited Inc. over break, I'm prepared to discuss the idea of contextual implication a bit further in class if we have some time.  I think it would interact in interesting ways with Bornstein's use of Speech Act Theory and Benjamin's concept of aura.  

 

Paper Prospectus

As a major world event of the twentieth century, the First World War massively impacted the direction of the entire century that followed; social, political, and geographic landscapes changed throughout Europe, which in turn promoted a shift in art, music, and literature. This change occurred both in and out of Europe, as we have seen throughout this semester, especially given our focus on England, France, and the United States. Each country has a different story to tell of the war, and each presents it in a unique fashion through its literary productions, particularly in little magazines. I plan to analyze the cultural effects of The Great War through its portrayal in American, English, and/or French little magazines from the early twentieth century. I wish to use Gephi to discover what changed in the discourse of little magazines before, during, and after WWI.  Specifically, I intend to analyze the connections between the magazines, their authors, and what they discussed by running this information through Gephi, and interpreting the outcome.

I intend to use the MJP, as well the magazines on reserve at the library. Additionally, I have found a number of articles of interest to help form my argument; one of these is Mark Morrison's “Performing the Pure Voice: Elocution, Verse, Recitation, and Modernist Poetry in Prewar London” from Modernism/Modernity magazine. His extensive discussion of speech's importance in poetry (focusing particularly on performance) ties in well with Sylvia Beach's Shakespeare and Company, both of which paint a vivid picture of prewar and wartime London and Paris.  I also found The Theater of Trauma: American Modernist Drama and the Psychological Struggle for the American Mind, 1900-1930, a book by Michael Cotsell regarding the nature of trauma; Part 2 is of particular interest to me, containing sections “From the Theater of Therapeutics to Dramatic Modernism,” “The Theater of Therapeutics,” and “Trauma, Dissociation and Modernist Dramatic Form.” 

 

As for the magazines, I will be looking at long-running magazines such as The Little Review, The Crisis, The New Age, Wheels, La Nouvelle Revue Française, and Le Mercure de France, all of which were publishing between 1910-1922 (four years before to four years after WWI), with some variances.  The focus of my search will be anything related to international discourse, particularly pertaining to Germany, the Ottoman Empire, Bulgaria, and the Austro-Hungarian Empire. From there, a spreadsheet will be compiled: like the first Gephi exercise we did in class, it will contain the title of the work, its date, its author, the type of work, its genre, and the magazine it comes from. Its outcome will determine the direction of the rest of my paper, and allow me to develop a more concrete concept of how The Great War changed the world.

 

 

Paper proposal

 For my term paper, I am interested in looking at the Dada movement, particularly from France. I also want to look at the way that L'Étoile de Mer relates to the Dada movement in the notion of drawing meaning from various aspects of disconnected life. For example, in one case in L'Étoile de Mer, the movie compares the woman's beauty to that of a chair or of glass, among other things which I think relates to the notion of Dada art and its ability to challenge normalcy because we don't ordinarily think of things such as chairs to be beautiful.

In one of the Dada publications, shown below, there is a sentence that says, “Ce qu'on écrit sur l'art est oeuvre d'éducation et dans ce sens elle peut exister.” Translated this means, “That which one writes on art is the work of education and in this sense it can exist.” I think this speaks to both the consumption of art and also the belief shown in both L'Étoile de Mer and the dada magazines of challenging the normal because looking at something that is normally perceived one way and then showing it in another facet to shock gives it a new meaning. By writing about a piece of art, it is then given a meaning because someone was forced to interpret it. In my paper, I will explore this idea- of how a reader, or in the case of L'Étolie de Mer, the viewer, is forced to process and redefine the way they think of the art shown and therefore the objects are given a new meaning.

 

http://sdrc.lib.uiowa.edu/dada/dada/1/pages/002.htm

Futurism and its Influence

For my final paper I would like to take a deeper look at the development of Futurism in modernist magazine culture.  Futurism was a primarily Italian art movement that effected many aspects of the art culture. Eventually the trend influenced other cultures as well, and art movements such as Dada, Vorticism and Surrealism used many of the qualities introduced in futurism as they expanded. 

Hermit.argemuseum.org, which we looked at in class, has many images of Futuristic paintings by various artists.  This website has be quite helpful in my quest to better understand the qualities that make up a Futurist work.  Futurism is a blend of abstraction containing geometrical objects and represents energy through its constant movement.

BLAST, July 1915, cover depicts Voticism.  This cover makes bold statements about the war, even though the depiction is not that complicated.  This idea of Voticism was based heavily on Futurism.

In International Futurism in Arts and Literature, Gunter Berghaus states, “A number of recent studies on the reception of Futurism in France have shown, during the first years of the Futurist movement the French reactions towards its theory and artistic praxis were muted, critical, or even hostile” (281).

I would like to prove that even though Futurism stemmed from Cubism, Futurism was a huge influence on magazine print culture through the influence it produced on the art that came after it.

 

I would love feedback on how to narrow down this topic. Right now I am doing a lot of reading on many different kinds of art to figure out which direction I want to take my paper. 

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