Technology, Publication, Discourse, and Information

My experiences with English have been quite limited and quite recent, as I come from a primarily ENS background due to family pressures.  Since changing over to English last year, though, I have been extremely excited about the ability of literature to explore and convey the human experience and identity.  It's only recently, though, that I've begun to have much of a focus within that broad field.

I've been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, and while I continue to read obsessively, I have also had a long-standing fascination with newer forms of media and their ability to expound on the experience and communication that the written word offers, especially in the area of storytelling.  As a creative writer, I take a keen interest the ability of one medium or another to tell a story, whether oughtright or implied, general and theme-oriented or intensely detailed.  Video games in particular have captured my attention over the past year; while I play video games only as time permits and very poorly, I have always loved the potential of certain games to evoke a sense of deeper stories behind even the primary storyline.  I gravitate towards story-heavy games, as this is my primary motivation to care at all about the objective of a game, but I have also been interested in some smaller independent games that do not necessarily offer a strong storyline, but instead bring up new ideas, new ways of thinking, new philosophies, and new types of experience.

Aside from the video games/interactive storytelling aspect of technology, I am also extremely excited about the role of the internet in literary (and all other forms of) discourse.  Having started out my internet experience in a book-discussion forum and moved from there into roleplaying and text-based games before discovering the enormous cyberworld that I know today, I love the sheer speed and volume of discussion and joint theorizing that occurs online.  Contrasted with the Age of Enlightenment, when we had maybe a hundred or so great thinkers publishing enormous books and essays at a rate they thought revolutionary (printing press!), the present day struggles with information overload!  I've done a bit of my own discussion on books, movies, games, and even webcomics and been fascinated by the number of people who devote honest time and critical thought to comments on blogs.  Where writing used to be something that needed to be a career in order to have the leisure to devote to scholarly discourse, it has become something amazingly available to the everyday person.  Yes, there are a lot of trolls on the internet, but the number of honest thinkers from all walks of life is just staggering.

Lastly, I have been keeping an eye on the impact of technology and the internet on publication.  The sheer ease of publishing stories, essays, games, videos—anything—on the internet has given rise to both problems and enormous potential.  Video games have a chance to reinvent themselves as the backing of huge gaming companies is not necessary for publication, and artists in that field have the chance to explore newer approaches to interactive media.  Visual art has become much, much more accessible due to sites like DeviantArt that have brought it all out of high-class galleries and into the eyes and criticism of the everyday public, which has in turn affected what we now think of as "art."  

I digress.  I think my point was that I am extremely excited about the role and potential of technology for not only literature but communications media and storytelling as a whole.

Blog #2

 Being an English major I find that my experience to be enlightening. I’ve read some new classics, but I’ve also delved further into classics I love. Then there is the new wave of technological English that has piqued my interest introduced in classes. I’ve always found different forms of literature or using words to be an interest of mine. Then again I am a word person. So English really does suit me as a profession. As far as research goes if it means with my major or course then yes. Writing essays you have to research for proof to defend your essays with. If it is with technology then I’ve used technology with my research as technology helps me achieve the research I need faster. I can’t sit for hours trying to find the right books although if I had the time I wouldn’t mind it. However, with technology I can find what I need for my research easier and faster than I ever could.

 

To use technology to think with I’m not sure if I do but I guess playing games on technology counts? It forces me to think about where things go and how to place things and how to get to things. However, a technology becomes more advanced I am sure they will find a way to make it helpful in matters of thinking. After all we already use a calculator for helping us think and solve problems. Or the computer for it provides us ways to write and research things that we think about. So I guess in truth technology does help us in many ways with our thinking process. Even if it seems minimal compared to other areas of technology that help scientists discover things. Yet technology is everywhere so there are bound to be more ways in which technology can help us think about things.  

Introduction

I chose to be an English major (and a Creative Writing minor) because I have always loved reading and writing, ever since I was really young. I mostly like to read fictional literature from a variety of time periods and genres, but mostly I like reading about adventure (for instance I love JK Rowling). That is the sort of thing I like to write about too. If I could be an adventure novelist some day, that would be my dream job. I am also very interested in other languages, so I am a Spanish minor, and I am also very interested in anthropology and learning about other cultures, as I have never traveled out of the country before and I am very curious about what I'm missing out on. I don't really think I have much experience with technology. I know how to do the basics on a computer and how to work Facebook and how to work my phone but I would say that's about it. Hopefully from this course I will be able to expand my knowledge of technology, and hopefully I will become a better literary analyst, because analyzing and interpreting and looking into the deeper picture is something I tend to struggle with sometimes. I hope to expand my literary horizons a bit.

Initial Introduction - Toby Decker

 My name is Toby Decker, and I am a transfer student from Tulsa Community College.  I came to become an English student at the University of Tulsa because at TCC I decided to pursue an interest I enjoy most--writing.  I particularly enjoy researching contemporary cultural topics and doing literary research; I do experiment with fiction and poetry, but I feel like I might need to live another 400 years before I have anything very relavent to say.

I enjoy reading a little bit of anything I can get my hands on.  I do read very slowly, so oftentimes I will read to a certain point in a book, then move to a different author.  I hate having this habit, but it keeps me from reading nothing, or focusing too long on a work simply because I feel the need to prove myself through accomplishing it. Nevertheless, some of my favorite writers are Jonathan Franzen, Michael Cunningham, Walt Whitman, etc.  Only recently have I really started to read short stories; the last collection I read was called "Smut."  My favorite line from the collection concerned self-love/hate and went something like, "Gary could have found the strength to do almost anything, so long as he could watch himself do it."

When I read books, poems, articles, etc, I often do so with a pen or pencil.  I hope to find forms and words in what I read which will (hopefully) help me develop my own literary voice.

I'll post more soon!  Thanks.

First Blog

As far as intellectual interests go, I'm pretty certain anime and videogames might not count. I also blog on the side and am going to actually create two new ones. As fa as reading goes I love to read poetry. W.B. Yeats is probably my favorte next to John Donne and Dylan Thomas. I also enjoy reading Agatha Christie's works and am a major Hercule Poirot fan. I'm slowly trying to collect all the Poirot works. Aside from that I also enjoy Sci-Fi, Fantasy and mangas. I became an English major because I love to read. I am also going to my masters in the library field under the archieves. So I find English might be helpful toward my goal, might not it all depends. I also mentioned I love to read and I figured English is the best major to go to with my love of reading.

 

Technology I've messed with would probably be things like computers, ereaders, video games, film in general and I am hoping this class will help me to become better acquainted with the world of technology. I suppose I am hoping also to learn what exactly digital humanities is. I've heard of it, I've heard people talk ofit but no one has ever really explained to me what it really was. So I am hoping by the end of this course I can know what digitial humanities is all about. It also seems like we're going to learn about different digital technologies so I'm excited about that. It will be interesting to interact with some things I haven't before and also to better improve on things I have. 

 

Edit: Apprently I can't type today so forgive me for all the mistakes in my post!

Welcome to ENGL 3713: Digital Humanities and Literary Studies

Welcome to ENGL 3713: Digital Humanities and Literary Studies. This course will introduce you to some basic technologies and methods for thinking about literature. Take a look around and familiarize yourself with the site.

Here are a few sample digital humanities projects to help you gain a sense of what the field is about.

Project & TEI

The research report and images for my project presentation are located at the following address: http://postapocalypticcities.wordpress.com/

Also, I have run the TEI work from the first half of lab through Juxta. It was mostly correct, but I did manage to miss about 3 or 4 genres. I suppose that shows how easy it is to miss information when you're faced with all of those words and symbols. It certainly reminds me of how much more comfortable I am with a GUI.

"You, then, who ask the question..."

Woolf (or actually "we") opens her first letter drawing "a sketch of the person to whom the letter is addressed," because "Without someone warm and breathing on the other side of the page, letters are worthless" (3).  She then continues to say that I'm "a little grey on the temples," my "hair is no longer thick on the top," and I've "reached the middle years of life not without effort."  I'm assuming her "letters" are not intended for anyone specifically, or non-fiction, because there's no reason to describe the intended reader's appearance back to "him."  This opening caught me off guard and I wasn't sure what to make off it.  As Emma and Kent discuss, this text seems to be related to the archive.  My question is why does this archive both create an (inaccurate) image of (me) the reader and why does the narrator use 3rd person personal pronouns throughout? 

This weird distinction came up again later.  Woolf explains to her reader the "Outsider's Society" (106).  The Outsider's Society is "anonymous and elastic," and will support the pascifist cause but not join the addressee's organization.  Each individual of this secret group must "analyse the meaning of patriotism in her own case" (107).  The question, I suppose, I'm struggling with is whether or not I'm an outsider of this textual archive.  I'm not really sure the exact connection between this feeling or the way Woolf opens letter 1, but I am interested in the function of the opening drawing of the reader and what that says about archives and historians/readers.

Mapping

I managed to forget my copy of Moretti's book today, so unfortunately this is going to be from memory. The thing that primarily struck me about the maps section of the book was the troublesome idea that fictional spaces could be interpreted through factual maps. Though the maps and the texts are doing a similar kind of interpretation of space (just with one through diagrams and one through language), they're not necessarily doing so for the same ends. Take, for instance, the distance impressed upon the reader in Jude the Obscure between Jude's village and the university at Christminster. If we were to see both of these on a map, that distance would probably seem paltry, but for the young Jude it is an significant and importance distance. Or, for instance, the distance travelled by Pip to be in London in Great Expectations, and how much of a world away that feels for him. With our more modern reading of maps, being frequent travellers (and particularly, I'd imagine, for those used to travelling in America), the distance, again, would probably seem insignificant. A line from Swann's Way also made me think of this problem over interpreted and actual spaces: "nothing could have differed more utterly, either, from the real Balbec than that other Balbec of which I had often dreamed, on stormy days, when the wind was so strong that Fracoise, as she took me to the Champs-Eylsees, would advise me not to walk too close to the walls or I might have my head knocked off by a falling slate" (545-6). Again, what is crucial is the perception of space for the characters, rather than any fixed, proven record of the makeup of that space. Still, I'm not saying that because of this we shouldn't map fictional space, and quite on the contrary as literary students we definitely should, so that we can see where a writer develops this subjective reading of space by the character where in fact the actual space may have differed.

Bill's Project

  With my project, I plan to map out the imagery of The Waste Land and compare this to its many allusions.  I'm specifically interested in highlighting the motifs of water and dust, which type of allusions are connected to these images and ultimately how they function in the poem.  The conceptual aim of my project is to evaluate any thematic conflict between the allusions in the text, which have been read as the voices of the dead (and thus waste), and the visual aspects, and then understand the potential meaning of this conflict.  Water, for instance, is the most frequently used word in The Waste Land.  This seems counter-intuitive, though, because my general impression from reading the poem suggests dryness, sterility, and death.  Why, then, is the most commonly used word, and specifically its represented meaning (fertility), opposite to the general tone of the poem? 

This project, however, might go in a different direction.  If the imagery of The Waste Land operates as a modified allusion, I am curious to know the subtle differences between quoting another author's work and suggesting a collectively understood idea through an image.  Can imagery allude to something?  Would this depend on a cultural understanding of an image or does each reader have to interact with the image to create meaning?  Whichever direction my project goes, I intend to make a map of the word associations of images and allusions.

My archive will include a list of textual allusions in The Waste Land.  I will use criticisms about these allusions for an interpretative framework.  Most of these, I expect, will agree that the voices are from the past and therefore dead.  Hopefully, I'll find a few that disagree, though.  This part should not be too different from the bibliography of a book or codex.  Next, I'll start "mapping" the imagery in the poem.  This will require tagging.  Since tagging is interpretive, I will use more criticism and also do some of my own close-reading.  My archive will also be effected as I break and separate images into concrete units, which is different than treating imagery as a continuous landscape.  

I expect the biggest problem will be archiving critics that disagree.  If I tag an image as two contradictory things, how will my map look?    

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