On the resistance of the archive to interpretation

I've found the Stolen Time article rather interesting, but extremely confusing. I honestly am not quite sure what it is archiving or what I am looking for when I look through it—where, when reading the Blake or Rossetti archives, I was able to start out just with the aim of familiarizing myself with their work, I feel I am missing something fundamental about this archive.

It took me a good two hours to actually figure out how to open the archive—I was wading through authors' notes and editors' notes of all kinds, analysis of the archive as a whole, and other related writings on the website before I even found the link to launch the actual project. I get the overall idea that it is something of a cross between office work, "stolen time" (that is, using the time you are getting paid for to do your own personal business), play, and organization/archiving. To be completely honest, though, I can't really get beyond a very surface level of observation with Stolen Time.

The way the archive mimics an office working environment in many ways is quite interesting to me—the clock in, clock out, the folders, the timestamp in the corner. There's this profound confusion about whether you're really doing anything worthwhile, about whether you're actually working towards something that can be called "work" or just browsing… like one generally does on the internet. It's definitely making work to eke any information out of it, and I look forward to finding out what the class has to say (both in terms of commentary and in terms of how to work it, period!).

The Waste Land as an Archive

First of all, I was completely distracted throughout my reading of Foucault by how he stole his argument from the Reading Rainbow reel:


Back to the matter at hand, I was intrigued by a few morsels of information I retained from the assigned texts. Foucault's observation that Floubert's The Temptation "opens a domain in depth," (Foucault 105) laconically describes the significance of the archive.  Certainly, Eliot's "The Waste Land" serves multiple roles (if not simply individual pleasure), including this capacity as an archive to past intellectualism and dialogue.  As the Quotations and Allusions group from our wiki project found, Eliot collected fragments of canonical texts to express old thoughts in a modern, erudite way.  Voss and Werner describe the archive as now being an "ex-static" property, thanks to the digitization of prior information, where "the material becomes immaterial" (ii).  We have seen how this shift of preservational theory opens new possibilities for understanding and analyzing a text, yet Voss and Werner are not replete to acknowledge the importance of material evidence (as found by Elizabeth and I during our investigation of the original magazine appearances of "The Waste Land.")

Studying literature that serves an archival function is interesting, yet I sometimes question whether our analyses take the intention of the author out of his or her context; our resources are so amplified and complex that there may be some danger of ascribing anachronistic hypotheses that distract from the purpose of a text.

Waiting for a corpse to sprout

That corpse you planted last year in your garden,
Has it begun to sprout?  Will it bloom this year?
Or has the sudden frost disturbed its bed?
Oh keep the Dog far hence, that's friend to men,
Or with his nails he'll dig it up again!
You! hypocrite lecteur!—mon semblable,—mon frère!

Waiting for a corpse to sprout.  The image is an eerie one, but also extremely tragic, carrying with it the connotation of bereaved family members who have watched their young sons and brothers bloom and then die, cut off at their prime.  As a gardener returns often to the spot where he has buried a seed, so a mourner returns often to the burial site of his or her loved one.  There is that sense of not quite letting go, that inability to move on.  Instead, a sick, twisted need remains to return to that place of heartache, as though it would be sacrilegious and petty to forget and escape from it.  

The passage is almost mocking as it queries "Grown anything yet?  I would've thought that with your dedication to that 'seed,' you'd have more to show for it!"  On one hand, there is a desire for change, for something to happen, for life to be given back, for the corpse to sprout and bloom.  Yet at the same time, there is a parallel image of it reemerging from the ground not in bloom but as the unearthed remains that comprise a dog's meal.  There is the tension between a desire to try and restore what was lost and a realization that it is probably better to leave well enough alone.  

I find this much more powerful than a simple expression of sadness and regret.  Rather, the reader is almost implicated for daring to suggest that things be reversed—or perhaps for daring to suggest that moving on is the best course of action.  He is forced to wrestle with the guilt of either side, really drawn into the conflict and the shattering of death and loss.  

The Waste Land

 What are the roots that clutch, what branches grow

Out of this stony rubbish? Son of man,

You cannot say, or guess, for you know only

A heap of broken images, where the sun beats,

And the dead tree gives no shelter, the cricket no relief,

And the dry stone no sound of water. Only

There is shadow under this red rock,

(Come in under the shadow of this red rock),

And I will show you something different from either

Your shadow at morning striding behind you

Or your shadow at evening rising to meet you;

I will show you fear in a handful of dust.

(Lines 19-30)


In these lines she is remembering the past. The trenches of the war and the rubbish it has become. She is speaking to someone, but no one is really there listening. She is stuck in this moment from the past, but cannot see the picture clearly, only images. She sounds like she is experiencing PTSD- Post traumatic stress disorder. She could be depressed and scared and wants someone to talk to and share her past. The red refers to the blood and the death of the war. The shadows that were present and that haunt her still all these years later. The last line is both drawing the reader in and pushing the reader away. She says come and let me share with you all the horrors and fears and sadness. She does not want to be alone in her memories.  The line with the cricket is the memory of silence. Even the silence is deadly. These lines remind me of loneliness and loss. There is no cheerfulness in these memories of the past. 

I read this poem last semester, but now that I read it again I feel like I am seeing more in this poem then I saw before. I keep referring to "her" because of the lines in Latin before the poem begins. The lines translate to "I have seen with my own eyes the Sibyl hanging in a jar, and when the boys asked her "What do you want?" She answered "I want to die." So from the very beginning there is loneliness and sadness and regret. It feels like all of the negative feelings are thrown together in one person's mind and she can't handle it. She is lost in a world of her own with no way out of a past she cannot change nor control. These lines in the poem are very dark to me. 

Blog #2

 My experiences with my major started out with lots of reading and writing. Recently my experience has grown throught the use of technology. I never really cared much for technology, but recently my interests have grown. Technology is also becoming more world wide and the tool that people seem to prefer. Now I am simply following everyone else and learning to adapt with the changes. Only recently has the use of technology become of interest to me. I much prefer the literature side of english. I have done plenty of research when it comes to writing papers, but any research on my own I have not really started. I have used technology in many different ways. I have used programs like Wordle and Prezi to present projects and I have realized that there are a lot of different ways to look at literature through technology. English is not just about reading words on a page and deriving meaning from them. I am begining to learn that english can be changed into different forms of technology like video games. Many video games have a story and in order to finish the story you must finish the game. The more technology progresses the more I use it to think in new ways. The simplist form of technology that I use or rather many use is changing the way we write papers. Papers are not written by hand and turned in through chicken scratch anymore, rather we use programs like "Word" to write papers on the computer where writing is faster, easier to correct and far easier to read. The internet is also a great tool for pretty much anything. Why take all the time that is needed to go somewhere when all a person needs to do is Google it. Technology has become more a way of life than I am sure anyone believed it could be. My favorite creation so far is the e-reader. I can access books much faster and and download them in seconds instead of going to the bookstore or a library. 

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.  


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.