- Jul 2022
Imagine that when you reading The Odyssey in a WorldLiterature class, you found you were interested in
Or maybe you were interested in color the way former British Prime Minister William Gladstone was? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Studies_on_Homer_and_the_Homeric_Age
Or you noticed a lot of epithets (rosy fingered dawn, wine dark sea, etc.) and began tallying them all up the way Milman Parry did? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milman_Parry
How might your notes dramatically change how we view the world?
Aside: In the Guy Ritchie film Sherlock Holmes (2009), Watson's dog's name was Gladstone, likely a cheeky nod to William Gladstone who was active during the setting of the movie's timeline.
- Jan 2022
from: Eyeo Conference 2017
Robin Sloan at Eyeo 2017 | Writing with the Machine | Language models built with recurrent neural networks are advancing the state of the art on what feels like a weekly basis; off-the-shelf code is capable of astonishing mimicry and composition. What happens, though, when we take those models off the command line and put them into an interactive writing environment? In this talk Robin presents demos of several tools, including one presented here for the first time. He discusses motivations and process, shares some technical tips, proposes a course for the future — and along the way, write at least one short story together with the audience: all of us, and the machine.
Robin created a corpus using If Magazine and Galaxy Magazine from the Internet Archive and used it as a writing tool. He talks about using a few other models for generating text.
Some of the idea here is reminiscent of the way John McPhee used the 1913 Webster Dictionary for finding words (or le mot juste) for his work, as tangentially suggested in Draft #4 in The New Yorker (2013-04-22)
Croatian acapella singing: klapa https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sciwtWcfdH4
Writing using the adjacent possible.
Corpus building as an art [~37:00]
Forgetting what one trained their model on and then seeing the unexpected come out of it. This is similar to Luhmann's use of the zettelkasten as a serendipitous writing partner.
How might we use information theory to do this more easily?
What does a person or machine's "hand" look like in the long term with these tools?
Can we use corpus linguistics in reverse for this?
What sources would you use to train your model?
- Andrej Karpathy. 2015. "The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Recurrent Neural Networks"
- Samuel R. Bowman, Luke Vilnis, Oriol Vinyals, et al. "Generating sentences from a continuous space." 2015. arXiv: 1511.06349
- Stanislau Semeniuta, Aliaksei Severyn, and Erhardt Barth. 2017. "A Hybrid Convolutional Variational Autoencoder for Text generation." arXiv:1702.02390
- Soroush Mehri, et al. 2017. "SampleRNN: An Unconditional End-to-End Neural Audio Generation Model." arXiv:1612.07837 applies neural networks to sound and sound production
- Draft #4
- tools for thought
- Robin Sloan
- Milman Parry
- le mot juste
- throat singing
- Webster's dictionary
- John McPhee
- adjacent possible
- Eyeo Festival
- corpus linguistics
- Andrej Karpathy
- artificial intelligence
- neural networks
- Dec 2021
we found this extraordinary paper from 1951 I think by Goldschmidt Walter Goldschmidt which nobody's read it has 00:29:14 got a very strange title something like a contribution to ethical and philosophical sociology or something which tells you very little about its content but it's about these Californian foragers who live next door to the 00:29:27 highly aristocratic slave keeping fishermen of the northwest coast and what Goldschmidt who was a student of Alfred Kroeber I believe the great sort of Dayan of 00:29:40 California anthropology what he argues there point four point is that these Californian hunter-gatherers actually had a kind of work ethic which is remarkably similar to what Max Weber 00:29:54 classically described as the Protestant work ethic of central and northern Europe
Walter Goldschmidt had a 1951 paper about coastal Californian foragers next to aristocratic slave keeping fishermen. These hunter-gatherers apparently had a work ethic similar to that of Max Weber's Protestant work ethic.
Did these fishermen have totem poles (aka decorated wood
Goldschmidt was a student of Alfred Kroeber. Would he have known or worked with Milman Parry?
Kroeber received his PhD under Franz Boas at Columbia University in 1901, the first doctorate in anthropology awarded by Columbia.
Our local personnel are Vesna Wallace and Cathy and myself, while our international partners and consultants include Janet Gyatso, Sarah Jacoby, Matthew Kapstein, Jonathan Silk, Lopon P. Ogyan Tanzin, and Antonio Terrone. Part of the project is simply to minutely track all the processes, over several generations, that gave us some of the terma literature we know so well today, while another part will be to achieve critically-aware knowledge transfers from Hebrew studies and the English medievalists into Tibetology. Through this, we aspire to help catalyse a broader debate on what authorship really means in Tibetan religious writing as a whole, in other genres beyond terma, so that our analysis might contribute to the understanding of Tibetan religious writings as a whole.
Researchers looking into the ideas of inventio with respect to Tibetan religious literature...
This was published in 2010, so it should have some resultant articles worth reading with respect to their work. I'm curious to compare it to the work of Parry & Lord.
Talmudic scholars no longer depend on the conventional modernist language of ‘authorship’ and ‘work’. Instead, they can speak of ‘tradents’, who ‘re-anthologise’ existing ‘lemmata’ and ‘microforms’, sometimes anonymously, within the context of a culture of extraordinary textual memorisation and the ubiquitous synchronous interactions of written and oral modes of text. We have a lot to learn from them, because Tibetan religious literature is in some important respects closer to Medieval Hebraic literature than to modern literature.
The idea of tradents, authors who re-anthologize prior work and scholarship, explicitly without attribution of authorship, is incredibly similar to the ideas behind oral mnemonic traditions seen in Greek epic poetry and Yugoslavian guslars as discovered by Milman Parry.
Much is also recycled, within a literary culture that normatively envisions contributors as tradents rather than innovators: in other words, the person producing a text sees himself as passing on existing knowledge, rather than creating new knowledge from nothing (I will elaborate further on the term tradent below).
Tradents in Tibetan religious literature often copied unattributed texts forward and backward in time without attribution. They often weren't inventing new material, but copying it forward.
This seems incredibly similar to the traditions of oral cultures as explored by Milman Parry and Albert Lord in the work on orality which was followed up by Walter Ong and others. Examples include the poets known as Homer in the Greek Tradition and the guslars of Yugoslavia.
- Nov 2021
In the early 1930s, Milman Parry, a professor of Classics at Harvard, sought to test his theories regarding the composition of the Homeric poems by observing living traditions of oral poetry in then-Yugoslavia.
The songs he collected, on phonograph discs and in notebooks, form the core of the Milman Parry Collection of Oral Literature.
In addition to being one of the world’s most comprehensive archives of South Slavic oral traditions, the Parry Collection also contains uniquely important subsidiary collections documenting numerous other Balkan oral traditions. These include:
- the collection of Albanian epics gathered by Albert Lord in the mountains of northern Albania in the fall of 1937;
- Lord’s own collection of South Slavic materials made in 1950 and 1951, including some recordings of singers Lord had met in the company of Parry in the 1930s;
- the Whitman-Rinvolucri Collection, which contains a variety of materials relating to the Greek tradition of shadow puppet theater as practiced in the 1960s;
- and the James A. Notopoulos Collection, which includes hundreds of recordings from the 1950s of folk music and narrative poetry from the Greek mainland and the Greek islands.
Short overview of Parry's biography. One could do better reading the Wikipedia article.
The Classicist Who Killed Homer How Milman Parry proved that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not written by a lone genius. By Adam Kirsch https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2021/06/14/the-classicist-who-killed-homer June 7, 2021
Someone mentioned this in class today
How can these modern translations and related translations be compared and contrasted to the original passage of the stories in their original bardic traditions?
Cross reference the orality work of Milman Parry, et al.
- May 2021
An overview of Milman Parry's life, work, and some of his impact on Homeric studies and orality as media.
In fewer than seven years he had pub lished the papers that now fill nearly 500 pages of “The Mak ing of Homeric Verse.” The volume is a tribute to an intel lectual pioneer.
Put The Making of Homeric Verse by Milman Parry on my list to read.
On the second odyssey, he was accompanied by Albert Lord, who ultimately wrote “The Singer of Tales,” drawing the conclusions Parry did not live long enough to reach.
How poetic that he uses the title "Odyssey" of one of Homer's works to describe Parry's travels.
In all his writings Parry argued for a historical approach to literature, condemning the classi cists who re‐created the past in the image of the present. We must “re construct the community of thought through which the poet made him self understood to those who heard him sing.”
This is reminiscent of an admonishment to recall that we shouldn't act as if (famous) writers never lived nor as writers never died.
Milman Parry, hailed as “the Darwin of Homeric scholar ship,” was among the first men to conceive of literature not merely in terms of genre; but of media.
Literature isn't merely genre, but media.
- The Song of Roland
- Erich Segal
- Milman Parry
- Marshall McLuhan
- Adam Parry
- E. A. Havelock
- Albert Lord