210 Matching Annotations
  1. Oct 2020
    1. A couple of notes for first-time users of hypothes.is:

      • you can format your text with italics or bullet-points or bold
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      • This is a "page comment" that refers to the entire document; you'll be primarily making annotations that are tied to whatever you highlight in the text.
    2. discourse on the Text should itself be only text, research, textual activity

      Here Barthes joins a robust tradition of artist-critics who abolish the distinction between "primary" (imaginative literature) and "secondary" (criticism): Derrida, Brecht, Godard, and so on...

    3. This is a consequence of the fact that a Theory of the Text cannot be satisfied with a meta- linguistic exposition

      Barthes: "in other words, I practice what I preach."

    4. The Text is a little like a score of this new kind: it solicits from the reader a practical collaboration.

      I love this idea that readers/writers of the "text" are like friends gathered around the piano in olden times in which to hear music, you had to make it. Reminds me of Matt Rubery's work on oralizations of Victorian literatur.

    5. “Playing” must be taken here in all the polysemy of the term: the text itself “plays” (like a door that “plays” back and forth on its hinges; like a fishing rod in which there is some “play”); and the reader plays twice over: he plays at the Text (ludic meaning), he seeks a practice which reproduces it; but, so that this practice is not reduced to a passive, interior mimesis (the Text being precisely what resists this reduction), he plays the Text

      This is basically the mission statement of this course...

    6. Rhetoric, the great literary code of that time, taught writing (even if what was ordinarily produced were discourses, not texts); it is significant that the advent of democracy reversed the watchword: the (secondary) school prides itself on teaching reading and no longer writing

      Profound point with an extremely compressed history within it: access to reading and writing are always bound up in class distinctions. Indeed, in our own moment it's clear that, the more expensive the education, the more it is oriented towards writing and the production of texts; the cheaper, the more it's oriented towards the inscription, as it were of the student via automated ed-tech interfaces with its XP and badges and Foucaultian surveillance techniques.

    7. The Text (if only by its frequent “unreadability”) decants the work

      Another gorgeous metaphor and very French!

    8. the I that writes the text is never anything but a paper I.

      Here we see the return of the physics analogy: as in quantum physics, the object has no autonomous existence apart from the process of its creation or recreation via reading/observation/reenactment.

    9. Hence, confronting the work, the Text might indeed take for its motto the words of the man possessed by devils: “My name is legion, for we are many” (Mark 5:9). The plural or demonic texture which sets the Text in opposition to the work may involve profound modifications of reading, precisely where monologism seems to be the law: certain “texts” of Scripture, traditionally adopted by theological (historical or anagogical) monism, may lend themselves to a diffraction of meanings (i.e., finally, to a materialist reading), while the Marxist interpretation of the work, hitherto resolutely monistic, may become more materialist by pluralizing itself (if, of course, Marxist “institutions” permit this).

      Further elaboration of the "paradoxical" aspect of the text. His critique comes into clearer focus in light of the dominance of "formalist" or "structuralist"modes of criticism that presupposed a unity of the text. Barthes's own famous "mythologies" of pop cultural objects like soap or the Tour de France themselves were relatively "monistic" in this sense.

    10. wadi

      (in certain Arabic-speaking countries) a valley, ravine, or channel that is dry except in the rainy season. Thanks, dictionary.com.

    11. the stereographic plurality of the signifiers

      Man, I love this dude's metaphorics: explosion, indeed.

    12. The text is approached and experienced in relation to the sign.

      For those of you who are not theory nerds, this riff is based on the linguistic theory of Ferdinand de Saussure, which exerted enormous influence on 20thC cultural theory in France and, really, everywhere. "Signifier" means the arbitrary combination of sounds or letters that makes up an "utterance" in language and "signified" means the idea that signifier points to. The letters T-R-E-E is the signifier; the mental image of the thing with leaves in the signified.

    13. paradoxical

      Nice turn of phrase that digs into etymology: the text is next to but not connected to (para) the common belief structure or "common sense" (doxa).

    14. Or again: the Text is experienced only in an activity, in a production. It follows that the Text cannot stop (for example, at a library shelf); its constitutive moment is traversal (notably, it can traverse the work, several works).

      I started to lose him above, but this last couple of sentences secures it for me, as the primacy of practice, of process comes into focus. To borrow from the language of the course, one "does things" with texts; one "reads" works.

    15. understood as a computable object

      Barthes is speaking metaphorically and at a time when computing is in its adolescence, if not infancy. But it's kind of funny to read this sentence now, when texts are eminently computable in a much more literal sense!

    16. method, genres, the sign, the plural, filiation, reading, pleasure

      That's all? Quite a menagerie of terms here, Roland...

    17. Confronting the work–a traditional notion, long since, and still today, conceived in what we might call a Newtonian fashion–there now occurs the demand for a new object, obtained by a shift or a reversal of previous categories.

      This extended metaphor linking theoretical physics and the humanities makes me wonder whether our present-day fascination with text mining, distant reading, and so on represents another turn of the screw that (to extend the analogy) resembles discussions of "quantum gravity" that try to link Einstein and Heisenberg, the macro and the nano scales.

  2. Sep 2020
    1. it begins effectively (and not by the simple utterance of a pious hope) when the solidarity of the old disciplines breaks down-perhaps even violently, through the shocks of fashion-to the advantage of a new object, a new language, neither of which is precisely this discomfort of classification which permits diagnosing a certain mutation

      Certainly the early years of DH felt like an echo of the late 60s-early 70s moment Barthes is feeling here.

    2. A couple of notes for first-time readers of this text:

      • yes, everyone wrote like this in 1970s French academic life
      • light up a Gauloises cigarette and feel free to complain about jargon-words in the margins
      • think about how the act of reading/writing on/around/with Barthes and classmates interacts with the argument
  3. Oct 2018
    1. In summary then, IVANHOE can be used in a variety of ways as a competitive, game-like environment, as a collaborative study and research situation, or as a context in which players strive to achieve their own individual goals. In a classroom setting, IVANHOE could encourage students to improve bibliographical and research skills in one round and critical-reading skills in the next. Individual students could decide which of several interpretive skills they wish to improve in a round of play, or they could consult with a teacher to set these goals. For more mature players, various competitive or collaborative situations might be imagined to promote specific types of critical reflection and scholarly research. IVANHOE can be played in a game mode with points, scoring, and competitive interactions. It can also be used for non-competitive collaborative work within a community of scholars or in classroom activities.

      Like the focus on the flexibility of the instrument. But how would you keep score?

    2. The test runs also suggested two other useful ways in which to explore the tool's design possibilities: first, to deploy IVANHOE as both a pedagogical and a scholarly research tool; second, to launch its functions in a born-digital database of materials. IVANHOE's interpretational capacities were conceived to have wide range and flexibility across every sort of informational material in the humanities and the social sciences

      Note emphasis on empirical language: they ran "tests" or "experiments" based on hunches and the desire to test out the technology's limits and blind spots. Emphasis on collective investigation, iterative exploration.

    3. competitive, game-like

      assumes competition is part of gaming

    4. Like ourselves

      Just interesting whom the perceived audience is. Is the "ourselves" the writers, the perceived audience of fellow educators, or...?

    5. Like ourselves

      Students! They're just like us!

    6. each person will try to reshape the given work so that it is understood or seen in a new way

      is this act an annotation? an interpretation? or i guess a deformance that also illuminates an aspect of the text?

    7. self-identity of a particular text or cultural work

      anthropomorphic texts!

    8. all interpretation is misinterpretation

      consider for final project

    9. alternative narrative possibilities

      Like many of us wish/think 21st century America has

  4. allred720fa18.commons.gc.cuny.edu allred720fa18.commons.gc.cuny.edu
    1. But the principal relic of faded grandeur was the ample oval of the shield-like stern-piece, intricately carved with the arms of Castile and Leon, medallioned about by groups of mythological or symbolical devices; uppermost and central of which was a dark satyr in a mask, holding his foot on the prostrate neck of a writhing figure, likewise masked.

      Robert Shore, The San Dominick, 1965 Something similar to the "ample oval" appears to be on the visible side of the ship, just in front of the stern. The figures are, unfortunately, indiscernible.

      The iconography lends itself to multiple interpretations, and stands out as one of the few overtly ekphrastic passages in the novella. The subjugated figure in the image is not described as human or animal, simply as "writhing" - struggling against the satyr's dominance. This figure would seem to represent both an allegory for and a critique of slavery -- the prostrate figure being the slave. However, the "dark satyr" in Greco-Roman mythology is a hybrid man-beast, associated with what in Melville's time would be considered animalistic passions including revelry, madness, violence, and lust. Given Delano's repeated, obtuse descriptions of slaves in animalistic terms, this is one clue that suggests the satyr represents, if not the slaves themselves, then the reversal of power that has taken place on board the ship. It may also reflect the institution of slavery, which, regardless of who is master and who is slave, is fundamentally immoral and based on violence. This ambiguity is heightened by fact that both figures are masked; neither Delano nor Melville's readers are able to see their faces, and, this would suggest, their races.

    2. while upon the tarnished headboards, near by, appeared, in stately capitals, once gilt, the ship’s name, “SAN DOMINICK,” each letter streakingly corroded with tricklings of copper-spike rust;

      The extended rebellion of enslaved people on Santo Domingo (in English, Saint Dominick) began in 1791 and lasted until 1804. Known today as the Haitian Revolution, the revolt remains the only "slave revolt" ever to result in the establishment of a free state. Per Wikipedia, "It is now widely seen as a defining moment in the history of racism in the Atlantic World.[5]"

    3. At this moment the young sailor’s eye was again fixed on the whisperers, and Captain Delano thought he observed a lurking significance in it, as if silent signs, of some Freemason sort, had that instant been interchanged

      Freemasonry was and still is a secretive fraternal order originating in the British guild system; it took root in the American colonies and was popular before and after the American Revolution. (George Washington and other founders are frequently cited as "famous Freemasons.") Its relationship to both the church and state has historically been a subject of controversy (and mystification) and it remains a perennial hobby horse among conspiracy theorists fixated on the existence of one-world governments. "Brothers" are known to use a series of symbols and hand gestures to recognize and communicate with each other in public.

    4. in the harbor of St. Maria–a small, desert, uninhabited island toward the southern extremity of the long coast of Chili.

      Map of Santa Maria, 1700

      Santa Maria is a possession of Chile, roughly 10 nautical miles from the mainland, and just south of the port town Concepcion. More recently the island was used as a penal colony for supporters of Chile's Salvador Allende after his government was overthrown by a US-sponsored coup.

      Although Delano describes it as nothing more than a "desert, uninhabited island" it in fact has a well-documented history in the European colonization of South America, especially concerning the Dutch West India Company's conflicts with Spain in the late 16th century (note mentions of Santa Maria in Lane, pp. 73-77).

      Note as well that by the conclusion of the narrative, the Saint Dominick does fulfill its intended journey from Valparaiso, Chile to Callao, a port just outside of Lima, Peru. (See map, contemporary with the composition of Benito Cereno.)

    5. San Dominick’s voyage, down t

      One of Melville's greatest mysteries was his choice to change the historically accurate Tyral ship which the San Dominick's voyage was based on. As cited below, the Tyral was believed to be altered to the San Dominick to reflect the setting leading up to the Haitian Revolution. Melville, also changed the date of the slave mutiny from 1805 to 1799 in order to put it in the exact same time period as the Haitian uprising. Throughout the book Melville also makes reference to Charles V and Saint Bartholomew, who were all heavily involved in the slave trade in Santo Domingo. (Horsley-Meacham 261-262) It is fascinating to think what other liberties may have taken place to accommodate Melville's tale.


    6. follow his leader

      In reference to more work that is listed in reference to "Benito Cereno", " Douglas's "The Heroic Slave" (1853) is the most closely contested example to draw critical differences in representations of Slave Revolts in Colonial History.

      "Douglass's novella has often been compared to other accounts of mutinies at sea, including Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast (1846), Herman Melville's "Benito Cereno" (1855) and Billy Budd (1924), Charles R. Johnson's Middle Passage (1990), and Steven Spielberg's Amistad (1997). Though all of these narratives demonstrate the unwillingness of enslaved Africans and conscripted whites to submit willingly to bondage, Douglass's text also emphasizes the possibility of changing white attitudes about slavery. Therefore, The Heroic Slave might be said to stage the perfect audience for the abolitionist messages of Douglass and other critics of American slavery. The text invites the reader to emulate the aptly-named Mr. Listwell—to "listen well" to its message and to carry out its mission. Listwell's resolution to stand against slavery demonstrates Douglass's belief that empathetic identification based on words alone might lead to political action and social change."


    7. the Spaniards slain by command of the negro Babo; that the negresses used their utmost influence to have the deponent made away with; that, in the various acts of murder, they sang songs and danced–not gaily, but solemnly; and before the engagement with the boats, as well as during the action, they sang melancholy songs to the negroes, and that this melancholy tone was more inflaming than a different one would have been, and was so intended; that all this is believed, because the negroes have said it.–that of the thirty-six men of the crew, exclusive of the passengers (all of whom are now dead), which the deponent had knowledge of, six only remained alive, with four cabin-boys and ship-boys, not included with the crew; * *–that the negroes broke an arm of one of the cabin-boys and gave him strokes with hatchets.

      In expansion to my previous annotation referencing this passage ties back to the idea of distancing historical context in association to American/British conflicts in preferences a much more violent, and generic tale of a violent uprising in the French Haitian Revolution context which has historically been misconstrued and utilized as an example to both mobilize and instill fear in prevention of more revolts within the colonial terrain. Tying white morality in tandem to the senseless violence depicted in the court case by Melville is an interesting contrast to the choice to demonstrate the Creole Insurrection in Douglas' "The Heroic Slave".


      The Creole Insurrection would be the center of political tensions between the U.S and Britain for decades over the tumultuous negotiations American slave owners attempted to lay claims on lost property during the loss of the 1841 Creole Case, but would also become the most compelling of five noted Slave Revolts which demonstrated the possibility of a revolt to be politically portrayed to the world as a legally legitimate and moral action in means to freedom.

      While maps are commonly the site of colonial domain and conquest, this sited interactive map gives context to the chain of slave revolts in Jamaica that provide an understanding to how revolts were formulated. I could not find a similar source to the Haitian revolution, but this shows what can be possible in providing more context to historical fictions.


    8. “Because they have no memory,” he dejectedly replied; “because they are not human.” “But these mild trades that now fan your cheek, do they not come with a human-like healing to you? Warm friends, steadfast friends are the trades.” “With their steadfastness they but waft me to my tomb, Señor,” was the foreboding response. “You are saved,” cried Captain Delano, more and more astonished and pained; “you are saved: what has cast such a shadow upon you?” “The negro.”

      In terms of the relationships between slave-owners and those enslaved, there were occasionally situations where the relationship between the two carried weight in a different, less animalistic vein.

      Although some slaves were enslaved for their entire lives, there often were deals made between the slave-owner and their victims. Generally the deals were for their labor in exchange for their freedom. However, it would generally take years and years to meet the satisfaction of the slave-owner, and in more tragic cases, they would attempt to recant or modify their deal. Sometimes these deals for freedom would be changed in order to accommodate the slave-owner. For example, a deal where they agreed to grant a family their freedom would be met with only granting the children their freedom, and keeping their mother captive. Or, certain deals were that their freedom would be granted upon the owner's death, leaving their freedom in their will. This situation is how the Dred Scott case (mentioned above) unfolded, because upon his owner's death, Scott sued the owner's wife for freedom.

      What draws the relationship between Benito Cereno and Babo into question is this conversation. One should speculate on how Benito Cereno felt in regards to Babo's care for him. Did he have the intention of freeing Babo eventually in exchange for his "companionship?" Given the nature of the scenario, there was nothing he could do to prevent Babo's fate. However, he clearly finds regret in how this whole situation played out.

      Two years prior to the release of Benito Cereno (1853), the case of Robin Holmes v. Nathaniel Ford took place in Oregon, United States. The problem was that Ford had promised the Holmes family freedom once they finished helping him start up his farm. Upon completion, they expected to be freed, but instead he kept their four children and planned to sell them back to Missouri. What is confusing here is that their relationship wasn't entirely aggressive until the final moments of the contract.

      Benito Cereno did not have a say when it came to the court's rule over Babo's life. If the story ended with them alive, would Benito Cereno have released Babo into freedom, or in only attempt to use him further once back in the position of power? Would the phrase "follow your leader" be flipped?

      Lockley, Fred. “The Case of Robin Holmes vs. Nathaniel Ford.” The Quarterly of the Oregon Historical Society, vol. 23, no. 2, 1922, pp. 111–137. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/20610207.

    9. Both the black’s hands were held, as, glancing up towards the San Dominick, Captain Delano, now with scales dropped from his eyes, saw the negroes, not in misrule, not in tumult, not as if frantically concerned for Don Benito, but with mask torn away, flourishing hatchets and knives, in ferocious piratical revolt.

      What might be considered foreshadowing here, is an interesting perspective on a perceived act of relishing the wielding of violent weapons in indulging. Regardless of interpretation, this is an interesting place to mark an often overlooked perspective of a historical Slave Narrative one might categorize this novella.

      "The Heroic Slave" by Frederick Douglass wrote only one work of fiction: this novella, loosely based on a true incident, about a slave who leads a rebellion on board a slave ship. Although it doesn't mention Stowe, it can be read as Douglass' attempt to contest Uncle Tom's Cabin. The novella's description of Madison Washington's appearance closely follows Stowe's first description of Tom. The story Douglass tells, though, allows him to reject her "simple" slave hero (Tom is probably the source for the pious "old slave" Madison encounters in Part II, and whose eloquent praying is a temptation he must resist), and to put in his place a well-spoken black man who fights and kills for his freedom.

      Douglass does not, however, dismiss Stowe's audience. He published the story twice in 1853 -- serially in his newspaper, and as his contribution to an Anti-Slavery anthology Stowe's publisher brought out. But he clearly designed the tale to reach the larger white reading public: one of the most interesting aspects of the novella is the strategic way it tries to lead genteel readers not only to active engagement in the abolitionist cause, but also to grant black slaves the same right to rebel against tyranny that America enshrines in its founders. The novella, however, does not seem to have had many contemporary readers, although it was reissued at least once, in pamphlet form in 1863.

      While Stowe and other white abolitionists can be found in reference to this novella, it's important to note that Douglass still frequently contested the politics of her beliefs in a way that utilized her name to legitimize and maximize his scholarship to a white audience. How might we draw this comparison to Melville's novella? And additionally, what is the difference is drawing references to Douglas' depictions of the Creole Insurrection in comparison to Melville's depiction of the Haitian Uprising?


    10. –One, from about eighteen to nineteen years, named José, and this was the man that waited upon his master, Don Alexandro, and who speaks well the Spanish, having served him four or five years; * * * a mulatto, named Francesco, the cabin steward, of a good person and voice, having sung in the Valparaiso churches, native of the province of Buenos Ayres, aged about thirty-five years. * * * A smart negro, named Dago, who had been for many years a grave-digger among the Spaniards, aged forty-six years. * * * Four old negroes, born in Africa, from sixty to seventy, but sound, calkers by trade, whose names are as follows:–the first was named Muri, and he was killed (as was also his son named Diamelo); the second, Nacta; the third, Yola, likewise killed; the fourth, Ghofan; and six full-grown negroes, aged from thirty to forty-five, all raw, and born among the Ashantees–Matiluqui, Yan, Leche, Mapenda, Yambaio, Akim; four of whom were killed; * * * a powerful negro named Atufal, who being supposed to have been a chief in Africa, his owner set great store by him. * * * And a small negro of Senegal, but some years among the Spaniards, aged about thirty, which negro’s name was Babo; * * * that he does not remember the names of the others, but that still expecting the residue of Don Alexandra’s papers will be found, will then take due account of them all, and remit to the court; * * * and thirty-nine women and children of all ages.

      The ship that Herman Melville based this entire story on, the Tryal, carried about 70 West African slaves. Although their origin was altered, the number of passengers noted here may be close to accurate. Many passengers were lost during what was believed to be a two-year voyage (Grandin). The article below provides a lot of context in terms of the original story of Benito Cerreño.

      Grandin, Greg. “Who Ain't a Slave? Historical Fact and the Fiction of 'Benito Cereno'.” Chronicle.com, The Chronicle of Higher Education, 16 Dec. 2013, www.chronicle.com/article/Slavery-in-FactFiction/143551.

    11. –That on the fifth day of the calm, all on board suffering much from the heat, and want of water, and five having died in fits, and mad, the negroes became irritable, and for a chance gesture, which they deemed suspicious–though it was harmless–made by the mate, Raneds, to the deponent in the act of handing a quadrant, they killed him; but that for this they afterwards were sorry, the mate being the only remaining navigator on board, except the deponent.

      One thing that should be taken into consideration is how Babo is being treated in this court setting. One could consider that these men acted in a barbaric manner, but they were enslaved and saw a way out. Desperation triggers animalistic instincts. As far as the violence factor and how it affects the court setting, would they be treated any different if they did not act the way they did? Look at the Dred Scott v. Stanford (1857) case, which took place only two years after Benito Cereno was published (1855), and a staggering 50+ years after the events of this story take place. Dred Scott did everything in a professional manner, and even one his initial case. However, the Supreme Court reversed it based on a technicality. So, this begs the question: In the eyes of the court justice system, is there a difference between Babo and Dred Scott?

      Arenson, Adam. “ Dred Scott versus the Dred Scott Case The History and Memory of a Signal Moment in American Slavery, 1857–2007.” The Dred Scott Case, 2010, pp. 25–46., doi:10.1353/chapter.236750.

    12. Upon a still nigher approach, this appearance was modified, and the true character of the vessel was plain–a Spanish merchantman of the first class, carrying negro slaves, amongst other valuable freight, from one colonial port to another.

    13. Benito Cereno
    14. Before

      Start of the third Putnam's Monthly installment.

    15. The

      This is where the second Putnam's installation begins.

    16. While thinking which of them to select for his purpose, he chanced to observe a sailor seated on the deck engaged in tarring the strap of a large block, a circle of blacks squatted round him inquisitively eying the process.

      Because apparently all modes of knowledge and learning are from white Europeans. Bow down in awe of all their creations Melville says!

    17. He had descended from the poop,

      It's striking how often he references the slave stepping in poop multiple times in association to his actions. "Unwilling to appear uncivil even to incivility itself" sets the constant tone of a racial hierarchy, even to the details of slaves being inescapable from the stench and overall association to savagery in comparison to Melville's protagonists

    18. To procure substitutes for his lost sailors, as well as supplies of water and sails, the captain, at the earliest opportunity, had made for Baldivia, the southernmost civilized port of Chili and South America; but upon nearing the coast the thick weather had prevented him from so much as sighting that harbor. Since which period, almost without a crew, and almost without canvas and almost without water, and, at intervals giving its added dead to the sea, the San Dominick had been battle-dored about by contrary winds, inveigled by currents, or grown weedy in calms. Like a man lost in woods, more than once she had doubled upon her own track.

      Melville's lack of regard for human life is particularly noteworthy here. His metaphor of a man being lost in the woods, whilst embarking on "the most civilized" port of Africa continues the relentless theme of comparing the value of white and black lives throughout the narrative.

    19. Thus, the Spaniard, regarded in his reserve, seemed the involuntary victim of mental disorder

      This echoes an idea from Olaudah Equiano's Slave Narrative in which me constantly refers to the European mindset as a constant victim to their own doings. Tying in the notion of what would be later known as "The White Man's Burden I'm always fascinated by the colonized mentality of a social responsibility over the colonized.

    20. The document selected, from among many others, for partial translation, contains the deposition of Benito Cereno

      It just dawned on me! I've been reading this story wrong all along! Trying to find a way one way or another to equate Don Benito or Captain Delano to be a hero (one of my earlier annotations mentions the lack of a hero in the story), however maybe it is Babo! I villainized him, thinking poor Benito, taken hostage by the pirates. When in actuality, we are talking about slaves redeeming themselves from their captor! What a beautiful thing and truly progressive for Melville's time. This is certainly a concoction of devices by both the "author" and the "implied author!"

    21. “Faithful fellow!” cried Captain Delano. “Don Benito, I envy you such a friend; slave I cannot call him.”

      "This almost overwhelming superiority of the narrator over his characters also puts the reader in a privileged position, though with the unspoken but ever-present condition that he should draw his own conclusions from the extra knowledge imparted to him by the narrator."

      Does the narrator know what is happening aboard this ship? Or only the implied author? The foreshadowing used really only becomes useful once we know the truth, so does the narrator offer us any "privileged position?" Maybe I am the only one who didn't see the end coming....

    22. “But it is Babo here to whom, under God, I owe not only my own preservation, but likewise to him, chiefly, the merit is due, of pacifying his more ignorant brethren, when at intervals tempted to murmurings.”

      "As the characters cannot free themselves from their illusions, it is only to be expected that they should take them for unquestionable reality."

      Don Benito truly begins to act the role he was ordered. And similar to Captain Delano, who at this point is doing great mental gymnastics to avoid the reality that something sinister is going on aboard this ship.

    23. Don Benito faltered; then, like some somnambulist suddenly interfered with, vacantly stared at his visitor, and ended by looking down on the deck. He maintained this posture so long, that Captain Delano, almost equally disconcerted, and involuntarily almost as rude, turned suddenly from him, walking forward to accost one of the Spanish seamen for the desired information. But he had hardly gone five paces, when, with a sort of eagerness, Don Benito invited him back, regretting his momentary absence of mind, and professing readiness to gratify him.

      We never learn what makes any of the characters "tick..."

      "The first part of the novel reproduces letters which Becky and Amelia write to each other. The letter makes it possible to reveal the most intimate thoughts and feelings to such a degree that the reader can learn from the correspondents themselves just who they are and what makes them ‘tick’."

      The way we come into contact with all of the character is very situational, so we never are given any deeper understanding into the workings of their mind and emotions. This device is how the Implied Author is able to pull of such a surprise at the end! Because if we were to have any insight into what was going on in Don Benito's mind, the entire project would have failed.

    24. Benito Cereno been a man of greater energy, misrule would hardly have come to the present pass

      Benito Cereno is likely a man of greater energy, however If "the limitations of the novel are such that one cannot reveal a complete character, it is even more impossible to try to transcribe complete reality." We see this exemplified here and throughout the entire story.

    25. While left alone with them, he was not long in observing some things tending to heighten his first impressions; but surprise was lost in pity, both for the Spaniards and blacks, alike evidently reduced from scarcity of water and provisions; while long-continued suffering seemed to have brought out the less good-natured qualities of the negroes, besides, at the same time, impairing the Spaniard’s authority over them.

      "Vanity Fair seems bent on breaking any such direct contact with the characters, and indeed the narrator frequently goes out of his way to prevent the reader from putting himself in their place."

      I never really identified with Captain Delano while reading the first time. If anything, I empathized more the slaves who would wind up being pirates! Did the Implied Author mean for me not to establish a relationship with Delano? I thought he was a nice guy for taking all those rations and supplies to the ship, but I never had any great connection to him.

    26. Captain Delano sought, with good hopes, to cheer up the strangers

      "Vanity Fair has as the subtitle, A Novel without a Hero , which indicates that the characters are not regarded as representing an ideal, exemplary form of human conduct, as established by the conventions of the eighteenth-century novel. Instead, the reader’s interest is divided between two figures who, despite the contrast in their behavior, can under no circumstances be regarded as complementary or even corrective."

      Is Captain Delano the hero of the novel? Or was he merely good-natured enough to bring supplies to the weary ship and upon leaving, just happened to be the freedom Don Benito was looking for. Is Delano a hero or was he just in the right place at the right time? Is there a difference? He was thrusted into a situation he had no idea was occurring and responded with the well-groomed habits of a true gentleman of his time... but he also saved Benito's life. Hero, or behavioral role model?

    27. Sometimes the negro gave his master his arm, or took his handkerchief out of his pocket for him; performing these and similar offices with that affectionate zeal which transmutes into something filial or fraternal acts in themselves but menial; and which has gained for the negro the repute of making the most pleasing body-servant in the world; one, too, whom a master need be on no stiffly superior terms with, but may treat with familiar trust; less a servant than a devoted companion.

      A devoted companion! The Implied Author strikes again... As readers we really are so blinded by the action that we cannot see the forest through the trees. "The reader can only gain real access to the social reality presented by the implied author, when he follows the adjustments of perspective made by the narrator in viewing the events described. In order to ensure that the reader participates in the way desired, the narrator is set up as a kind of authority between him and the events, conveying the impression that understanding can only be achieved through this medium."

    28. Benito Cereno

      I think this entire work is a vivid example of the work of the Implied Author... ‘‘The ‘implied author’ chooses, consciously or unconsciously, what we read; . . . he is the sum of his own choices. . . ."

      We know so little, nothing, of what is going on between the lines but the Implied Author continues on as if everything is perfectly normal, as he would want us to believe... All of the ship commotion that takes place throughout the text almost serves as a detractor from our point of view of being able to discern the reality ... and the dare i say... "Implied Reality!"

    29. Upon this, the servant looked up with a good-natured grin, but the master started as from a venomous bite. It was a moment or two before the Spaniard sufficiently recovered himself to reply; which he did, at last, with cold constraint:–“Yes, Señor, I have trust in Babo.”

      "The reader of modern novels is deprived of the assistance which the eighteenth-century writer had given him in a variety of devices ranging from earnest exhortation to satire and irony. Instead, he is expected to strive for himself to unravel the mysteries of a sometimes strikingly obscure composition."

      Is Melville giving us clues with Don Benito's "venomous bite?" Are we supposed to be looking between the lines here? Obviously, for the sake of already knowing the ending, it would be beneficial, but was that the author's (notice how I didn't say implied author's) intent?

    30. Here, passing from one suspicious thing to another, his mind revolved the strange questions put to him concerning his ship.

      Do we get unmistakable clues in Benito? Or is it simply irony and foreshadowing that do the job?

      "the reader does have to make his own discoveries, but the author provides him with unmistakable clues to guide him in his search."

    31. as if silent signs, of some Freemason sort, had that instant been interchanged.

      This seems to be a good example of the Implied Author who knows what the meaning behind these Freemason signs is, but doesn't declare it as narrator, or... "This simulated relationship gives the reader the impression that he and the author are partners in discovering the reality of human experience. In this reader-oriented presentation of the world, one can see an historical reflection of the period when the possibility of a priori knowledge was refuted, leaving fiction as the only means of supplying the insight into human nature denied by empirical philosophy."

    32. this appearance was modified, and the true character of the vessel was plain–a Spanish merchantman of the first class, carrying negro slaves, amongst other valuable freight, from one colonial port to another.

      In this sentence the vessel is personified as having a “character” based on the “appearance” of its transportation of slaves. The implication of “appearance” would have a great deal of visual weight for Melville’s audience during the fraught period just before the civil war, when images of the slave ship often circulated as an abolitionist tool. Images—such as the one below—served as a means to quantify the and evoke sympathy for the very human struggle experienced during the middle passage.  

      The subjective qualifications through Melville’s language, and personification of the boats plays in contrast to the objective, quantified, and highly circulated images of the slave ships but to a parallel descriptive effect. Comparatively, both the images and the text from Melville serve as rhetorical objects to discus a moral and factual idea. Interestingly, the slave ship is Spanish, not British, which would have been generally atypical for an American audience; this would conversely create a foreign or exotic relationship to the ship rather than the familiar English slave trade model.

      Wood, Marcus. Blind Memory: visual representations of slavery in England and America 1780-1865. Manchester University Press. Chapter 2.

    33. Declaration of the first witness, DON BENITO CERENO.

      The gear shift in point of view is a little odd. The reader has to figure out who is telling the story from the start, and the abrupt changes in perspective make it less reader-friendly in terms of navigating the text smoothly. Nowhere near impossible, but for the reader who is looking for a casual read, this would not be it.

    34. that when a mulatto has a regular European face, look out for him; he is a devil

      It took me a couple reads to realize that he is referring to a biracial person as the devil because it isn't clear where they stand in terms of the race hierarchy. Given how Babo is manipulating this situation, imagine what kind of chaos a white-passing person of color could induce with their ulterior motives. I find it pretty crazy that people who are biracial still experience certain biases because of it all.

    35. with the strange vanity of a faithful slave, appreciated by his master,

      The phrase "faithful slave" was an incredible oxymoron to find within this text. The term "vanity" was problematic in itself because it perpetuates the idea of slave essentially being products with specific traits/features. As for "faithful slave," they didn't have much of a choice. If they attempted to escape to freedom they would just be brought back or murdered if unsuccessful. Then, when he writes that he was "appreciated by his master," it shows that often these slaves were showed little to no appreciation for their brutal work. This just supports the idea that slaves are animalistic. They're essentially considered to be cattle who wouldn't understand the appreciate, so why should the owners give it? This whole description was just horrific.

    36. “Follow your leader.”

      This whole "follow your leader" motto is super interesting. Although we consider it to be Benito Cereno's motto during the early stages of the story, we quickly learn that Babo was the leader all along. Eventually, Babo faces his tragic ending, followed by Benito Cereno shortly after. So in reality, was Cereno following Babo's orders without any desire to retaliate in any way for personal reasons? The answer appears to be obvious, but considering the ambiguous nature of their relationship, I question whether Cereno was a legitimate hostage in this situation.

    37. Some months after, dragged to the gibbet at the tail of a mule, the black met his voiceless end. The body was burned to ashes

      No matter how many time's I am exposed to this tale, it does not get any easier to decipher. Melville is a master of manipulation in terms of text and the plot, and because of that I have trouble truly perceiving how he feels about these slaves? The density of the text can make it difficult to understand where his commentary is aimed. However, I want to believe the correlating relationship between Babo and Benito Cereno signifies that Melville had a more progressive point of view.

    38. being unwilling to add to the confusion of the decks.

      It's those moments that make me confused concerning the point from which this story is narrated. This seems to be in Delano's viewpoint, staying close to how he might explain his behavior, whereas the more critical/abstracted narrator (who we have encountered before) might add that he also might not want to "expose" "his men" to the "confusion" on the ship.

    39. But if that story was not true, what was the truth? That the ship had unlawfully come into the Spaniard’s possession?

      Refers back to Jenna's comment / quote about him not being able to imagine a revolution.

    40. he began to feel a ghostly dread of Don Benito.

      Is it due the increasing lack of identification he can feel towards the other white captain?

    41. the ship’s so long drifting about.

      I think it would be interesting to look more into the role "the ship" plays in this novella. It's the site that makes all of this possible, like a cut-off "land"/"state"/"society" that has it's own rules which can be changed, object of a revolution "the rest of the world" can't intervene in. At the same time it's interesting how the ship, being exposed to harsh weather, becomes associated with a "state of nature" like condition. ---> Delano interprets it this way: the to him strange society he encounters on the ship derives from the hardships "the ship" has undergone due to the weather and a failure of the "white leadership", instead of the suffering of the enslaved people and them having undertaken a successful revolution.

    42. These Captain Delano could not but ascribe, in the main, to the absence of those subordinate deck-officers to whom, along with higher duties, is intrusted what may be styled the police department of a populous ship.

      The ship as a "city", a "sate", a metaphor for society.

    43. the San Dominick’s suffering

      It's interesting how often the "suffering" is described or taken as an explanation for what happens/happened / for how Delano makes sense of what he discovers—and he's kind of right in his analysis, just that he's not ascribing the suffering to the enslaved people, and doesn't understand the suffering as deriving from their enslavement.

    44. But be all this as it might, whether Don Benito’s manner was designed or not, the more Captain Delano noted its pervading reserve, the less he felt uneasiness at any particular manifestation of that reserve towards himself.

      Striking! It's the first time I feel like the narrating voice is getting "close" to Delano. It is clearly revealed that he identifies with Benito and how his behavior makes him (Delano) feel uncomfortable rather than Delano's thoughts being presented from a distant, nearly "objectivity-pretending" point of view. I think we can learn a lot more about Delano's character from this sentence than he himself might be willing to admit.

    45. indulgent as he was at the first, in judging the Spaniard, he might not, after all, have exercised charity enough

      This impression might be fortified by English not being my first language, but sometimes, like here, I'm wondering if Melville is displaying Delano in a clearly ironic, slightly mocking way? (I hope I'm not embarrassing myself with this comment.)

      This is also just one example for the general difficulties I face with assessing the "tone" of this text. Sometimes I wonder if (or I'm actually pretty sure that) Melville is alluding to attitudes / clichés I don't know or can't understand because I know to little about the discourses of the time he lived and wrote in. (Which is why I find it very hard to do "yahoo"-annotations here, I would really need a research-based annotated version.)

    46. his glance fell upon the row of small, round dead-lights–all closed like coppered eyes of the coffined–and the state-cabin door, once connecting with the gallery, even as the dead-lights had once looked out upon it, but now calked fast like a sarcophagus lid

      Melville imbues this seemingly merely descriptive passage of the state of disarray of the Saint Dominick with foreboding images of death.

      Delano's glance falls on the deadlights, which the OED defines as "a strong wooden or iron shutter fixed outside a cabin-window or port-hole in a storm, to prevent water from entering." He then notes that they are "closed like the coppered eyes of the coffined" referring to the practice of placing coins on the eyes of the dead--a gesture evolved from the ancient Greek tradition of providing a corpse with "Charon's obol" (see reference below)--money to pay the ferryman Charon to cross the River Styx to the underworld. He rounds the passage with an even more final closing of the windows behind the deadlights, noting they are "now calked fast like a sarcophagus lid" and referencing the most lasting of burial options: the stone coffin.

      References to these formal and ancient burial methods serve not only serve as ominous observations, but they provide stark contrast to the grotesque reversal of funerary rites given to Benito Cereno's best friend, Don Alexandro Aranda. Rather than be sealed up and given his fare to the next life, the slaves have laid his bones bare and nailed them to the prow, forcing his spirit ever to wander the sea. In the deposition that follows the initial episode, Cereno reports his desperation over exactly that fate, asking Babo about his friend's remains and "if still on board, whether they were to be preserved for interment ashore, entreating him [Babo] so to order it."

      For more on Charon's obol, see: Stevens, Susan T. “Charon's Obol and Other Coins in Ancient Funerary Practice.” Phoenix, vol. 45, no. 3, 1991, pp. 215–229. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/1088792.

    47. master and man

      This is the fourth use of this phrase to describe the pair of Benito Cereno and Babo, seemingly (respectively) the master and the man.

      Travis has well pointed out that the casting of Babo as a man here separates him from his black shipmates who are regarded as animals--an elevation reinforced by his dress, his language skills, and his proximity to Cereno.

      Beyond its alliterative quality, the phrase's repetition seems certain of the natural order of the perceived relationship. In Delano's eyes, Don Cereno must be the master, and Babo--even as an exception to his race--the man. We learn, of course, that Babo has made himself the master of the man Benito Cereno, which the Norton commentary reminds us is his Cereno's ultimate unmanning. We also learn that Babo is the mastermind of the revolt and perhaps emblematic of enslavement's ultimate undoing--of mastering the "masters."

      (On a side note, the tricky issue of who rules whom in the relationship of "master and man" may be the thematic thread that joins all that I've read of Melville: Bartleby, this, and Moby Dick.)

    48. Egyptian priest

      The reference to the legendary Gordian knot gains greater intratextual significance as Melville places it in the context of the temple of Ammon in Egypt rather than Phrygia (an ancient town in what is now western Turkey) where the knot was severed by Alexander the Great. According to Andrew Collins of the University of Queensland, Alexander traveled to the temple to confirm rumors that he was a son of the Egyptian god Ammon-Ra, which would legitimize his kingship over Egypt as foretold by the act of solving (or dissolving) the Gordian knot.

      The inclusion of that element of the Gordian knot story may suggest a parallel to the genesis of the power struggle in Benito Cereno: the West's claims of superiority and dominion over black Africans, whose roots are found in the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Nubia.

      For more, see: Andrew Collins. “ALEXANDER'S VISIT TO SIWAH: A NEW ANALYSIS.” Phoenix, vol. 68, no. 1/2, 2014, pp. 62–77. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.7834/phoenix.68.1-2.0062.

    49. Ezekiel’s Valley of Dry Bones

      The reference here to the "Valley of the Dry Bones" in Ezekiel may seem paradoxical: after all, this is the sea, with little of anything dry in sight. But the reference has resonance, even beyond the general atmosphere of decay and death Melville has depicted in this story. Bones are mentioned a few times in the text, including when the Bachelor's Delight's longship is described as "warped as a camel's skeleton in the desert" and, more importantly, as the reader learns that the slaves in revolt replaced the Saint Dominick's figurehead carving of Christopher Columbus with the murdered bones of Alexandro Aranda, the slave owner.

      In chapter 37 of the book of Ezekiel, the prophet is brought by God to a valley filled with dried bones. God exhorts him to preach to the bones, to bid them rise up and come alive, to re-incorporate with tenons and muscles and skin and breath, which Ezekiel does. The result in verse 10: "So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army."

      God explains himself in the next two verses, saying to Ezekiel, “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel. They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.’ Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel."

      At the very least, the reference is rich with the connection to what the bones say: "Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off." Certainly, this seems true for Benito Cereno, cut off from all hope, as the reader finds him a few pages later.

      The full nature of this reference, though, may have two distinct meanings: one seen through the eyes of the Westerners and one through the eyes of the slaves. To the Westerners (including Delano and Benito), the reference may suggest that the slave revolt will be ultimately unsuccessful. That the bones will figuratively rise up (with the help of the "army" of Delano's crew) and restore hope in the system in which Europeans and Americans enslave. But through the eyes of the slaves, alike to the Israelites in their own history with enslavement, this may portend the ultimate wrath of God against the perpetrators of the institution of slavery.

    50. “Your ships generally go–go more or less armed, I believe, Señor?”

      This is a true red flag that these weapons are going to be used! It is a pivotal point in the story, because as readers we now hear the suspicious Don Benito asking about Delano's arms. What's ironic is that Delano doesn't spend much time pondering that exchange as much as he does others that were less exciting.

    51. negress

      I had a hard time reading this word and the male equivalent over and over, so I googled this term to see is there was anything remotely useful about its historicity or anything of the like. I found this sculpture/bust... https://www.wga.hu/html_m/c/carpeaux/negress.html

      Fortunately, the artist, Carpeaux, wanted to expose the horrors of slavery with its depiction.

    52. reconnoitres

      I thought this was French at first, but it is "an act of reconnoitring; a reconnaissance (OED)," which refers to making a military observation or gathering intelligence.

    53. “Master wouldn’t part with Babo for a thousand doubloons,”

      I love the foreshadowing here. I remember feeling uneasy when I first read this line. It is as if we can see Babo's lying eyes at this part.

    54. “Or else–give way for your lives,” he wildly added, starting at a clattering hubbub in the ship, above which rang the tocsin of the hatchet-polishers; and seizing Don Benito by the throat he added, “this plotting pirate means murder!” Here, in apparent verification of the words, the servant, a dagger in his hand, was seen on the rail overhead, poised, in the act of leaping, as if with desperate fidelity to befriend his master to the last; while, seemingly to aid the black, the three white sailors were trying to clamber into the hampered bow. Meantime, the whole host of negroes, as if inflamed at the sight of their jeopardized captain, impended in one sooty avalanche over the bulwarks.

      The ultimate dash of irony in the story... poor Captain Delano is still ignorant to what is really happening and has truly given in to his suspicions that Don Benito has ulterior motives. It was hard keeping up with the action in this part because as readers we are clueless too.

    55. The ship was now within less than two miles of the sealer. The whale-boat was seen darting over the interval. To be brief, the two vessels, thanks to the pilot’s skill, ere long neighborly style lay anchored together.

      This ends the 2nd part of the serialization in the November, 1855 issue of Putnam's.

      “Benito Cereno.” Putnam’s Monthly, vol. 6, no. 35, Nov. 1855, pp. 459–473. EBSCOhost, proxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=h9k&AN=51987907&site=ehost-live.

      And for me, the final issue released in December, 1855 provides the most exciting part of the story.

      “Benito Cereno.” Putnam’s Monthly, vol. 6, no. 36, Dec. 1855, pp. 633–644. EBSCOhost, proxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=h9k&AN=51987846&site=ehost-live.

      Also published in the December, 1855 issue was an article titled "About Niggers" About Niggers.” Putnam’s Monthly, vol. 6, no. 36, Dec. 1855, pp. 608–612. EBSCOhost, proxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=h9k&AN=51987882&site=ehost-live. Which I will read as soon as I finish my annotations for this week to understand more about the context of these being published.

    56. Such were the American’s thoughts. They were tranquilizing. There was a difference between the idea of Don Benito’s darkly pre-ordaining Captain Delano’s fate, and Captain Delano’s lightly arranging Don Benito’s. Nevertheless, it was not without something of relief that the good seaman presently perceived his whale-boat in the distance. Its absence had been prolonged by unexpected detention at the sealer’s side, as well as its returning trip lengthened by the continual recession of the goal.

      I'm interested to know about how Melville chose to serialize the story of Benito Cereno and decided to end the first part with this. Did word counts have an impact on how much could be published in one issue? As a reader at the time, this paragraph would leave me wanting more.

      This ends the first part of Benito Cereno released in Putnam's Monthly: “Benito Cereno.” Putnam’s Monthly, vol. 6, no. 34, Oct. 1855, pp. 353–367. EBSCOhost, proxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=h9k&AN=51987975&site=ehost-live.

    57. Newfoundland dog

      First of two references to Newfoundland dog. This breed seems to have been seen on European ships from the 17th century onward. One sources I consulted stated that these dogs are very good swimmers and had saved men from drowning.

      The Credo Reference database provides the following description: "Newfoundland, breed of dog from The Columbia Encyclopedia breed of massive, powerful working dog developed in Newfoundland, probably in the 17th cent., and later perfected in England. It stands from 25 to 28 in. (63.5–71.1 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs from 110 to 150 lb (49.9–68.1 kg). Its dense, flat-lying coat is coarse and rather oily and is usually a dull jet black in color. The Landseer type of Newfoundland is one in which the color is other than solid black, the most frequent being black with white markings. The precise origin of the Newfoundland is obscure, but the most convincing evidence points to the crossbreeding of arctic and other dogs native to Newfoundland with the ship dogs of European fishermen. Specimens of the resulting breed, similar to the modern variety but smaller, were then brought to England, where their size and appearance were refined. The Newfoundland is an excellent water dog and has been used to rescue drowning people. It also has been a popular draft animal, particularly on its native island. Today it is raised for show competition and as a family companion, being especially gentle with children. See dog."

      "Newfoundland, breed of dog." The Columbia Encyclopedia, Paul Lagasse, and Columbia University, Columbia University Press, 8th edition, 2018. Credo Reference, http://proxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/columency/newfoundland_breed_of_dog/0?institutionId=577. Accessed 10 Oct. 2018.

      "A Newfoundland dog on a seashore." Bridgeman Images: Christies Collection, edited by Bridgeman Images, 1st edition, 2014. Credo Reference, http://proxy.library.nyu.edu/login?url=https://search.credoreference.com/content/entry/bridgemanchris/a_newfoundland_dog_on_a_seashore/0?institutionId=577. Accessed 10 Oct. 2018.

    58. Lascars or Manilla men, the impression varies in a peculiar way from that produced by first entering a strange house with strange inmates in a strange land

      Exotic description, yet known to a sealer like Captain Delano. I had to look up "Lascars" (sailors from the Indian Subcontinent, Southeast Asia, or the Arab World -- according to Wikipedia, but the Princeton Companion to Atlantic History refers to them as "locally recruited guards, soldiers, and sailors in the service of the trading companies operating there" which "there" is referring to India and points East) and I'm assuming Manilla men refers to those from Manila, but I'm not entirely sure due to the spelling discrepancy.

    59. white-washed monastery after a thunder-storm, seen perched upon some dun cliff among the Pyrenees

      The ship is referred to like a sacred vessel and I can envision the sight as Delano makes the journey toward Benito Cerano's ship.

    60. Peering over the bulwarks were what really seemed, in the hazy distance, throngs of dark cowls; while, fitfully revealed through the open port-holes, other dark moving figures were dimly descried, as of Black Friars pacing the cloisters.

      Juxtaposition of visual descriptions is striking.

    61. the head, that hive of subtlety, fixed on a pole in the Plaza, met, unabashed, the gaze of the whites;

      This final gruesome image recapitulates the moral ambiguities and multiple power reversals in the narrative. Ostensibly serving as a warning to other slaves in Lima, it is an example of an old practice in European cultures of "piking" the heads of executed convicts and enemies of the state in the public square.* As an anticipatory corrective, the practice exemplifies the physical and psychological brutality of white Christian and Catholic slave-owning colonists.

      Conversely, although Babo's body has been dispensed with in a most "un-Christian" manner, (unlike, at long last, his master's) his head -- that "hive of subtlety"-- embodies the colonists' capacity for barbarity and inhumane treatment of those who do not conform to the roles and rules maintaining order. Meeting "unabashed, the gaze of the whites," and addressing his ostensible superiors on their level (albeit voicelessly) Babo's open-eyed, disembodied head remains one of the most chilling images in the novella-- one that readers encounter last, and perhaps are more likely to remember. In this way Babo ironically has "the last word" although it is nevertheless a pyrrhic victory.

      *An image from the French Revolution demonstrates how the aristocracy was made to epitomize "enemies of the state," when the French people redefined the body politic, turned the tables of power, and marched with their rulers' heads on spikes.

    62. Battered and mouldy, the castellated forecastle seemed some ancient turret, long ago taken by assault, and then left to decay. Toward the stern, two high-raised quarter galleries–the balustrades here and there covered with dry, tindery sea-moss–opening out from the unoccupied state-cabin,

      Captain Delano's initial descriptions of the San Dominick, the initial descriptions of those on board, the ship's stasis in an extended calm (allegedly returning north from a voyage in the extreme southern region of the ocean -- near the South Pole), the alleged death of crew and passengers from lack of water, and the "strange fowl" accompanying the ship, are all reminiscent of passages in Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner )(1798) - especially Parts 2-4. Rime was first published a year before the setting of Benito Cereno.

    63. Ashantee conjurors

      The reference to the Ashantee (now called the Ashanti) here and throughout the story is noteworthy. The source material for Benito Cereno, Chapter 18 of Amasa Delano's Narrative of Voyages and Travels, in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, notes only that the slaves on the boat were from Ghana, never specifying any distinct groups of people therein.

      The Ashanti were an ethnic group in what is now southern Ghana who gained power through conquest and who themselves relied on enslaved labor (often of those they conquered). Scholars argue about the degree to which their practices of enslavement were similar to or influenced by that of the Europeans, though most agree that Ashanti slaves were allowed freedoms such as marriage and paths toward emancipation.

      Identifying the hatchet polishers aboard the Saint Dominick as Ashanti may, in one fell swoop, indicate their ability to fight back as well as their profound recognition of what it is to be enslaved.

      For more, see "Britain and the Suppression of Slavery in the Gold Coast, Ashanti, and Northern Territories" in The End of Slavery in Africa (https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=G3VSwvEG4QcC&oi=fnd&pg=PR4&dq=ashanti+slavery&ots=EISRfyD_cS&sig=634EUNacTmb-ieHSV5R89VnlNOQ#v=onepage&q=ashanti%20slavery&f=false)

    64. spectacle of fidelity

      Upon revisiting the text, it seems that there are clues that Delano should or somewhere inside himself did pick up on what was going on. Or perhaps the idea of a liberated slave ship was too ludicrous to take seriously. Delia Steverson shines the lens of the Haitian revolution on the novella,

      Immediately recognizing the ship as a slave vessel, Delano reads the unfettered slaves as simply having a trusting master who allows them relative free range on the ship. Delano meets the captain of the San Dominick, Don Benito Cereno, who is in constant companionship with a slave named Babo. Captain Delano cannot make sense of the many strange occurrences aboard the ship, including why the slaves seem to have so much freedom, why Benito Cereno seems to possess the “involuntary victim of mental disorder,” and why Benito Cereno’s crew was so small (Melville 44). It is not until he is attacked by the mutineers that Delano realizes Benito Cereno was not a gracious slave master, but rather a helpless hostage being held captive aboard his own ship.

      It's like a turn on The Emperor Has No Clothes. It should be completely obvious that Babo has all the clothes, and yet white colonial ignorance cannot imagine or see the possibility.

      Steverson, Delia. “‘Everything Gray’: Polygenism and Racial Perception in Herman Melville’s ‘Benito Cereno.’” The Journal of American Culture; Malden, vol. 40, no. 2, June 2017, pp. 169–77.

    65. lethargic, somnambulistic character

      This description got me curious about Melville's relationship to gothic literature, so I did a search in my (other) library's federated search and found that < melville benito cereno gothic > yielded 583 results.

      Citing Sara Mills, Justin D. Edwards draws attention to the us vs. them narrative in Benito Cereno.

      "For Melville, I suggest, the coupling of the two forms was possible because they were both filtered through a racialized lens. For instance, the structures of difference that are central to nineteenthcentury travel narratives— the narrative necessity of providing a gap between 'us' and 'them'— can also be found at the heart of Benito Cereno (Sara Mills 23)." Edwards, Justin D.. Gothic Passages : Racial Ambiguity and the American Gothic, University of Iowa Press, 2005. ProQuest Ebook Central, http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/columbia/detail.action?docID=837041. Created from columbia on 2018-10-06 15:39:04.

      He goes on to discuss violence, ignorance, and revolt in the power dynamic between Babo and Delano. That's not strictly gothic, but the elements are not far removed.

    66. splenetic disrelish

      The juicy phrase "splenetic disrelish" also appears in

      an 1815 sermon Family Lectures: Or, a Copious Collection of Sermons on Faith and Practice, Etc. F. C. and J. Rivington, 1815.

      a poetry chapbook “NOTHWITHSTANDING Shoring, FLUMMOX by Emily Abendroth.” Issuu, https://issuu.com/dawnpendergast/docs/abendroth-issuu. Accessed 6 Oct. 2018.

      a page of baffling nefarity Astrophysics Research Creatine Express Loading Product Results Reviews. http://votacymu.awardspace.com/astrophysics-research.html. Accessed 6 Oct. 2018.

      A political blog from South Africa Mazibuko: W(h)Ither the Truth? | Thought Leader. https://thoughtleader.co.za/tracyhumby/2014/05/19/mazibuko-whither-the-truth/. Accessed 6 Oct. 2018.

    67. By his side stood a black of small stature, in whose rude face, as occasionally, like a shepherd’s dog, he mutely turned it up into the Spaniard’s, sorrow and affection were equally blended.

      Delano's reading of the "small black" man's "equal" "sorrow and affection" is suspect as Delano himself in the next paragraph blunders over with sympathy and the desire to help.

    68. malign evil

      Why this redundancy? What would a benign evil look like? From the Oxford Engligh Dictionary, as far back as 1350, [malign] (http://www.oed.com.ezproxy.cul.columbia.edu/view/Entry/112922?rskey=3OVGlB&result=1#eid) means "Of a thing: evil in nature and effects; baleful, gravely injurious. Of sin: †heinous (obsolete)."

      Sorry to use a Columbia proxy, rather than CUNY. I don't know which is my network username/pw. :(

    69. Chili

      I was curious about Melville's spelling of Chili (vs. Chile), so I endeavored to find out if that was a 19th century spelling. Finding articles about the country vs. the pepper proved difficult, until I remembered my Boolean logic. < (chile AND chili) NOT pepper*) >. That didn't help much either, at least not in Oxford Reference. The OED was a fail, too. I tried to trick Google into Booleaning for me: < (chile | chili) -pepper >, but it wasn't having it, so I ended up back where I started: Wikipedia, where the first subheading is Etymology. I find their description plausible and reliably cited:

      There are various theories about the origin of the word Chile. According to 17th-century Spanish chronicler Diego de Rosales,[15] the Incas called the valley of the Aconcagua "Chili" by corruption of the name of a Picunche tribal chief ("cacique") called Tili, who ruled the area at the time of the Incan conquest in the 15th century.[16][17] Another theory points to the similarity of the valley of the Aconcagua with that of the Casma Valley in Peru, where there was a town and valley named Chili.[17]

      15 "Chile.com.La Incógnita Sobre el Origen de la Palabra Chile". Chile.com. 15 June 2000. Archived from the original on 15 April 2009. Retrieved 17 December 2009 16 Encyclopædia Britannica. "Picunche (people) – Britannica Online Encyclopedia". Britannica.com. Retrieved 17 December 2009. 17 Encina, Francisco A., and Leopoldo Castedo (1961). Resumen de la Historia de Chile. 4th ed. Santiago. I. Zig-Zag. p. 44

      Today's version of the Wikipedia entry https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Chile&oldid=862682987

    70. Captain Delano’s nature was not only benign, but familiarly and humorously so. At home, he had often taken rare satisfaction in sitting in his door, watching some free man of color at his work or play. If on a voyage he chanced to have a black sailor, invariably he was on chatty and half-gamesome terms with him. In fact, like most men of a good, blithe heart, Captain Delano took to negroes, not philanthropically, but genially, just as other men to Newfoundland dogs.

      Delano's "singular good nature" is not exempt from the dehumanizing aspects of American racism endemic of the setting of the work (or, indeed, of the time of its composition). Alongside his ease with assisting Benito's ship (and thus the slave trade that it facilitates), Delano's perception of African peoples stereotypes them as 'animalistic' and simple. That is, he participates in the 18th-19th century of perception that contributes to the perception of Africans and those of African descent as subhuman.

    71. Past all speech

      Double-entendre playing upon the mixture of metaphorical and literal interpretation. The literal "hard gales" that Delano understands are metaphorically beyond speech in his interpretation of Cereno. But the metaphorical "gales" that Cereno has experienced are literally "Past all speech" for him due to the risk a truthful account poses on his life.

      It is curious to note that Cereno must frequently speak with irony due to his powerless state and inability to honestly converse with Delano. Many of his statements deploy a conscious attempt to possess dual interpretations. Yet, as the novella progresses and Delano remains oblivious, it becomes questionable whom the alternative interpretations are directed towards. Does his lack of power and forced state of dishonesty provoke a desire to convey some form of truth, regardless of the recipient?

    72. Gordian knots for the temple of Ammon

      Reference to the legend of the Gordian Knot: an unsolvable knot that could never be untied. Upon being presented the knot, Alexander the Great allegedly drew his sword and cut the knot to pieces, effectively 'undong' the knot.

    73. Undo it, cut it

      The legend of the Gordian Knot can typically be moralized into the following truism: a difficult problem is most commonly solved through methods outside of convention. An offhand interpretation would suggest that Delano must examine his circumstances through a lens different than he is accustomed to.

      However, to 'cut' the knot would ultimately destroy it. The statement equates the act of destruction with the act of "undo[ing]." What is intended by unraveling a knot? Does one simply wish to remove it or do they seek to preserve the rope as well?

      For the sailor and Delano, we know it is in their best interest to merely destroy the knot (consider the ending). But, taking the knot as allusive to "Benito Cereno" itself, the answer is less conclusive. Does the reader benefit more from simply "cut[ing]" the novel and removing its knot? Or do they seek to merely 'unravel' it and preserve the story?

    74. jamming-knot
    75. back-handed-well-knot
    76. treble-crown-knot
    77. double-bowline-knot
    1. Artifact Type: Syllabus Source URL: http://engl165lg.wordpress.com/ Creator: Amanda Phillips (University of California-Davis)


    2. personally expressive and politically powerful

      like zines!

    3. Source URL: http://www.auntiepixelante.com/twine/

      note to self

    4. http://www.zachwhalen.net/posts/how-to-make-a-twitter-bot-with-google-spreadsheets-version-04

      useful for automating tweets?

    5. Liss LaFleur

      Lady-sounding name. See also Fleur Delacour.

    6. Written while Owens was a digital archivist at the Library of Congress, this tutorial introduces the idea of glitching—intentionally corrupting a digital artifact—as a kind of playful deformance. Such intrusive digital interventions can serve a forensics purpose by exposing underlying metadata, but they can also defamiliarize the digital media in question. Owens walks through the glitching of music and image files. This process could be easily expanded to include other media types, including audiobooks, PDFs, and EPUBs, all very much of interest in a literature classroom.

      definitely deformative

    7. anyone who has played Euchre

      who in this class has played euchre?

    8. learning is not so much the opposite of play as it is zombie play, a jerky, lurching automatic response devoid of vision, passion, and awareness

      seems like an overstatement to me

    9. Learning in higher education is governed by rules though, however arbitrary and make-believe those rules may be.

      LOL make-believe rules of higher education.

    10. the thinking goes,

      simplistic, straw person

    11. play is defined by six key elements: play is voluntary, separate from other aspects of life, uncertain, unproductive, governed by rules, and simultaneously more or less dependent upon make-believe (9-10). When any one of these elements is violated, play is no longer play. It is work.

      Note to self: think about in the context of zines. They are voluntary and uncertain. They are not separate, productive, governed by rules, dependent on make believe. But the spirit of this definition feels right.

    1. One might, for example, speak to a microphone, in the manner described in connection with the speech controlled typewriter, and thus make his selections. It would certainly beat the usual file clerk.

      The note of technocratic celebration is so striking here in the age of Alexa and Siri. Now that we're all thinking about "weapons of math destruction" and the asymmetries that characterize the relationship between ordinary citizens and Big Data in so many contexts, it's strange to hear this sunny celebration of frictionless data in the hands of, well, everyone.

    1. What’s striking about annotation at the present time is how ubiquitous it is—indeed it is so common that it is almost becoming invisible.

      Expanding the definition and media of "annotation" really reveals how it ingrained it has become, at least in our electronic lives. If annotation becomes widely understood on these terms as no longer a text-based, academic activity, I wonder if or how that will increase public participation in collaborative models of knowledge and creative production. (I also wonder if or how it will prompt an increase in personal reflection on what we read in our analog lives, and what impact that could have).

    2. self-publication

      What does he mean by "self-publication." Is "vanity press" implied? Amateur? Ego-driven?

    1. its reading is semelfactive (this rendering illusory any inductive-deductive science of texts -- no 'grammar' of the text) and nevertheless woven entirely with citations, references, echoes, cultural languages (what language is not?), a

      Slightly confused. Would this indicate the eradication of individualized "text" based on the fact that no difference is truly identifiable in the context of written language and experience? Is this about format or expression?

    2. What History, our History, allows us today is merely to slide, to vary, to exceed, to repudiate.

      Interesting.. complacency or something deeper? Rather than replicate according to our past, how can we remodel something new while still valuing the work of our past?

    3. Text

      note the capitalization of the term. What power do we give words when we capitalize the text. When is it considered incorrect?

    4. integrally symbolic nature is a text. Thus is the Text restored to language

      Is there friction between language and signage? Text seems to evoke the critical questions and difficulties of the symbolic signifier while living in the beautiful explicability of language in use

    5. Text should itself be nothing other than text, research, textual activity

      reading is writing

    6. legality of the relation of author to work

      A very cold way to comprehend the symbiosis of language, text, and authorship as he next calls it an "organism", and yet it is the only way we define it - a failure of signification

    7. Text in the musical sense of the term

      Also thinking about literary texts planted into Genius like I commented on the Blog

    8. structurally, there is no difference between 'cultured reading and casual reading in trains

      Text is Text is Text is Text

    9. I cannot re-write them (that it is impossible today to write 'like that'

      Three thoughts on this:

      1. Maybe writing "like that" is exactly why something should be re-written. Also: re-writing could be mean semi-translating, like No Fear Shakespeare; re-writing the content, like a movie remake; or transcribing the same words into a new medium, like typing up a handwritten document
      2. What actually constitutes "re-writing"? Can't criticism be re-writing when it permanently alters the way readers approach a text?
      3. Fun Fact: Nabokov hated Dostoyevsky and hoped to fully re-write Crime and Punishment
    10. Certainly there exists a pleasure of the work (of certain works)

      I feel as though "(of certain works)" is trivial considering the obvious factor that this whole idea is very subjective?

    11. In fact, reading, in the sense of consuming, is far from playing with the text. 'Playing' must be understood here in all its polysemy: the text itself plays (like a door, like a machine with 'play')

      Uhhh, I'm sorry sir, but how do you read something and not play with the text? Just looking for commonalities and literary device could be considered "playing" so?

    12. The Text, on the contrary, practises the infinite deferment of the signified

      In an ironic turn of events, chrome decided that my laptop would type backwards just when I began commenting on the signifier and the signified. I'm going to leave it as is because (ha ha) signage of Text is slippery, undefinable, and ultimately arbitrary and meaningless

      eno evcisule na si stniap BR txeT eht ,eromrehtruF .sreifingis rehto fo noitalumucca eht yb deifingis eb ylno dluoc txeT

    13. involves a certain experience of limits

      I like this idea of Text as a paradoxical object that operates within limits but across categories, genres, social function, etc., while defying a snobby insularity. It's like a metaphysical, literary easter egg.

    14. the work can be held in the hand, the text is held in language, only exists in the movement of a discourse (or rather, it is Text for the very reason that it knows itself as text);

      Would text on a hand-held device not be considered cultural or language then? Weird.

    15. reader and observe

      Noteworthy that as separate categories, reader and observer become distinct parameters or roles within and without a text's theoretical boundaries. Is it in the era of Freud and Marx that there is such thing as the observer-ly text? or observer-ly language?

      Or did Barthes forget his oxford comma?

    16. The Text is not to be thought of as an object that can be computed.

      Okay, but think about reserving your treasured classics. Archiving and creating digital copies is a way to immortalize these texts. Also, text mining opens us up to so many other possibilities in terms of understanding a text, as well as the writer behind the text. I know Barthes is pretty far back in terms of how far technology has evolved but still there was a lot of potential. I need to end this comment before I keep going.

      All in all, Computing + Text = Harmony.

    17. I also know that I cannot re-write them (that it is impossible today to write 'like that') and this knowledge, depressing enough, suffices to cut me off from the production of these works

      I am wondering about the relationship between text and e.g. a painting, a photograph etc. here—or could a painting also be a text in Barthes's understanding here? The thought came to my mind, because this description reminds me of the sadness I often experience when I encounter paintings in museums: I would argue that this form of art is very hard to grasp, very un-democratic, because I am stuck in the position of the "consumer". I cannot read a painting out loud, I cannot really copy it, I cannot paint on (annotate) it....

    18. reading and writing were equally privileges of class

      Just 2 notes/annotations as I would write them in the margins of a book:

      • book as means of democratization
      • internet goes even further

      (Ha, and if this was an actual book, I would have now drawn an arrow from "democratization" to the next sentence by Barthes, who is then also mentioning "democracy".)

    19. the I which writes the text, it too, is never more than a paper-I.

      Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes (once again): "Once I produce, once I write, it is the Text itself which (fortunately) disposseses me of my narrative continuity. The Text can recount nothing; it takes my body elsewhere, far from my imaginary person, toward a kind of memoryless speech which is already the speech of the People, of the non-subjective mass (or of the generalized subject), even if I am still separated form it by my way of writing."

    20. his life is no longer the origin of his fictions but a fiction contributing to his work; there is a reversion of the work on to the life (and no longer the contrary)

      ...because once in this world, the text is it's own object/subject? Anyway, this is a beautiful thought.

    21. t is not that the Author may not 'come back' in the Text, in his text, but he then does so as a 'guest'. If he is a novelist, he is inscribed in the novel like one of his characters, figured in the carpet; no longer privileged, paternal, aletheological, his inscription is ludic.

      A reference to the "Death of the Author" (Barthes, 1967) too?

    22. there may be 'text' in a very ancient work, while many products of contemporary literature are in no way texts

      If only he would provide examples!

      --- This also brings Benjamin's differentiation between communication (storytelling) and information to mind. I wonder where Barthes would locate his understanding of text within Benjamin's conception of information.

    23. new object and a new language neither of which has a place in the field of the sciences that were to be brought peacefully together

      It might seem like a pretty basic insight, but I have never read someone so clearly stating that disciplines develop entire languages (as opposed to the use of certain terms), and I think it's important to be aware of this as scholars.

    24. It is a fact that over the last few years a certain change has taken place (or is taking place) in our conception of language and, consequently, of the literary work which owes at least its phenomenal existence to this same language

      I'm wondering if there has ever been a time in human history where this assessment could not have been made? If I wouldn't just have read that this was published in 1977, I would've thought it was written yesterday.

    25. The intertextual in which every text is held, it itself being the text-between of another text, is not to be confused with some origin of the text: to try to find the 'sources', the 'influences' of a work, is to fall in with the myth of filiation; the citations which go to make up a text are anonymous, untraceable, and yet already read: they are quotations without inverted commas.

      If the internet (I mean the actual internet) would have a subtitle, this could be it, right?! Or at least: this seems to be a description as well as an analysis of a lot of writing/commenting/etc. that happens online.

    26. paradoxical

      Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes (1975/77): "The Doxa speaks, I hear it, but I am not within its space. A man of paradox, like any writer, I am indeed behind the door; certainly I should like to pass through, certainly I should like to see what is being said, I too participate in the communal scene; I am constantly listening to what I am excluded from; I am in a stunned state, dazed, cut off from the popularity of language." (p.123)

    27. doxa

      Roland Barthes in Roland Barthes by Roland Barthes (1975/77): "The Doxa (a word which will often recur) is Public Opinion, the mind of the majority, petit bourgeois Consensus, the Voice of Nature, the Violence of Prejudice. We can call (using Leibnitz's word) a doxology any way of speaking adapted to appearance, to opinion, or to practice." (p.47)

      (I know this is by far not enough to understand his use of the term, but maybe a helpful starting point?)

    28. The reduction of reading to a consumption is clearly responsible for the Boredom' experienced by many in the face of the modern ('unreadable') text, the avant-garde film or painting: to be bored means that one cannot produce the text, open it out, set it going.

      Since first reading this a few days ago, I've come to be a bit obsessed with the metaphor of the oued. I realize, now, that Barthes disdain in these lines for avant-garde works may be because rather than provide the viewer with representation "half identifiable" from "codes which are known" but with unique combinations, they are unidentifiable or from codes unknown. Alien, truly.

    29. The Text is not to be thought of as an object that can be computed

      A powerful statement for DH to reckon with.

    30. I cannot re-write them


    31. a pleasure of consumption

      Does annotation--especially social annotation--make reading a pleasure of production? If so, would that be a good or a bad thing--for Barthes? For you?

    32. critic executes the work

      Barthes is not thinking about this valence, but the phrase makes me think of the three permissions levels that structure access to texts in UNIX: read/write/execute. Readers of the "work" have read-only access: they consume it without inscribing it. Execute permission allows changes to the operating system itself: the energy of the passage points us towards hacking texts at this root level...

    33. the following are not argumentations but enunciations, 'touches', approaches that consent to remain metaphorical.

      And as such, the form of his essay is in keeping with the topic, both a bit slippery?

    34. the 'interpreter', who is called on to be in some sort the co-author of the score, completing it rather than giving it 'expression'. The Text is very much a score of this new kind: it asks of the reader a practical collaboration.

      This could be the slogan for our course! Doing things with novels means engaging them in a "practical collaboration," not only with the text but with other writer/readers.

    35. to abolish (or at the very least to diminish) the distance between writing and reading

      I hope y'all can feel the force of using hypothes.is on this text in particular: we are engaging in precisely the kind of work/play that RB assigns to the world of the "text."

    36. It is not that the Author may not 'come back' in the Text, in his text, but he then does so as a 'guest'. If he is a novelist, he is inscribed in the novel like one of his characters, figured in the carpet; no longer privileged, paternal, aletheological, his inscription is ludic.

      I love this passage. Once you publish something, it ceases to be yours, or at least exclusively yours. If you return to it, you are just another reader or critic. Think of all the readings you've been to when someone from the peanut gallery disagrees with the author's take on the motives of a character or the after-life of the plot! In a few weeks, we will literalize this idea via the Ivanhoe concept, having Melville visit Billy Budd as a "guest" among its characters, narrator, critics, editors, etc.

    37. the stereographic plurality of its weave of signifiers (etymologically, the text is a tissue, a woven fabric).

      Man, the metaphors are thick on the ground here! The stereograph is a 19thC cultural technology that shows the viewer two images in an apparatus they look through to create the illusion of depth. RBs point here is that the coherence of the "text," such as it is, is constantly drawn back into the "plurality" of the "weave" that creates it.

    38. the sign. The work closes on a signified

      Note that this section is really obscure if you haven't read the work of Ferdinand de Sassure, a Swiss linguist who basically created "semiotics," the systematic study of sign-systems, and whose influence on Barthes is enormous. RBs basic point is that, following Saussure, the "sign" in a symbolic system (say, language) is composed of two components: a "signifier," which is the material inscribed word or aural sound, and a "siginified," which is the meaning conventionally associated with that sound or combination of letters. The "work," for RB, gives up its "signified," its meaning or interpretation, after the critical labor of exegesis (THE ODYSSEY shows the emergence of "civilization," in all its discontents, from the spontaneity of kinship-based cultures), whereas the "text" remains in the field of the signifier in a field of "play" that resists reduction to a meaning (Gertrude Stein, "a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose...").

    39. its constitutive movement is that of cutting across (in particular, it can cut across the work, several works).  

      Reminiscent of the roughly contemporary statement by Derrida that "there is nothing outside the text" (il n'y a pas de hors-texte: really "there is no outside-text"). In other words, textuality is a web that can't be contained within the hermetic walls of a book's covers; all textuality bleeds over into other texts. RBs reading does not go quite so far, in that he emphasizes the position of texts that pretend, as it were, to be "works" that are hermetic and separable.

    40. it is the work that is the imaginary tail of the Text

      That is a super cute metaphor and encapsulates the entire set of oppositions RB develops here: a) the priority of text over work; b) text as living process v. work as epiphenomenal thing.

    1. Text

      note the capitalization of the term. What power do we give words when we capitalize the text. When is it considered incorrect?

    2. This is what happens in the Text: it can be Text only in its difference (which does not mean its individuality); its reading is semelfactive (which renders any inductive-deductive science of texts illusory: no "grammar" of the text) and yet entirely woven of quotations, references, echoes: cultural languages (what language is not cultural?), antecedent or contemporary, which traverse it through and through, in a vast stereophony.

      Slightly confused. Would this indicate the eradication of individualized "text" based on the fact that no difference is truly identifiable in the context of written language and experience? Is this about format or expression?

    3. What History, our History, allows us today is merely to displace, to vary, to transcend, to repudia

      Interesting.. complacency or something deeper? Rather than replicate according to our past, how can we remodel something new while still valuing the work of our past?

    4. The transformation of the notion of the work does not necessarily derive from the internal renewal of each of these disciplines, but rather from their intersection at the level of an object which traditionally proceeds from none of them. We might say, as a matter of fact, that interdisciplinary activity, today so highly valued in research, cannot be achieved by the simple confrontation of specialized branches of knowledge; the inter-disciplinary is not a comfortable affair: it begins effectively (and not by the simple utterance of a pious hope) when the solidarity of the old disciplines breaks down-perhaps even violently, through the shocks of fashion-to the advantage of a new object, a new language, neither of which is precisely this discomfort of classification which permits diagnosing a certain mutation

      Meaning of "text" within this context.. as a mention to any physical expression to literature? What does it mean to so broaden the term?



    1. An individual annotator may choose a subjective approach, but the teamwork of collaborative annotation is in need of principles that make the approach more objective.

      truth in numbers

    2. idea of how annotation becomes most trustworthy and authoritative will influence how we organize its practice.

      I have never thought of the annotation as something that needed to be "trustworthy" or "authoritative" - it seems this would make it a method of reading more or less unaccessible to the non-expert lay-annotator

  5. Sep 2018
    1. the Text is that social space which leaves no language safe, outside, nor any subject of the enunciation in position as judge, master, analyst, confessor, decoder.

      I wonder if Barthes would feel elated or appalled at the digitization of social reading. His line about what schools were teaching in the 70s suggests he would be disgusted. But his line here, if he truly believes that the text leaves no language safe, would suggest he would embrace it. Maybe he'd just go smoke some Gauloises.

    2. a pleasure of consumption

      Yes, and it's a pleasure particularly highlighted by the closing of a the physical book, as if ready to cast it off (or entomb it on the shelves). He makes a good point here that the text gives a different joy in that it lasts and continues to provide pleasure in its many manifestations.

    3. why not?

      Didn't he just point out that taste that arbitrates "good" literature is antithetical to real reading?

    4. In fact, reading, in the sense of consuming, is far from playing with the text.

      Much like listening to music is different from interpreting it in performance, as we've discussed in class.

      (I've since then come to believe that if we want readers to be discussing the variations of interpretations of text the way they would, say, the etudes of Chopin, that we'd better start a trend of audio short stories or even flash fiction.)

    5. while the Marxist interpretation of works, so far resolutely monistic, will be able to materialize itself more by pluralizing itself (if, however, the Marxist 'institutions' allow it).

      Funny that he puts this parenthetical about whether an institution will allow such plurality here instead of after the phrase about religion. By the 70s, had the Marxists outstripped organized religion in its intransigence?

    6. My name is Legion: for we are many.'

      Or, to quote without looking up Stephen Mitchell's translation of the Bhagavad Gita: "These are just a few of my many manifestations. Were I to tell them all, there would be no end to the telling."

    7. to try to find the 'sources', the 'influences' of a work, is to fall in with the myth of filiation;

      Yes!!! (And yet, I still do it.)

    8. The difference is this: the work is a fragment of substance, occupying a part of the space of books (in a library for example), the Text is a methodological field.

      My mind leaps directly to "the work" as the idea of the material book. The work is the thing, the object, the produced result of author/editor/publisher (whether printed, on cassette, or, unimaginable to Barthes at this time, digital). "The text" is the life of the words in the work, the malleable, interpretable, connectable, uncontrollable shaping that, as a methodological field, academics bring to it as they read, annotate, discuss, critique, and write in response to it. (I'm eager to see if he thinks "the Text" lives outside of academia as well, in the hands of any reader.

    9. All these incidents are half identifiable: they come from codes which are known but their combination is unique,

      A concrete and helpful visual of interpretation. We recognize the elements of the story (characters, situations, descriptions of places, words), but they are new in their combination of choices, so only half familiar.

    10. from any imaginary);

      Random side note: new to graduate school, I'm fascinated by the proliferation of adjectives conscripted to the army of academic nouns: the symbolic, any imaginary, a signified, the very plural. One of the many challengings, I suppose.

    11. the work in the best of cases -- is moderately symbolic (its symbolic runs out, comes to a halt); the Text is radically symbolic:

      The life force of text, then, is time, which allows not only room for the inexhaustible disinterment of meaning, but a perpetually evolving set of circumstances that, like fractals, spin new possibilities for meaning, yes? And doesn't this also make an excellent case for diversity in the classroom, where every unique person and their cumulative experiences come to bear on a text.

    12. The answer is so difficult that the literary manuals generally prefer to forget about Bataille who, in fact, wrote texts, perhaps continuously one single text.

      Ooh! Love this idea that in the desire for classification, we may have tossed out a few gems (like Jean Toomer, perhaps). The walls of genres (and disciplines) may have crushed important voices and developments.

      I'm also enthralled with the romance with which Barthes (who seemed miserably clinical in the intro) is now starting to speak about the text. It's "held by language," it "knows itself," it is unbound, and, almost hauntingly, some authors may, across their many works, have been writing one text all along. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin comes to mind here as sometimes nearly literally writing the same story, though Lahiri, Faulkner, my pal Du Bois, and a host of others all fit that bill.

    13. the solidarity of the old disciplines

      I'd love to read a broader history of the evolution of what became such heavily isolated disciplines. Leonardo da Vinci (indeed any brilliant thinker deemed literally or figuratively a Renaissance man) would surely scoff at the term interdisciplinarity.

    14. failings of the person here presenting them
    15. coming of democracy reversed the word of command

      Whose democracy?

    16. The Text (if only by its frequent 'unreadability) decants the work (the work permitting) from its consumption and gathers it up as play, activity, production, practice.
    17. no demagogy is intended here


    18. The work is caught up in a process of filiation.
    19. The Text is not a co-existence of meanings but a passage, an overcrossing

      This text sure is.

    20. paradoxical
    21. classification (which is furthermore one of its 'social functions)

      Okay, yes, back in my jolts of fashion professional/academic wheelhouse. Classification IS a social function and a construct.

    22. (good) Literature


    23. Roland Barthes

      Practically like hypothes.is this very scholarly website invites us to weigh in on Barthes FAQ http://www.vipfaq.com/Roland%20Barthes.html

    24. It would be futile to try to separate out materially works from texts.

      Ooh--I've got this sentence! Read Why Zines Matter: Materiality and the Creation of Embodied Community https://barnardzines.livejournal.com/46042.html If you don't have access to the FT hmu.

    25. The Text is not to be thought of as an object that can be computed.
    26. in the interests of a new object and a new language neither of which has a place in the field of the sciences that were to be brought peacefully together, this unease in classification being precisely the point from which it is possible to diagnose a certain mutation.

      The word "classification" jolted my fashion. Seems like this sentence should be in my wheelhouse because classification is decidedly a determination of my jam, but dear dog, I can't. Can I get a translation of the translation please?

    27. interdisciplinarity

      LOL didn't DH invent interdisciplinarity? Or maybe that's multidisciplinarity.

    28. (the term 'connection' is used here in a deliberately neutral way: one does not decide a determination, be it multiple and dialectical)
    29. The change

      LOL menopause.

    30. Trans. by Stephen Heath, 1977

      I'm finding the text dense. I wonder if that's the original or the translation. Or both!

    1. genuinely new

      Not totally new, right? I'm thinking of library book marginalia, and maybe used book mark-up, as well, per this screen capture of a Columbia Buy Sell Memes offering.

    2. build community, empower students to speak, and underscore the inherently collective nature of creativity and interpretation

      I'll be interested to see how true this is. Or will it just be the same in-class loudmouths (myself included), who are aggressive annotators. Maybe even more aggressive because we're not as conscious of taking up other students' space and time.

    3. The participatory ethos of social annotation aligns it with the promise of radical democracy

      Is that a bit of an overstatement?

    4. Stephen Duncombe

      zine guy!

    1. Penguin paperback

      Even when considering the 'original' material text, the language of commercialization leaks into the piece. When 'reading' Dickens, it's not enough to compare the book, the eReader, and the mp3 player. Instead, it's a comparison of Penguin, Kindle, and iPod. It's as if one cannot discuss the mediums without discussing the brands that sell them, merging lines between a think-piece and native marketing.