751 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2016
  2. www.jstor.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu www.jstor.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu
    1. The first method, epitomeor abridgment, entails summarizing or paraphrasing the original text or texts. These notes, generally presented in the order of the text from which they were produced, are often called adversaria. The second method is to select passages of interest for their content or their style, which are copied and sorted under a thematic or topical heading to facilitate retrieval.

      I'd never even dreamed that there were names for what I had always considered semi-idle scribbling. Must we label everything?

    2. Note Taking as an Art of TransmissionAnn BlairNote taking constitutes a central but often hidden phase in the trans-mission of knowledge. Notes recorded from reading or experience typicallycontribute to one’s conversation and compositions, from which others candraw in turn in their own thinking and writing, thus perpetuating a cycleof transmission and transformation of knowledge, ideas, and experiences

      I found this interesting as an opening statement, as I have often treated notation as a private, personal thing; throughout high school I annotated in code and abbreviation for my own reference, not expecting anyone to use them or even find them of any interest.

    1. At last, puzzled to comprehend the meaning of such a knot, Captain Delano addressed the knotter:— "What are you knotting there, my man?" "The knot," was the brief reply, without looking up. [pg 182] "So it seems; but what is it for?" "For some one else to undo," muttered back the old man, plying his fingers harder than ever, the knot being now nearly completed. While Captain Delano stood watching him, suddenly the old man threw the knot towards him, saying in broken English—the first heard in the ship—something to this effect: "Undo it, cut it, quick." It was said lowly, but with such condensation of rapidity, that the long, slow words in Spanish, which had preceded and followed, almost operated as covers to the brief English between.

      The knot here given to Delano is suggested to be symbolic of a Gordian Knot (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gordian_Knot), an impossible, mythical puzzle so intricate, complex and incomprehensible that it nearly thwarts Alexander the Great. The metaphor proposed by this allusion not only harkens to the complexity of the plot and the narrative, but additionally cutting off archaic or historic ties, beginning new eras and ending the old.

    2. In the year 1799, Captain Amasa Delano, of Duxbury, in Massachusetts, commanding a large sealer and general trader, lay at anchor with a valuable cargo, in the harbor of St. Maria—a small, desert, uninhabited island toward the southern extremity of the long coast of Chili. There he had touched for water. On the second day, not long after dawn, while lying in his berth, his mate came below, informing him that a strange sail was coming into the bay. Ships were then not so plenty in those waters as now. He rose, dressed, and went on deck. The morning was one peculiar to that coast. Everything was mute and calm; everything gray. The sea, though undulated into long roods of swells, seemed fixed, and was sleeked at the surface like waved lead that has cooled and set in the smelter's mould. The sky seemed a gray surtout. Flights of troubled gray fowl, [pg 110] kith and kin with flights of troubled gray vapors among which they were mixed, skimmed low and fitfully over the waters, as swallows over meadows before storms. Shadows present, foreshadowing deeper shadows to come.

      Much like its counterpart Bartleby, The Scrivener, the protagonist is not the "focal character" (in this case, Delano), but instead the titular Benito Cereno. There are many comparisons to be drawn between the two stories on social commentary, passivity, ignorance and business, however one striking difference is in the opening tone and mystery of Benito Cereno. There is no inclination of the outcome of the story, of setting up characters or long drawn out backgrounds and the tone is entirely unclear. This perpetuates the air of conflict and the enigma surrounding Melville's opinion and outlook on slavery and racism, suggesting the idea of its corruption 100 years before the civil rights movement.

    3. "Ah, my dear friend," Don Benito once said, "at those very times when you thought me so morose and ungrateful, nay, when, as you now admit, you half thought me plotting your murder, at those very times my heart was frozen; I could not look at you, thinking of what, both on board this ship and your own, hung, from other hands, over my kind benefactor. And as God lives, Don Amasa, I know not whether desire for my own safety alone could have nerved me to that leap into your boat, had it not been for the thought that, did you, unenlightened, return to your ship, you, my best friend, with all who might be with you, stolen upon, that night, in your hammocks, would never in this world have wakened again. Do but think how you walked this deck, how you sat in this cabin, every inch of ground mined into honey-combs under you. Had I dropped the least hint, made the least [pg 266] advance towards an understanding between us, death, explosive death—yours as mine—would have ended the scene."

      Whilst I cannot find the direct quote due to short-notice and poverty, Warner Berthoff has likened the multiplicity of layers and understanding in Benito Cereno to a Riddle - one must hear/read it twice, having learned or determined the answer, to spot the clues and suggestions that lead them there.

    4. As for the black—whose brain, not body, had schemed and led the revolt, with the plot—his slight frame, inadequate to that which it held, had at once yielded to the superior muscular strength of his captor, in the boat. Seeing all was over, he uttered no sound, and could not be forced to. His aspect seemed to say, since I cannot do deeds, I will not speak words.

      This finalises in the eyes of Cereno, Delano and indeed the reader the power and prowess of Babo over his white counterparts. His brain and abilities clearly supersede his physical 'limitations' (for lack of a better word) and his ethnicity. His final choice, his refusal to speak, finally shows his possession over his own body, contrary to his prior position as a slave. Whether or not this is Melville's attempt to justify and empower somewhat positively the rebellion and identity of the slaves or a technique to emphasise how formidable Babo is as a villain, is unclear, and remains to be seen, even today.

    5. Benito Cereno, borne on the bier, did, indeed, follow his leader.

      Despite the connotations and easy assumption that this ending means that Cereno followed Aranda into death, with him being his ranking leader, the heavy weighting on the control Babo has over Cereno in addition to the proximity of their deaths suggests a duality in Cereno's existence - he is, by all intensive purposes, a servant to two masters.

    1. Solving the mystery involves recognizing some of the features that set images apart from written texts, such as the use of visual icons and the placement of figures in spacial relationships that generate meaning.

      This is fascinating. The ability to annotate not only on text but also on images feels a lot like being handed a sharpie and permitted to go wild. There will be arrows, notes, circles, and exclamation points all over a webpage. Barring actually drawing on your computer screen and the ability to actually draw and underline things in a text or image, there is a similar notion of taking something and making it yours, of playing with it and seeing what you'll find.

    2. private note-taking.

      This is one area in which the ebook does trump the paperback for me. Especially in a time crunch for an essay, there's nothing quite like being able to see an entire compiled list of all the highlights and notes you've made throughout the novel. Command+F is truly a beautiful thing.

    3. re-creation

      Reminds me of think tanks or open platforms online where people use open sourced material in order to collaborate on a variety of artistic projects; specifically, HitRecord, an online production company.


    4. describing an amatory practice that scholars, students, and other serious readers have pursued with gusto for millennia.

      Shall we re-evaluate the scorn that so many people have for dog-eared pages as well? There's nothing like an old, beat up, and dog-eared paperback.

    5. empower students to speak

      Perhaps even literally, for those who are uncomfortable speaking up in classroom settings.

    6. empower students to speak

      In my own history as a student of English and a student in general, I always had a lack of motivation when it came to writing about literature. I was highly interested in literature--obviously, since i chose to study it-- but the commonly implemented structure or application used by teachers and professors just didn't really do it for me. "Read this and then compose a thesis to write x pages on." If i was assigned, for example, an essay or article that was fifteen pages long, there might be a multitude of elements in the text that catch my interest, but i wouldn't allow myself to think too deeply on them because i was scanning for the thing that i knew i could write x pages on. I might read a sentence that fascinates me, though i knew i couldn't flesh-out x many pages on it, so i moved on and, most likely, forgot about it. Reading a piece through a tool like hypothesis enables me to enjoy and absorb the text so much more. If more educators used annotating software in their courses, students wouldn't necessarily have to set aside their ideas about the less central aspects of a piece simply out of pragmatism since they had been asked to devise a single point and produce a certain number of pages in a limited amount of time. And I'm not arguing that students should not be asked to write longer essays, but if students were to initially experience the given texts through such annotate-able software--prior to being asked to write an extensive paper-- I believe they would take so much more away from it. Of course, I am not a student of education and I am only speaking from my own experiences in the classroom.

    1. As Fitzpatrick has pointed out, the visibility of this annotative action is both a gift and a problem. Did most people comment on paragraph 1 because it was the best? The worst? The only one they read? And what does the lack of comments mean? Does that indicate readerly assent, indifference, or worse? An assignment built on CommentPress would want to think explicitly about the distribution of comments.[17]

      Reading with the highlights on in Hypothes.is is something that I am not a fan of. When doing so, I generally find myself wandering towards passages that have already been highlighted, a natural reaction at the different colored text as my brain instantly blares, "IMPORTANT! Pay attention!" in all caps. Without the highlighted feature on, I find myself more prone to looking at the piece in all of its detail.

    2. Ultimately, students in a liberal arts classroom need to go beyond glossing the perspectives of others, and move toward formulating their own distinctive voice

      By annotating on the work of others, students are not only able to build upon the foundation of knowledge laid out by others, but they are also engaging in a critical conversation, a dialogue, of thought. This back-and-forth between texts and ideas undoubtedly also aid in the formation of one's own perspectives.

    3. As Engelbart’s example makes clear, the work of annotation is already a thing all students and scholars do: we work over other people’s texts in order to better understand it. Being able to draw on the experiences of others is also surely helpful.

      The phrasing of this, and the image Jones paints of annotations reminds me of a set of building blocks. By annotating a text, we are not only able to build upon the original foundations of the text (the original knowledge we are able to garner from it) but also add to it ourselves, thus creating something new altogether. Keeping with the analogy, annotations also seem to allow us a method with which to dive beneath the original building blocks of a text, and discover its framework and bones as well.

    4. Medieval marginalia is so well-known that amusing or disconcerting instances of it are fodder for viral aggregators such as Buzzfeed and Brainpickings, and the fascination with other readers’ reading is manifest in sites such as Melville’s Marginalia Online or Harvard’s online exhibit of marginalia from six personal libraries.

      A story within a story (within a story?). The notes jotted down in the margins is often a private act, something that is profoundly for the self, however, Jones's mention of the variety of now-famous marginal notes (be it Medieval or otherwise) speaks to the act of annotation as a whole; an act for the self as one communicates with the text, that is made famous through publication, and that ultimately informs others as well.

      As a side note, this reminds me of the book J.J. Adams and Doug Dorst published a while back, where one of the stories unfolds mainly through an endless conversation in the margins of a book.


    5. What’s powerful about Hypothes.is is that in principle it allows *anything* online to be annotated, without special tools beyond a browser plug-in.

      Shout out to Hypothes.is for forcing me to buy a new computer that allows plug-ins and Chrome :I

    6. Lurking behind their imaginative essays is an ideal of full comprehension–that we might be able to truly understand one another if we could just track down all the relevant influences and contexts and motives. We can also see how such a vision becomes oddly depersonalizing.

      The best way to understand someone on an intellectual level? Read their annotations. It fascinates me to see what words people look up, what cultural references people associate with certain ideas. Not all learning has to be "high culture"; the intersection of popular culture and academia is not as tricky as many scholars like to make it.

    7. When I was a graduate student, one of my favorite moments was visiting the collections at UC Santa Cruz, and looking at Thomas Carlyle’s alternatively-metered edition of Robert Browning’s poems. What has become distinctive now is the extreme rapidity of searching one’s own marginalia, as well the ability to see how others read.

      I only buy used copies of books, whether it be from a local bookstore, such as Shakespeare, or online, all hands up for Amazon Prime! There's something special, an intimate experience, that exists in picking up a work and reading someone else's notes in it, especially that of a stranger's. Beginning a dialogue with someone else's ideas is, in my opinion, the best way to open the flood gates of knowledge.

    8. hat’s striking about annotation at the present time is how ubiquitous it is—indeed it is so common that it is almost becoming invisible. Social media platforms such as Facebook encourage annotating photos by identifying people’s faces; YouTube videos allow for the easy insertion of brief comments about a video

      Invisible is right; even after reading literature on the evolution of annotations, I didn't make the connection to facebook tags and youtube comments. Funny how we can take such functions for granted. I guess, for me, i'm still coming to terms with viewing facebook pages and such as a text.

    9. Genius.com (formerly RapGenius) has gotten into the business of annotating all documents whatsoever, and tens of thousands of users have participated in the collaborative marking-up of a wide variety of texts.

      ...and has given otherwise-unintelligible rappers a chance to make sure they're being heard correctly.

    10. Social media platforms such as Facebook encourage annotating photos by identifying people’s faces

      "Encourage annotating photos"? Sorry, this one seems a little bit of a stretch, but it's cute that a positive spin has been put on this rather than the more expected paranoia about the lack of digital privacy. Can someone say "surveillance state"?

    11. n meme generators and GIF tools

      The reiterative nature of how memes work make them interesting barometers of collective thought.

    12. As Engelbart’s example makes clear, the work of annotation is already a thing all students and scholars do: we work over other people’s texts in order to better understand it. Being able to draw on the experiences of others is also surely helpful.

      Is "annotation" not itself a kind of literal way of thinking about the positivistic aggregation of Knowledge?

    1. Creative people are beginning to exploit interactive and multi-media capability into digital books.

      I think the term "exploit" is kind of loaded here-- certainly, we should not shame creative people for utilizing new avenues?

    2. The members of the generation that grew up playing Game Boys and telling time on their cellphones will have absolutely no problem reading from a small screen.

      My experience is not true to this. Growing up I was always playing my Game Boy, whether it be at home, after school, the car. However, to this day, I have trouble reading long form texts on a screen. My distaste for reading novels on screens doesn't stem from some misplaced fear of technology, I would love to be able to read that way, but I just can't concentrate.

    3. I think this it's an interesting idea that an audiobook can happen without you. Although I strongly disagree with the colloquial view that listening is inherently a passive trait, there's no denying that an audiobook can leave you behind if you get distracted. It requires a certain discipline in the same way that watching Netflix at night does. Fall asleep during an episode of Arrested Development and you'll have to feverishly thumb through multiple episodes to find your place and what you last saw. The audiobook requires you to be completely present, even if you're multitasking.

    4. That's the worst accusation: that I am not a serious reader. Not guilty! I love books as much as anybody. But I love reading more. It is the sustained and individual encounter with ideas and stories that is so bewitching. If new formats allow us to have more of those, let us welcome and learn from them.

      My biggest academic fear: that I am not a "real" reader. But if I'm informed in multiple aspects of texts, whether they be high or low culture, I am still a reader, right?

    5. The iPhone is a Kindle killer.

      iPhone > Kindle > The Nook

    6. Do I love books or do I love reading?

      I love books, the physical aspect of carrying something that contains a story. However, I will read anything: bad articles on Bustle, the Sunday NYT, weird subway signs. So which do I prefer?

  3. Feb 2016
    1. She asks students to think of an unfamiliar image from Norse mythology "as a mystery in need of a solution that you will acquire the skills to solve." Solving the mystery involves recognizing some of the features that set images apart from written texts, such as the use of visual icons and the placement of figures in spacial relationships that generate meaning.

      Annotations online now just aren't a text based platform, but one that examines images and other forms of media as well. Important note. Even one other example of this could be students collectively annotating a piece of music using soundcloud's comment system. The sky is the limit.

    2. Setting out to discover how the English writer Gabriel Harvey read his copy of Livy’s Roman history, Grafton and Jardine discovered that the answer was publicly, rhetorically, even collaboratively, not so much for private meditation as for worldly action.

      Interesting - another case of social reading being the primary way to consume a text.

    3. Although Mosaic, the first graphical Web browser, was intended to permit annotation, good tools for marking up what you read – or hear, or view – online have been slow to develop.

      What's important also to note is that before these online annotations tools existed, there were small pockets of readership that hosted online annotated versions of certain works out of pure dedication. Thankfully in this day and age, the ability to annotate anything transcends these barriers.

    4. hey can engage in rich, detailed interpretive discussion in the margins of a text, and they can connect these discussions to their broader social presence online — for example, by "liking" a marginal comment on Facebook. As Stein points out in his blogpost, the "emerging class of applications" to which SocialBook and other platforms collected here belong might be called ‘[collaborative] thinking processors’ as opposed to reading environments or word processors. The stronger the social ties in a platform for collaborative annotation, the greater the likelihood that a class moves from conversation to a genuine sense of community.

      With the recent increase of reactions and emoji functions on Facebook statuses, I think it's so crucial to remember the worth of such simple interactions as part of the online authorial process

    5. Jonathan Burton’s assignment uses social annotation to sharpen students’ close reading skills and to teach collaboration. Working in teams, students select passages from the assigned reading that they consider "rich in figurative language, curious in form or otherwise abundant in detail," transcribe them in Google docs, and annotate them. In a second round, they respond to some of their classmates’ annotations. Finally, students draw on their annotated transcriptions to produce brief "problem papers." This assignment takes advantage of a simple digital tool with a very shallow learning curve to move students past the "solitary-reader-meets-text" model of textual analysis and scaffold their development of a more comprehensive argument. It can be easily adapted to any text.

      I remember my sheer amazement when I first used GoogleDocs and showed it to my friends with whom I was doing a group project. I swear by it now, using it over Word.

    6. . Both kinds of assignment build community, empower students to speak, and underscore the inherently collective nature of creativity and interpretation.

      I certainly have found throughout my life, growth and educational journey that with the increase of social media enabling young people to have more of a voice in the socio-economical fields, academically there are more organic comments made, and less fearfulness when it comes to questioning and critiquing authors.

    7. "I contend, quite bluntly, that marking up a book is not an act of mutilation but of love."

      In as much as to break a spine, fold a page, spill coffee or scuff the cover is.

    8. the affordance isn’t sociality itself but, as noted above, the speed and scale at which it can be practiced

      Great point and in line with the drift of our course: X cultural technology is not radically new but instantiates a thought-provoking contrast/comparsions with past technologies and practices.

    9. collaborative annotation platforms offer teachers a tool for democratic practice. When teaching literature, such practice might involve encouraging students to "talk back" to a canonical author in the margins of the author’s work, or inviting them to engage in conversation there as equals with their professor and classmates

      Schacht might lean harder on this, since "democratic practice" is (ironically) very far from the norm for traditional assignments, with the closed loop of student==>professor==>student and the regime of grades.

    1. For a quite different approach to annotation it is worth paying attention to Hypothes.is, an annotation tool that is just in its alpha stages.

      For its beta stages, it definitely has to prepare for a large scale potential of annotators who might all be grappling the same text at once. It might be hard in the future to read the text and scroll through hundreds of different annotations on the same sentence because someone decided a certain idea can be interpreted in that many ways - in this case I'm referencing a very straightforward work rather than a more avant-garde case.

    2. Annotations in this situation need not be restricted to clarifying factual, contextual, or textual conundrums, but can indeed be as interpretative as one wishes

      This is kind of scary - not a big fan of the free-range interpretation. There has to be some kind of grounding.

    3. and the ability to share that with others—each of these three abilities are still fundamental to the way we interact online with text, images, sound, and video.

      Do you believe that they could've imagined a world where you can even annotate any work with all of these forms of mixed media?

    4. Scalar is a more comprehensive multimodal publishing platform, but is still very much rooted in Bush’s and Engelbardt’s vision of annotation. The Scalar project aims to “enabl[e] scholars to work more organically with archival materials, creating interpretive pathways through the materials and enabling new forms of analysis. In particular, we aim to draw out more general lessons about the relationship of scholarly analysis to emerging digital typologies or genres; about how best to organize the digital archive to facilitate scholarly analysis; and about efficient and meaningful work flows between primary evidence, research and publication.”[14] Indeed, Scalar’s Annotations feature allows the direct markup of video, images, and more–essentially anything that can be captured in a digital repository. The best way to come to grips with Scalar’s classroom potential is by working through this Scalar exhibit on “Teaching and Learning Multimodal Communications”.[15]

      I know so many students that can't afford to buy a full textbook and resort to using sticky notes to annotate so as to not deface rental books. Online resources unsullied by physical annotations eradicate so many issues with physical copies, rented or otherwise. It's a shame that the reluctance to use them is so writhe in education.

    5. In addition to making student writing public, I’ve also begun taking the words out of writing. Why must writing, especially writing that captures critical thinking, be composed of words? Why not images? Why not sound? Why not objects? The word text, after all, derives from the Latin textus, meaning that which is woven, strands of different material intertwined together. Let the warp be words and the weft be something else entirely.

      This is very interesting in terms of the audiobook produced by Kate, Shadika, Niurkalis, and Ari. So impressed by the innovation there, restricted only by the realms of funding and college. I would love to see a full-scale project based on their ingenuity. Props to you guys again!

    6. But there are other forms, too. Adrianne Wadewitz, Anne Ellen Geller, and Jon Beasley-Murray have described the ways in which having students write for Wikipedia, which demands citations, turns into a remarkably reflexive process of research, writing, and revision.[9] Although many academics (still!) reflexively mistrust Wikipedia’s flexible epistemology, exposing students to the process of needing to document all claims can be helpful.

      I've actually had full arguments about this - even J-STOR is rife with student-written, unfounded and bias articles that ill-inform students when referencing them. Wikipedia provides basic, reliable and easy information, and at the very least should be used for common knowledge facts and profiles. But that's just my lazy student opinion.

    7. As Engelbart’s example makes clear, the work of annotation is already a thing all students and scholars do: we work over other people’s texts in order to better understand it. Being able to draw on the experiences of others is also surely helpful.

      I'm always so bemused at people who don't annotate. Even if it's just one word, reminding yourself of a response/interpretation of a passage or even a sentence can be vital to understanding a novel/text.

    8. There is a new profession of trail blazers, those who find delight in the task of establishing useful trails through the enormous mass of the common record. The inheritance from the master becomes, not only his additions to the world’s record, but for his disciples the entire scaffolding by which they were erected.

      Very meta to think about books about annotating in books. Perhaps a stretch, but take the "Half Blood Prince" of the HP series - goes to show the extensiveness of the universe of annotations.

    9. Annotation is of course far older than the web. For as long as there has been writing, there have been readers who follow along and “write back.” Medieval marginalia is so well-known that amusing or disconcerting instances of it are fodder for viral aggregators such as Buzzfeed and Brainpickings, and the fascination with other readers’ reading is manifest in sites such as Melville’s Marginalia Online or Harvard’s online exhibit of marginalia from six personal libraries.[2] When I was a graduate student, one of my favorite moments was visiting the collections at UC Santa Cruz, and looking at Thomas Carlyle’s alternatively-metered edition of Robert Browning’s poems. What has become distinctive now is the extreme rapidity of searching one’s own marginalia, as well the ability to see how others read. For these purposes, the web has proved ideal.

      So funny that this is mentioned here, I was reading a monk's complaints about the quality of parchment in a margin just the other day!

    10. By contrast, the open architecture of the World-Wide Web, which posits “a global distributed medium in which anyone can be a publisher, and a hypertext document structure in which it is trivial to jump from a newspaper article to an academic essay to an encyclopedia entry in a matter of seconds,” makes for a far more open system of annotation and discovery.[4]

      This is why it was(is) beneficial for the English department to consider courses with DH. It makes sense

    11. Annotation is of course far older than the web. For as long as there has been writing, there have been readers who follow along and “write back.”

      never thought of it this way, but valid point.

    12. 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.

      Reminds me of Liu's point about Web 2.0's dissemination of the author-function, or the way it dissolves the distinction between authors and readers (while keeping coders as a remarkably distinct/powerful/scarce function).

    1. "The author and narrator control your pace, and it is impractical to skim ahead or thumb back to another section."

      But is this a positive attribute? Part of the beauty of the written novel is the ability to read and reread at one's own pace, going back and forth in order to retain the information the reader feels is most important.

    1. The passage’s emphasis on solitary listening (“the quiet of our own apartments”) and repeated playback (“as often as we will”) suggests readers discerned in the indented slip new possibilities for close listening that would have been impossible amid the hubbub of a public recital

      The comparison here between a close reading and a close listening is absolutely crucial. Listening to an audiobook is not any less an act of reading. The notion that it is somehow less "work" than reading, and that it in anyway spoon-feeds the listener/reading is ridiculous. Analysis and understanding is still required regardless of whether information is relayed to someone oratorically or written on paper. In fact, there may even be extra layers of analysis available when something is heard as it gives the listener a chance not only to read the book and its author, but also its reader.

    2. recordings of full-length books had to wait until philanthropic initiatives for blind people in the 1930s.

      Fascinating that the push for audiobooks came as a way to deliver literature (stories) to specific groups, only for them now to be enjoyed by many.

    3. Edison’s hypothetical audience had always included “the average reader” lacking either the time or the inclination to hold a book. His statement is one of the first to characterize reading as a secondary activity intended to accompany other pursuits. More important, it endorses the professionalization of reading by insisting on the increased “amusement,” “enjoyment,” and “profit” to be had from listening to a reader trained in elocution. There is no idealization here of the silent reader’s ability to voice texts for himself or herself. Even if audiences are already reading, Edison implies, they are not reading very well.

      If true, I feel that Edison is condescending to his audience by not giving them the faith to be fully engaged in a particular text. Blind/visually-impaired/disabled people notwithstanding, listening to someone else's interpretation of a text without actually seeing it, paired with having some other visual stimuli to focus on, dilutes the reading experience itself (if one can still consider it reading).

    4. One advantage to using the phonograph as a reading machine was its accessibility to both sighted and blind readerships. Tactile alphabets for people with vision impairments required training, whereas anyone could listen to a book. This was an appealing prospect to people who were newly blind as well as to readers who merely feared endangering their eyesight from overuse. Such readers welcomed the phonograph as a means of relieving the disproportionate burden borne by the eyes. The strain placed on the eyes by reading books was commonly held to be responsible for deteriorating eyesight—Milton was often invoked as a cautionary tale. Engineers likewise recognized the phonograph’s potential to aid blind readers who were unable to read Braille. In March 1878 Alfred Mayer, a physics professor writing [End Page 221] a textbook on sound, corresponded with Edison about a portable device for reading books to those who were blind. The blind reader would drag Mayer’s handheld unit, made up of a stylus attached to a vibrating plate, over indented lines in a metal sheet so that “the page will talk to him.”22

      This serves only to further my interest in this idea of sensory experiences of literature. Obviously braille is now widely used on public transport, food packaging, books and in residential apartment buildings, but this vibrating sheet idea advances even moreso on this idea of touch and literature.

    5. No recordings were made of the exhibitions, unfortunately, but press reports enable us to reconstruct the sequence of events at many of them.4 A typical demonstration began with an explanation of how the machine worked, followed by displays of recording and playback (Figure 1). The program opened with a greeting from the phonograph (“The phonograph presents its compliments to the audience”) before moving on to some combination of recitations, songs, music, and random noises. Members of the audience were then invited to speak their own effusions into the phonograph, and the exhibitor sometimes brought the evening to a close by handing out torn-off slips of tinfoil as souvenirs. At nearly all of the demonstrations, the spoken word played a prominent role in showcasing recorded sound to audiences who had never before heard speech mechanically reproduced. Historians are only telling half the story when they describe the talking machine as if it were a singing machine.5 Recent scholarship has begun to correct this imbalance by showing how the discourse of recorded sound developed in relation to print media.6

      It's so interesting to me to physically imagine an aural event as a dually visual one, that we then can only experience through reading. The multitude of layers that go into documenting fact and fiction in life should mean that the relationship between aural, oral and literary experiences should be closer, however there is constantly this dichotomy between sensory experiences and classicism.

    6. The ergonomics of reading warrant attention since modern audiences seldom think of reading novels as work—at least not to the same degree as an audience for whom books entailed manual as much as mental labor

      I want to push back here, since I think the difficulty of reading books is still a strong element in culture. Maybe not in such ergonomic terms, but we still think of TV and surfing the web as "easy" or "light" in comparison to "heavy reading" or "serious reading."

    7. What stands out nevertheless is how one-sided the conversations are in favor of recorded books; rarely does one find a defense of printed books, as one finds so readily among the next century’s defenses of the tactile pleasures of holding a material object in one’s hands. Nostalgia for the book required a more pressing threat than the tinfoil phonograph.

      Interesting point: no discussion of the "decline of reading" or "death of the novel" at this juncture.

    8. The phonograph at home reading out a novel.

      Note that Mom is actually texting under the table while pretending to do needlepoint.

    9. To put it another way: silently reading Cicero is no less of a compromise than reading aloud Eliot, Dickens, and Thackeray. This did not prevent the orator from being read in print, of course. The second book printed on Gutenberg’s press was Cicero’s De Officiis.

      Great point. Not to mention Homer!

    10. Cellar full of bottled music.

      Amazing illustration: good find! But who are all those people? Are those the names of important public figures now lost to memory (or my memory, at least)? Funny to think that our podcast queues are basically exactly what this image images.

    11. This essay accounts for the book’s premature obituary through its attention, first, to the initial responses to the phonograph as a potential rival to the printed book, and, second, to a series of hypothetical reading machines proposed by Edward Bellamy, Octave Uzanne, Albert Robida, and others writing at the end of the nineteenth century. As we will see, the questions about the book’s future that were raised by these writers in response to the new media of their time have once again become pressing questions in our own time.

      This is a really clever rhetorical move by the author: the anxious discussion about the book in the l.19thC yields surprising echoes of (and valuable perspective on) the kinds of arguments that we read in the "Dickens Four Ways" piece.

    12. regretted that the method could not be of use to blind authors such as Homer and Milton.

      Interesting note to add, Milton and even Joyce (I believe in the case with Samuel Beckett) had dictated to write because of their blindness.

    13. The passage’s emphasis on solitary listening (“the quiet of our own apartments”) and repeated playback (“as often as we will”) suggests readers discerned in the indented slip new possibilities for close listening that would have been impossible amid the hubbub of a public recital

      Good note on the rise of the possibilities of close reading only coming through a solitary listening compared to traditional storytelling out loud.

    14. The introduction of a new technology leads to renewed awareness of established technologies at the moment when their roles have been called into question.12

      Interesting - helps us reevaluate what we already have and to see if we can apply it to our current inquiries rather than continuously reach.

    1. The iPhone is a Kindle killer.

      In hindsight, this is hilarious considering that Kindle itself pops up on many of our iPhones in the form of the Kindle eReader app. We can now start books on one device, and pick it right up on another. The Kindle now seems to join the hardback and paperback on the shelves, yet another one of our many choices on how we might choose to read.

    2. I love audiobooks, the best choice for crowded public transportation and a wonderful companion for walking.

      Absolutely agree with this! I find myself doing small tasks when I listen to audiobooks. Be it running errands, cooking, or cleaning, I am able to focus on the words and the story while also being on the go. It is a strange intersection of entirely focused and pleasantly busy.

    3. Do I love books or do I love reading?

      This question is fascinating. I had never thought about it quite like this before. It is especially interesting when one frames this question along with the resurgence of the audiobook. Is listening to an audiobook still considered reading?

    4. The electronic text included the original illustrations by Hablot Knight Browne, more familiarly known as Phiz; the map of the Marshalsea; and the explanatory footnotes that were impossible in the audiobook. The controls were intuitive, and I was soon able to bookmark pages, highlight text, and switch back and forth between novel and notes.

      This is an excellent example of how modern technology can enhance the reading experience and turn it into a more interactive one, rather than passive. Cogent combination of the conveniences and innovations of digital technology.

    5. You can listen while you are walking around. You can listen while driving. You can listen while applying makeup. You can listen while you are cooking. You can listen while you are in the dentist's chair.

      See, then you're cheating yourself out of a more fulfilling reading experience. If you want some sort of auditory stimulation while performing daily activities, then music is perfect. If you're focused on such daily activities, and have an audiobook playing as background noise, how can you be even moderately engaged? If I tried to concentrate on reading Infinite Jest or Naked Lunch while cooking, I'd possibly burn my home down by accident.

    6. The Kindle screen is a permanent dishwater gray, not exactly "just like paper," as promised by the ubiquitous Amazon ads.

      I actually feel this to be the biggest advantage of the Kindle. The paper simulating screen allows for long reads without headaches.

    7. on my iPhone was the eReader

      Random comment: I've always felt that the eReaders that exist on Iphones, Samsungs or any other phones for that matter ruin the experience of reading. They do not allow for long reads, because of the lighting and damage it causes to your eye.

    8. Do I love books or do I love reading?

      Though I find this to be the greatest question I have heard so far, regarding the argument about the lose of literature, I believe this question can only be asked when someone is reading literature for the "love" of it.

    9. The perfume of old paper filled the air.

      See, look how horribly distracting reading in print is! She hasn't even read the first sentence, and she's all lost in a Proustian haze about the smell of the binding...

    10. Little Dorrit was an accidental choice, but I could hardly have done better. Its length, multiple story lines, 19th-century allusions, and teeming cast of characters helped me to test the functionality of different formats. Beyond the artifice of my reading experiment, though, please don't think that technology compromised my ability to appreciate this beloved novel, written in 1857 at the height of Dickens's power and popularity. Just the opposite.

      I would add that it's in the public domain, which is a real magnet for my e-reading. I almost always want to buy a new-ish book in print if I think it's any good, but the $0.00 price of classics makes them perfect for throwing on the e-reader for me, especially if it's not "serious" (read: teaching/research) reading for me.

    11. So I hardly read any Little Dorrit on Kindle. I will probably continue to use it at times, since its battery life is far, far better than an iPhone, and besides, I'll worry less about dropping my Kindle in the sand.
    12. I've been dreading this, but let me get my prediction out now: The iPhone is a Kindle killer. I abandoned the Kindle edition of Little Dorrit almost as soon as I read one chapter on my iPhone. Kindle, shmindle. It does almost nothing that an iPhone can't do better —and most important, the iPhone is always with me.

      Obnoxious and a clear misunderstanding of the existence e-ink displays over traditional tablets. Also I abhor the fascination with the IPhone - is this person technologically credible enough to write this?

    13. Do I love books or do I love reading?

      Good way to think about it. Are we really losing touch with literature or are we just losing the physical manifestation of it?

    1. Audiobooks also impose a certain discipline. I think of this as real-time reading: The author and narrator control your pace, and it is impractical to skim ahead or thumb back to another section.

      THIS. This is why I think audiobooks can revolutionise reading, especially for those impatient and learning impaired like myself. It's so important to remember that regardless of your position in regards to audiobooks and literature that not everyone agrees. Reading can be the simplest joy, but you have to know how to listen too.

    2. I downloaded an audiobook edition of Little Dorrit, hoping for one of those magical theatrical experiences that occur when a great narrator is matched with the right book, say, Jim Dale and the Harry Potter novels, or Frank Muller reading anything. I have loved audiobooks since the days of the Sony Walkman and my short career as a long-distance runner. Back then, each audiocassette held about 60 minutes, which might not last long enough for a training run, so I carried the next ones in a small pouch around my waist. They made a constant clacking sound as I jogged around Central Park or wherever I happened to be. On business trips, I would bring along a dozen cassettes or more. Even after I finished my first and only marathon, I remained an audiobook enthusiast.

      I like the sense of personal nostalgia here. I personally don't have the vinyl/walkman experience so it's nice hearing about the functionality, reality and sensory experience of listening to early-days audiobooks.

    3. Do I love books or do I love reading?

      Ah, the endless dichotomy. I certainly feel that more classicists need to ask themselves this - regardless of the answer, it reminds people of the distinct joy of each.

    1. "The art of storytelling is reaching its end because the epic side of truth, wisdom, is dying out." Fundamentally, I disagree with Benjamin's argument at this point; wisdom exists within the pages of a novel, and unlike the spoon-fed morals given to you in an oral tale, there is a certain level of personal discovery that must be done while reading a novel. It forces its readers to claim truths and wisdoms at their own pace.

    2. Even in the act of storytelling, isn't interpretation a solitary act? To read a novel is to envision the characters and plot through your own unique perspective; hearing a story requires more imagination in response to the teller's vision versus the listener's.

    1. Familiar though his name may be to us, the storyteller in his living immediacy is by no means a present force. He has already become something remote from us and something that is getting even more distant

      This captured me so instantly. The conflict between this concept and the modern author is so apparent, for now the storyteller is subject to dual authorship when interacting online. They shall always be separate in their originality, but the academic and the author are growing ever closer to our consciousness, if not our physicallity

    2. And among those who have written down the tales, it is the great ones whose written version differs least from the speech of the many nameless storytellers (84).

      Benjamin's point here fails for me, specifically when one thinks of the individual reimaginings that the "great" storytellers take from oral tradition. This is reminiscent of the tale of King Arthur, a tale that was almost entirely oratory. While I believe that Geoffrey of Monmouth was the first to make mention of this legendary king, Arthur's tales were later penned by an imprisoned Sir Thomas Mallory. The sheer multitude of different Arthurian legends that has semerged is nothing short of extraordinary (T.H. White and Tennyson to name a couple!) and the very epitome of this collective listening and individual reinterpretation that Benjamin describes.

    3. "Counsel woven into the fabric of real life is wisdom. The art of story telling is reaching its ends because the epic side of the truth, wisdom, is dying out. This, however, is a process that has been going on for a long time and would be more fatuous than to want to see in it merely a "symptom of decay," let alone a "modern system."

      This modern system of decay can quite possibly be considered twitter, facebook, instagram or any other social media site. Story telling exists within these systems but rather than having the wandering features or varying details of an oral tale, social media allows for us to review a tale in text or video form over and over with no variation. From this article it seems that Benjamin may not approve of our modern day storytelling. I imagine that he'd say that it is without skill/craft...-_-

    4. His nesting places - the activities that are intimately associated with boredom - are already extinct in the cities and are declining in the country as well (91).

      We currently has so many modes of input now that we barely have the capacity to absorb it all! The multitude of options that we have from cable at the touch of a finger, an endless stream of information at the press of a button, to a countless number of cat videos at a single thought, boredom does seem to be dead. We have the entirety of the internet to explore when we're bored, but perhaps it speaks to the resilience of the human mind that we continue to read, and to explore the depths of our own minds, even though external influences do often prove to be so wonderfully interesting.

    5. It is left up to him to interpret things the way he understands them, and thus the narrative achieves an amplitude that information lacks.

      Benjamin's emphasis on the space that stories leave for interpretation, for personal re-imagination, and understanding, is something that he believes to also separate stories from information. This room to play, so to speak, as a defining quality of a story is especially interesting when we consider the audio book. As a format that leaves the reader to interpret and portray the author, and the listener to further re-imagine the listener's perspective as well as the text itself, this opens up a conversation about the function of stories and the return, of sorts, to the oratory tradition.

    6. But they enjoy no less listening to the man who has stayed at home, making an honest living, and who knows the local tales and traditions (84).

      While Benjamin does emphasize that not all stories are captured and wrangled home to be told around the campfire, and that many are in fact born organically by the hearth and in the homes themselves, I find myself wondering, where are the women? Folktales that later gave birth to fairy tales were originally a predominantly female activity as women had to entertain themselves within the home, and later, entertain and caution children. The exclusion of this entire side of storytelling is more than a little disappointing - we are, in fact, not getting the full story here.

    7. Whenever good counsel was at a premium, the fairy tale had it, and where the need was greatest, its aid was nearest.

      Once upon a time (haha), fairy tales were quite violent--the ones we know today have been diluted through centuries of storytelling. There's a theory that the gore of these stories served a purpose: to provide a fantasy world to help children cope with a harsh or dangerous reality.

    8. He is ready to make it completely his own, to devour it, as it were. Indeed, he destroys, he swallows up the material as the fire devours logs in the fireplace.

      This seems like a rather violent portrait of the novelist. One that evoked (at least in my mind) this 1823 painting by Goya:

      Saturn Devouring His Son

    9. In point of fact, he has succeeded in abbreviating even storytelling.

      Benjamin would not like Twitter. Although, perhaps retweeting is a 21st century incarnation of what he writes at the end of this paragraph: "...the perfect narrative is revealed through the layers of a variety of retellings."

      Is retweeting the new retelling?

    10. "Writing," he says in one of his letters, "is to me no liberal art, but a craft."

      I can't read this without rolling my eyes. The idea of writing as craft was likely novel (get it?) for Leskov--and Benjamin too, apparently--but I'm immediatley reminded of myriad conversations with would-be, actual, or former MFA-ers who go on and on and on about "honing their craft."

    11. Experience which is passed on from mouth to mouth is the source from which all storytellers have drawn.

      Benjamin's focus is understandably European, but a great North American example of the oral tradition is Native American cultures. Stephanie Fitzgerald and Hilary E. Wyss wrote a great article on the oral tradition and other alternative texts in "Land and Literacy: The Textualities of Native Studies" (2010).

    12. What ten years later was poured out in the flood of war books was anything but experience that goes from mouth to mouth.

      Benjamin's point that the content of post-World War I literature meagerly conveyed experience, if at all, is valid; however, many of these texts that were/are seemingly devoid of such experience (or perhaps stories) have since been labeled masterpieces of literary modernism due to the emphasis on form rather than content. But to be fair to Benjamin, who wrote this piece in 1936, we have a complete picture of the literary trends of the twentieth century that he could not have.

    1. As someone who has listened to audio books quite a bit over the past few years (specifically when I am traveling, be it in on trains, planes, or automobiles) I have to absolutely agree with Rubery that the audio format does not seek to replace books, but instead, to supplement them. Instead of a type of reading that "emphasises silence, solitude, and introspection, a model of the individual reader closest to our own antisocial experience of reading books" (60), it instead allows the individual to interact with an entirely new variety of forms and creators. Not only is the reader (or perhaps listener would be more appropriate?) interacting with the author and reader(s) of the book itself, but with the audio book's very format, it also allows listeners to interact with different forms of media, thus allowing them to tweet instantaneous reactions to the novel as they receive it, allowing them to further interact with it.

    2. "To put it another way, there was a vast readership that would have heard rather than read these narratives." I totally agree with Rubery when he says that some of the readings of the time would have rather be heard than read. I feel that Jane Eyre is one of the text from the time that I would prefer to listen to than read it. Last semester, I was dragging my self through the book and now I just discovered the audio-book and I find it so much easier and practical. I wish that I would have found it sooner because it would have helped me with my papers and the understanding of the book.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QB2FHfiVv4Y

    3. The distinction between professional and amateur readers brings us

      to the second reason that digital audio technology has the potential

      to change the way we think about reading practices.

      Strong contrast between a-book and other forms of media: I would argue that it's much easier for yahoos like us to compete with professional voice actors than with professional musicians, not to say professional directors/actors/editors in cinema! Isn't there something inherently democratic about reading/listening?

    4. It should be said that a ‘talking article’ may have been the most effective way to make the case for digital audio presented here.

      Whoa there, Matt. I'd rather shoot myself than read 99% of academic articles in an a-book format, even ones written as lucidly as this one. Nor would I like to take in most experimental work in this fashion: I agree with the drift of the article that there's something about the Victorian period's comfort with oralization that makes it a good fit for the a-book.

    5. Only by vocalising these expressions through the practice of reading aloud are we assured of appreciating how central voice is as a source of meaning in the Victorian novel.

      Productive force of reading aloud: it doesn't merely produce a new version, it feeds back into one's reading of the printed text.

    6. In 2004, for instance, the BBC became the first British broadcaster to make its radio programmes available to the public for free download via digital formats. The radio has been of profound importance overthe last century in sustaining a listening culture, though it is only with the advent of digital playback that this content can now reach audiences beyond its fixed time slots.

      Very subtle comparison of different technologies, reading/listening practices, and historical moments here. With almost 10 years of retrospect on this argument, we can see how prescient Rubery is, especially thinking about the success of podcasts like SERIAL, which are almost novel-like in their extensiveness, long narrative arcs, and serial installments.

    7. To take an extreme case,

      Tolstoy’s War and Peace requires 45 cassettes when spoken by Walter

      Zimmerman (1982) or 50 compact discs when told by Neville Jason

      (2006). These cumbersome formats showed little improvement over

      Edison’s wax cylinders in terms of convenience – it may be easier to

      bring back the live orator in such cases than to swap discs that many


      This reminds me of listening to the unabridged version of Tolkein's The Hobbit in the back of the family station wagon in the early 80s! It was an awful lot of cassettes...

    8. members.16 If there is a

      sense in which no one ever reads a Dickens plot for the first time, it

      is because that story has been heard to some extent before it has been

      read. A Christmas Carol is only the most obvious example of such a twice- heard tale.

      Wow: this comment takes us all the way back to the traditional storytelling mode that Benjamin contrasts with the printed novel (as we'll see next week). For Benjamin, traditional storytelling has little use for the idea of originality or authorship and hence locates both teller and hearer as reversible positions: one listens closely, because one might be a teller next. With Victorian lit, Dickens is still Dickens when he's oralized; nonetheless, the text has something of a "twice told" and unoriginal aspect in this format.

    9. To put it another way, there was a vast readership that would

      have heard rather than read these narratives. Although this may be the

      era during which Great Britain became a ‘reading nation’, we should

      not forget the extent to which it remains a ‘listening nation’ to this very


      Link to the piece by Berube et al. on "community reading": in both cases, the authors want to push us readers to question our assumptions about the "right" or "normal" or "proper" way to read, uh, I mean experience literature.

    10. My intent will

      be to trace a number of continuities between today’s reading practices

      and the presumably outdated forms of reading aloud favoured by

      the Victorians. As the title of this piece indicates, one unexpected

      consequence of the new digital audio has been to bring back old

      ways of reading, specifically the practice of reading aloud associated

      in the popular imagination with the Victorian family.

      Rubery emphasizes usefully the rhythm of continuity and difference along two axes: a) the relationship between past auralizations of Dickens and present ones and b) the relationship between Dickens's work as printed object and as oral performance.

    11. Ahem.

      I love the cheekiness of this opening for the way it calls attention to throatclearing, an element of spoken discourse that infiltrates into this written document.

    12. However, with a physical, action-driven scene such as this, it is difficult to argue that nothing is lost; on the one hand, you hear Nancy's murder and are forced to visualise it differently to how you may under the influence of physical representation, however someone who is not entirely focussed, imaginative or even experienced with the text may struggle in a way they would not with visual prompts, be they textual or physical

    13. Having both seen and read this scene in a variety of platforms, I concur, however importance is also to be placed on the reader themselves, the format in which they read the piece as well as the actors, set and production of the visual-audio performance.

    14. If there is a sense in which no one ever reads a Dickens plot for the first time, it is because that story has been heard to some extent before it has been read. A Christmas Carol is only the most obvious example of such a twice-heard tale.

      Housing Works hosts an annual "marathon" reading of A Christmas Carol called "What the Dickens?" Here's the lineup/info from this past December.

    15. The recitation of a scene that takes a mere ten minutes to read silently to one’s self can take upwards of forty minutes when read aloud before an audience.

      Audiobooks take away readerly agency, transforming readers into listeners. It seems that through audiobooks, literary audiences become more like theatrical audiences, and therefore engage less directly with the written text, or "text itself."

    1. Deathisthesanctionofeverythingthatthestorytellercantell.Hehasborrowedhisauthorityfromdeath.Inotherwords,itisnaturalhistorytowhichhisstoriesreferback

      Death becomes one of the main drivers for storytelling. It's something the novel can't mimic in reality, leaving storytelling to be a very real form. Now things are even more confusing because audiobooks become a medium that not only cover storytelling, but novels as well. Does it posses a greater authority as a keeper of both forms without either form losing its own integrity?

    2. Thismakesstrikinglyclearthatitisnolongerintelligencecomingfromafar,buttheinformationwhichsuppliesahandleforwhatisnearestthatgetsthereadiesthearing.Theintelligencethatcamefromafar—whetherthespatialkindfromforeigncountriesorthetemporalkindoftradition—possessedanauthoritywhichgaveitvalidity,evenwhenitwasnotsubjecttoverification

      Benjamin on one of his anti-capitalist rants where capitalism perpetuates the discourse of information vs. intelligence where information circulates at a greater rate due to the concentrations having more capital importance than where true intelligence comes from.

    3. Theearliestsymptomofaprocesswhoseendisthedeclineofstorytellingistheriseofthenovelatthebeginningofmoderntimes

      But today, it's a significant event because it signified the rebirth of storytelling. Obviously Benjamin couldn't have predicted the rise of the audiobook.

    4. Storyteller breaks down into two categories: the wanderer, or spreader of information, and the local in the community who not only contains the local lore, but also compounds the stories that come from other places as well.

    1. The most innovative aspect of Benjamin’s argument is its framing of the novel, not as a distinctive narrative mode in an evolutionary sequence of literary forms, but as a function of changing relationships between storytellers and their auditors with the advent of printed books.

      Benjamin published "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction" the same year as "The Storyteller" (1936). I wonder how Benjamin's idea of mechanical reproduction, which I recall as primarily visual, pertains to literary forms. Also, I think this intersection dovetails with Rubery's discussion of Victorian culture and aural literature.

    1. Close listening in this manner is only possiblewith recorded performances of the sort taken for granted by closereaders of the printed text. It is in this sense that literature is notjust heard but heard in new ways through the use of today’s soundreproduction technology.

      Distinction between close listening and listening in any other form. Not reproducible by any means but closed audio from a reader of a printed text.

    2. These cumbersome formats showed little improvement overEdison’s wax cylinders in terms of convenience – it may be easier tobring back the live orator in such cases than to swap discs that manytimes. The inconvenience of these productions should make it clearwhy audiobooks have remained a niche interest until the arrival ofdigital audio made it possible to download virtual recordings. The easeof doing so need not concern us here. What matters instead is therise in the number of people listening to audiobooks now that digitaltechnology has made them more readily available.

      Wouldn't the accessibility of audio recording technologies and sharing also be indicative of the augmented usage of audiobooks?

    3. The growing popularity of audiobooks over the last decade meansthat literary critics may no longer be able to turn a blind eye –or a deaf ear, in this case

      This is important to note because I believe audio criticism hasn't really moved beyond those who wish for it to take off, or those who wish it receives more recognition.

    1. Just as a general response to this article--coming from a place of total ignorance of what the "Digital Humanities" were before reading this--it seems to me that English departments are almost playing a necessary game of catch-up by jumping on board. In my experience, many literary people have historically been the most reluctant to bring their craft to the web or to credit web-based writing. Writers often put-down blogging and intellectuals in general often show disdain towards social networking and other such things. Meanwhile, these technologies are believed to be the major entity that is pulling young people away from what has traditionally been viewed as literature. Now, English departments maybe realize that there is no combating the lure that these computerized networks have on the younger generations, so, they acknowledge that the stage of the internet is one that they must establish themselves on.

    1. I've heard this argument so many times and have often questioned how untrue it is? It is true that with the introduction of technology we (students and teachers) become more involved with the text and one another, but at the same time it assist in our laziness toward texts. Texts may lose beauty and innovation for the sake of involvement.

    2. Re: audiobooks...

      I took a course with a reading list of recently published "high-brow" literary works. When we read Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs (2009), a blind classmate commented that the audiobook narrator sounded like a ditzy, college-aged Carrie Bradshaw, which affected his perspective of Moore's narrator, who most students characterized as a somewhat intense and reserved young woman. To me, this distinction reinforces McLuhan's idea that the medium is the message--the words were the same, but the audiobook offered a different interpretation from the one Moore seemingly hinted at in the text itself.

    3. Rather, screen-based media constitute a matrix from which new forms spring—blogs, tweets,and feeds, for example—and older ones are “remediated,” a process in which old content is transformed in and through a new medium (Bolter and Grusin 5).

      Does this mean that the tablet/smartphone/computer/etc. is the container while the various forms that appear on that container are the media?

    1. collaborative-work-space sites like Google Docs.

      This, for me, is one of the most critical developments in online production. In time, if not already, this function negates the necessity for lengthly chains of e-mails exchanging drafts and edits, and could drastically speed and expand the production of literature.

    2. Web 2.0 diagram is literal embodiment of super-saturation of information in today's media. While giving everyone a voice surely democratizes the Web, for me it often probes suspicion of what I am reading, since chances are it has been reshaped/rewritten/heavily-biased.

    3. Nevertheless, I recognize that much of what provoked me to turn to literature in the first place—vital, daring, and meditative expressions of human experience—is there. It is there in the naked lyric of a blog post celebrating or mourning some personal or public event.

      literature attempts to describe human experience. However, it appears as though everything becomes either based on life(celebratory or suffering) or death(tragic or honorable)

    4. than Web 1.5 (as I call it for lack of a better designation) quietly supervened. After the Internet data backbone went commercial in 1995,

      as juvenile as this may be, I do question the transition of 1 > 1.5 > 2? what about the progression suggests increments of half-change? Yes, 2 is entirely different to 1, but what dictates that 1.5 is merely a mid-point between the two? In it's own right, Web 1.5 was revolutionary, as it coincided with the early stages of frequent domestic use (at least, in my household and knowledge!)

    5. socially computed reading may even experimentally deform literature to discover new truths about the significance of literature.

      interesting idea

    6. Computationally assisted text analysis, we realize, is a way to experiment with literature to bring out, among other features, its latent social network and that of the characters in its imaginative worlds. In the last analysis, after all, a concordance represents how even disjunct speakers share a sense of a word and so conjoin in a discursive structure that images a larger social structure.

      This is an interesting concept-- implementing these types of tools offers a breath of fresh air into stale, canonical texts. Over time the criticism and the text become so seamlessly intertwined that it's hard to postulate where the author ends and the discourse begins. That being said, using scientific tools to analyze and find patterns into classical texts can bring a new understanding of unknown trends and patterns in literary history.

    7. It is there in the classical drama of a brawling, controversial Wikipedia article whose behind-the-scenes “talk” page stages the chorus of the “rule of many” or “wisdom of crowds.”

      Facts are not simply admitted into the Archive, and it is fortunate that Wikipedia affords the curious reader a chance to see this debate in action.

    8. Above all, the result is social computing, the hallmark of Web 2.0.3 Recall that when modern computers were invented in the World War II era, they were first thought of primarily as ballistics or scientific-calculation machines. Then, with the advent of corporate mainframes, calculation took a backseat to business functions originally peripheral to computing: storage, filing, sorting, and printing. With the personal computer and the Internet, computers next turned into universal communication devices and media players.4 Now, with Web 2.0 (abetted even more recently by ubiquitous mobile computing and communications), the computer enfolds all its previous functions in the increasingly dominant paradigm of social computing, which the interdisciplinary research group on the topic that I participated in on my campus defines most generally as “the use of technology in networked communication systems by communities of people for one or more goals,” even if that goal is as seemingly unfocused as building the community itself and one’s identity in it.5 Oft-cited examples include blogs and their derivatives (including all manner of sites powered by the WordPress blog engine and Drupal community-message-board engine that have evolved into general-purpose content management systems); microblogging platforms like Twitter and Tumblr; social-networking platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn; wikis like Wikipedia or such make-your-own wiki platforms as PBWorks (previously PBWiki); social-bookmarking or content-discovery sites like Delicious (previously del.icio.us) and StumbleUpon; shared or social news sites like Digg (in its heyday) and Reddit; and—at least in some of their shared or specialized community features—image- and video-sharing sites like Flickr or YouTube as well as collaborative-work-space sites like Google Docs. At the level of infrastructure, most such social-computing systems are based on the same back-end Web 2.0 data architecture I describe above, but with increasingly complex subarchitectures. Indeed, many are based on the identical LAMP open-source software platform (the acronym for the combination of the Linux operating system, Apache Web-server program, MySQL database program, and PHP scripting code). Just as important as the shared infrastructure are shared superstructural conventions, practices, and forms. Some of these may be likened to classical rhetorical devices—for example, common Web 2.0 topoi such as the profile page, post, comment, tag, and so on. At a higher level of convention, the various social-computing instances I have cited (blogs, wikis, social-networking sites, etc.) are akin to genres. And if we were to go platonic, the equivalent of transcendental, and not just Web, forms in the social-computing universe is the social graph. Often invoked with the definite article as if there were just the one social graph, this concept bridges the literal notion of a social-network diagram visualizing all one’s online social connections and a quasi-metaphysical theory of universal sociality.6

      Liu's fascination of Web 2.0 fails to mention the idea of data security, as well as the option to be anonymous as well. Should we be thinking about the who's-who in the comments or rather just let them fill the net and stick to the general structure of building upon buildings.

    9. In what Walter Ong calls “primary oral culture,” after all, the literary act is perhaps best conceived not as transmission at all instead but as community—the original village behind Marshall McLuhan’s mediated global village.

      "The medium is the message." What is the message of the medium of Web 2.0?

    10. Similarly, blog and social-network platforms can be used to engage with literary works. For instance, one team of students in the 2008 version of my Literature+ course used the LiveJournal blogging platform to create profile pages for the characters in the General Prologue to The Canterbury Tales. They themed each profile page with images and language they thought appropriate to the character and then wrote comments “in character” on other characters’ pages or on a shared community page (e.g., the Miller commenting rudely on the Knight’s or Wife of Bath’s pages, much as Chaucer’s original Miller was wont to do).

      This reminds me of Mallory Ortberg's Texts from Jane Eyre (2014) and various Twitter accounts of long-deceased authors.

    11. Reader-response and reception theory, for instance, elevated reading activity in the circuit.

      Hans Robert Jauss, Wolfgang Iser

    12. I refer in particular to literary theory from the 1960s onward—precisely Landow’s reason for analogizing hypertext to Barthes and other poststructuralists.

      How do the ideas Barthes presents in his 1967 essay "The Death of an Author" coincide with social reading in the context of Web 2.0? It seems that the previously deceased author has been resurrected, or perhaps undergone a simultaneous reincarnation and multiplication through the dynamic web page. However, given the anonymity that the Internet facilitates, the author(s) can stay dead, rendering the reader's evaluation of the "text 'itself'" much more feasible. In the context of the digital age, perhaps the author is indeed dead but inhabits a ghost-like space.

    13. Social computing encourages literary scholars to remember and repurpose the long history of social writing, publishing, reading, and interpreting. I emphasize the perspective of reading. But, really, all the functions and roles of literary activity are in play.

      There is an interesting emphasis here on the social aspect of reading, especially since reading is often thought of now as a solitary activity. While reading returns to its social roots (oral traditions, etc), it is also transforming itself by colliding into and integrating with the age of social media.

    1. New kinds of texts (for the sake of convenience I will henceforth refer to them as digital texts) are largely uncategorized, unnamed, and formless.

      Any reading done on any type of digital format does tend to be less "serious" for whatever reason. Is it because of the sheer mass of content, and that quality is instantaneously believed to be lost to quantity? In "Novel Hacks," Allred adresses this as well when he speaks of the "superficiality of web culture" (119).

    1. In relation to the idea of digital humanities, social justice has now been taken from the public sphere of open protesting to the "public" interface of the web; anyone has access to these accusations, and news can spread at the speed of light. But how does this change the effectiveness of said accusations? Where does the reliability of what one says online start to lose its authenticity and effect? In regards to our class, where does the novel lose its power when its taken out of the pages of its parent-text?

  4. www.mlajournals.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu www.mlajournals.org.proxy.wexler.hunter.cuny.edu
    1. In answer to Where is this going? we might not arrive at a coherent interpretation of the book or at a satisfying work of creative imagination, but we might come to trust our capacity to express a viewpoint or opinion, to support or contest a divergent opinion, to en-gage in disagreement without rancor or sus-picion, to work with others toward a common goal, even if that goal appears, for the time being, beyond our capacities. If this is all that comes from community reading and writing, it might be more than enough

      I want to hear more about the tech side of things here. Is the face to face interaction of the Whitehead event and the writing/reading at the nursing home the "special sauce" here? What about the virtual communities that grow up around literature in spaces like Twitter, Facebook, and (well) hypothes.is?

    2. The pleasures of literature arise largely from its capacity to introduce us to things unforeseen: experiences alien to our own and surprising plot twists. Encouraging trust in acts of imag-ination untethered from predictability and precedent, reading literature fosters the imag-ining of unprecedented social arrangements as well, opening limiting social imperatives to the horizon of inventive possibility.

      I'm curious about what the authors think about genre: are all genres and modes good at this, or is this fundamentally an argument about the novel?

    3. What's the boundary between the "literary" mode of civility and the boisterous modes of exchange that happen elsewhere on the web (say, among Trump and his legions of Twitter followers)? The norms of the rational public sphere here seem like something that is often honored in the breech.

    4. Yet reading was not always so solitary...

      Reminiscent of Liu's discussion of the interrelation of the margins of the text and the margins of society.

    5. Reading for pleasure, Griswold notes, has been “very rare and very recent,” since it is typically associated with “education and with urban social elites.”

      I'm reminded of Ian Watt's moving account of how difficult it was to read the novel for non-elite readers in the 18thC, the cost in terms of desperately needed sleep, candles, lamp oil, books themselves, and the opportunity cost of other, free forms of entertainment.

    6. They became, in other words, a community of readers (and, to the degree that interpretation is also an act of creative reshaping, a community of writers). To gauge by the complexity of their questions and their response to Whitehead, they were a community that found The Intuitionist de-lightful and instructive.

      Note the implicit challenge to the inherited model of solitary reading of novels, as in Benjamin's "The Storyteller": the communal setting for the event, and the communal reading leading up to it, renders the novel as a space that convenes everyone as a writer, just as for Benjamin traditional storytelling convenes everyone as a potential teller of the tale.

  5. Jan 2016
    1. Whatever else it might be, then, the digital humanities today is about a scholarship (and a pedagogy) that is publicly visible in ways to which we are generally unaccustomed, a scholarship and pedagogy that are bound up with infrastructure in ways that are deeper and more explicit than we are generally accustomed to, a scholarship and pedagogy that are collaborative and depend on networks of people and that live an active, 24-7 life online. Isn’t that something you want in your English department?

      Gorgeous ending: props to MK for including pedagogy (a missed opportunity in the essay is to discuss how DH elevates the stature of pedagogy, making teaching/scholarship more closely aligned endeavors) and for emphasizing the public-facing aspect of DH, a particularly important facet in a political moment of defunding of education and culture.

    2. Twitter, along with blogs and other online outlets, has inscribed the digital humanities as a network topology, that is to say lines drawn by aggregates of affinities, formally and functionally manifest in who follows whom, who friends whom, who tweets whom, and who links to what. Digital humanities has also, I would propose, lately been galvanized by a group of younger (or not so young) graduate students, faculty members (both tenure line and contingent), and other academic professionals who now wield the label “digital humanities” instrumentally amid an increasingly monstrous institutional terrain defined by declining public support for higher education, rising tuitions, shrinking endowments, the proliferation of distance education and the for-profit university, and underlying it all the conversion of full-time, tenure-track academic labor to a part-time adjunct workforce.

      Astute reading of how the form of Twitter maps onto the densely networked structure of the DH field/movement itself. Might also consider the flipside of the second point, however: the networked culture of DH speaks to the collapse of the academic job market in the humanities, but its also gains some of its high profile from the support from upper-level admins who are chasing the "next big thing."

    1. here was little hope of recording an entire novel

      As with history of cinema, the tech and the narrative possibilities are intricately related throughout.

    1. Now that Nancy’s murder has caught your ear

      Another bit of "phatic" play.



    1. Methodology: challenging issue of how to recover the aural aspects of literature for the present. How many authors saved "prompt copies" from the era before recordings?

    1. Clever opening that calls attention to what theorist Roman Jakobson calls the "phatic" function of language: basically the "channel" that the message is using to convey itself. The glottal "ahem" foregrounds the aural dimension of language and plays with the slippage between writing and speech that is a central concern of the essay.